Do you consider yourself a visionary entrepreneurial type with a perpetual stream of ideas flying out of your brain or an integrator personality that loves to put the best few ideas into action building something special brick by brick by brick? It’s amazing how many founding business owners I’ve worked with over the past several decades who enjoyed incredible success for years but feel somehow, they’ve stalled out short of their ideal business vision. This stalling effect is often the result of one key missing ingredient.
Our assessments prove most business leaders see the world around them more clearly than they see themselves. They have the capacity to see, they just choose to look at what’s in their natural line of sight around them. Consequently, they’re great at seeing what and who needs to be fixed. Often, they’ll say it’s people not doing enough, fast enough. They’ll complain about too many or not enough processes and systems. They may shuffle a few positions around or throw money at the problem by hiring more people, but they just can’t dig themselves out from the tyranny of the urgent. Throwing people at the problem often exacerbates it, adding more complexities, undermining morale, stirring conflict, and eventually triggering turnover. The missing ingredient is not just people, it’s a key person, but who?
The Symptom vs The Problem
For some of these leaders, the spark of ambition and sense of possibility has given way to the comfort and sense of safety from what’s familiar and habitual. Things seem more predictable, yet we know the most meaningful things achieved in life came through some discomfort. Think about your most exhilarating experiences in life where you felt most alive and proud. Was there some discomfort?
Perhaps for a founding business owner or majority interest owner of a private company, their discomfort with next-level success is operating in their genius, letting go and empowering others to complement their strengths. Leaders inspire leaders and talent, it’s in their DNA. They influence others to do what they do best for the company. As the business grows, they must continue to hire with higher degrees of role specialization. The goal is to find people who can do the work better than they can.
This is how many leaders self-sabotage, by holding other leaders back from being their best, insisting on making decisions and doing the work themselves. They’ll often pull the ‘ownership card’ to feel more in control. So, they can isolate themselves rather than do what the most successful company leaders do, find their leadership counterparts. This is the secret ingredient for many of the best-run businesses.
The goal is not to be smarter or better at everything than those around you. On the contrary, next leveling a business means looking in the mirror to determine your areas of genius and work a game plan to divest the rest over time. At some point in the business life cycle, it’s imperative to ask the question, of the two most important roles in the business, which one am I and who compliments me?
Synergy in a Powerful V-I Partnership
If you’re familiar with EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System™), you’re familiar with the concept of creating a partnership between Visionary and Integrator leadership personality types at the top level of a business. This “V-I” partnership requires two very different personalities to synergize in their leadership roles. The Visionary spins up lots of good ideas to keep the vision alive and the people energized. The Integrator must have a keen eye for the diamonds in the rough, those best few ideas that can be implemented as another step on the stairway to heaven.
The best-run companies typically have this common ingredient, synergy between great “V” and “I” leadership personalities running the company. Synergy comes from realizing not every company needs the same mix of personalities. In the book, “Rocket Fuel” by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters, there are two assessments to score yourself for each leadership type. Some companies in emerging fast-paced industries need visionaries at the higher end of the scale, rapid firing ideas all the time. Companies in these industries thrive on innovation and speed to market.
At the same time, the company in a rapidly changing industry also needs a complimenting integrator that’s quick to discern the best ideas to make go/no go decisions. They’re willing to take a little more risk, trust their gut instinct and make an educated guess when necessary to move faster. They can keep pace with an innovative visionary with the capacity to see how things connect from A to Z before most would.
In a more mature company and stable industry, it’s often the tortoise that wins the race with a steady, consistent delivery of value over time. Some visionaries on the high end of the scale would go nuts running this type of business, they get too bored and become disruptive. I see these leaders all the time, especially in the financial industry. Their area of genius is designing a stronger value proposition, marketing themselves to the community, managing wholesaler relationships, working strategic partnerships (or M&As), and inspiring others in the company. It’s also healthy for them to consider outside interests as well to keep them energized and prevent boredom.
In these more mature stable industries, neither the Visionary nor the Implementor leadership types need to move as quickly. They can collect data, analyze it, and have some well-thought-out decisions. They also have more time to work on bigger, longer-range strategies and projects together through their individual roles. While the integrator is likely to focus on increasing efficiencies, diving into the details and managing people’s capacity well, the visionary is touching clients, building the brand, and finding interesting opportunities for growth.
The Match Made in Heaven
When the visionary and integrator personality types are working synergistically together, few can stop them. They become a force. There’s a healthy tension between the visionary’s need for progress and the integrator’s ingenuity in managing resources effectively. If the visionary pushes too hard, forcing the integrator to implement more than is possible with the resources, they’ll build a house of cards. It will unravel in time with too many incompletes and too much perpetual change. This is where the integrator loses trust in the visionary and the relationship fails. The integrator gets sick of being set up for failure putting out constant fires from shotgun decision making only to feel like a perpetual failure.
On the other hand, if the integrator takes too long to discern the right moves, makes poor decisions, and/or doesn’t mobilize resources, the visionary loses confidence and trust in their ability to move the business forward. The rate of decision-making is one important part of a healthy relationship between these two different personalities but also the level of risk each is willing to take.
Often, the integrator will feel more of the failure burden of having to turn an idea into reality and overseeing the people part of the strategy. Because of this level of burden and accountability, it only makes sense for the more visionary partner to yield to the integrator for strategic initiatives and policy. There should always be a healthy tension between the speed of decision-making and implementation. It’s a healthy tension if managed well and the integrator has the day-to-day go/no go decision making. There will also be tension around the quality of the decisions and ultimately, the ability to execute them. Simply put, whatever type of leader you are, the secret ingredient for next-level success is finding your “V-I” compliment to leverage one another’s genius synergistically. Do you need to find your compliment, improve the compliment leader you have or find a better compliment?
Developing Visionary Integrator Synergy
If you’re running a business in a top leadership role, find out if you’re more of a visionary or integrator personality. Based on that, it’s time to ask yourself what personality type you need to compliment your strengths and weaknesses. If you already have someone to compliment your strengths and offset your weaknesses, awesome! Take the assessments in “Rocket Fuel” and our complimentary Confident Leader Insight Assessment, which I’ll share below. Go through these assessments with your compliment leader, share the findings and discuss ways to create more synergy. I’m also happy to have a complimentary conversation with you about this as well.
Create a list of decisions that must be made between the top visionary and integrator leader roles. A matrix can be helpful in distinguishing who makes what final decisions and at what level the other is involved in the decision and implementation process. A good legend for this is F=Final, I=Influence, E=Execution, and S=Support.
Remember also, visionary and integrator personalities exist and are developing at all levels of the organization. Help them realize their strengths and leverage the diversity of other personalities. Some just might aspire to advance their careers and entrepreneurial ambitions by becoming a successive leader running your company one day. Everyone needs a succession plan at some point.
To help business owners and leaders become more aware of their unique strengths and genius zone for the business, we’ve developed a powerful and complimentary “Confident Leader Insight Assessment.” You’ll discover what to do more of and less of as a leader to create the most value from your time and effort. Click HERE to take this brief but powerful assessment.
TIP: Share with your employees and manually plot yourselves on the graph as a team to see how diverse you are in thought, behavior and communication. We can also discuss a custom report for your team to accelerate the RPRS (Right People Right Seats) process.
Even though we know you’re name and email, the system asks for it anyway, but that information will not be shared. The report is immediate and if you’d like a little more interpretation, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the button below to schedule a complimentary laser session to go over your results and receive a sample new hire assessment report.