Tips for the New Integrator from a Professional EOS Implementer®
The Integrator’s role in the Entrepreneurial Operating System® can be both intuitive and confusing. Intuitive, because the idea of bridging gaps that separate the different parts of a business makes sense. Confusing, because the Integrator role often hasn’t been part of the practical reality of a business before beginning with EOS®.
The Integrator’s role is a unique challenge. In Rocket Fuel, Gino Wickman and Mark Winters describe it as an often lonely job. The Integrator has a hand in everything in the business while at the same time standing one step removed from the action. Someone with a natural tendency toward analytical distance can instantly feel at home in the role, but for most growing into the role takes time.
In my work as a Professional EOS Implementer, I’ve worked with Integrators who have had a range of emotions coming to the role. Here are a few of the ideas I’ve shared with them:
Take control of the role.
Quite often the Visionary embraces EOS because it provides the structure the Visionary needs to start letting go of the day-to-day oversight that the Integrator now must take on. A new Integrator can feel overwhelmed by the complexity of pulling together the distinct strands of a business that the Visionary might not have tied together in the past.
My advice? Take a deep breath and use the tools EOS provides to tackle the challenge in a systematic way. Every business comes to EOS with distinct issues that need to be resolved. For the new Integrator, a top issue might be defining the Integrator role itself. Use the tools of EOS, like the Issues Solving Track™, to make the role what it needs to be for your business’s unique circumstances.
Focus on the Visionary and Integrator™ relationship.
One of my clients, a small firm of about ten, offers an illustration of how important the Visionary/Integrator relationship is. In their case, the Visionary had run most aspects of the business on his own for years. Over the course of the team’s implementation sessions, they identified numerous issues that needed detailed solutions. Processes needed to be developed, systems needed to be changed, and new roles defined. The new Integrator was ready to roll up her sleeves and tackle it all.
At the client’s second Vision Building™ day it became clear that despite enthusiasm of everyone involved, the Integrator was taking on too much, too quickly. I encouraged them to step back and, using the Issues Solving Track™ and regular Same Page Meetings™ between the Visionary and Integrator, establish a new rock for the Integrator to work with the Visionary in defining the Integrator’s scope. What should she do herself? What should be delegated? What did she need from the Visionary to succeed? And what was the realistic timeframe for achieving all of their goals?
In their enthusiasm for getting started, this V/I Duo™ had forgotten the importance of focusing on the nuts and bolts of their relationship. Once they turned their attention to it, a lot of things got clear and their planning became far more precise and realistic. Now the Integrator is feeling in control and confident about where her job is headed.
Ground your work in good communication.
EOS emphasizes open and honest communication. More than anyone else at an EOS company, the Integrator relies on clear communication from the rest of the team to understand the pain points within the business. The Integrator also needs to develop excellent communication habits for translating the Visionary’s ideas into concrete action plans.
I work with a business led by a team of self-professed introverts. Their Integrator has a talent for analyzing business issues, but he doesn’t like, as he puts it, “bossing people around.” I drew on my years of experience as a manager to help him develop strategies for encouraging more open communication and steering people in the right direction with positive messaging. At the company’s last quarterly meeting, the team was far more open with each other and they discovered hidden issues that were keeping them from achieving their goals.
A new Integrator can rely on the EOS Implementer®!
If you’re a new Integrator and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, just know that it’s normal. EOS trains its Implementers to coach the entire leadership team in how to manage their roles. Trust in the process and talk often with the rest of your team. Being an Integrator will soon make sense and you’ll find your own style of handling the role.
How is your experience as an Integrator going? I’d love to hear your stories. Reach out and start a conversation.