What Makes a Great EOS® Integrator?
The Visionary and Integrator™ pair is at the heart of the EOS Model®. Running a business on EOS starts with the smooth functioning of this duo. Despite its potential, the Visionary-Integrator concept often isn’t found in businesses that aren’t using EOS.
That’s often because Visionaries aren’t aware of how powerful having the right Integrator can be. But what qualities does a professional need to be a great Integrator? Here are some of my observations from working with Visionary-Integrator teams as their EOS Implementer®.
- An Integrator needs humility.
As Gino Wickman explains so well in Traction, an Integrator’s work can be lonely and unappreciated. Someone who needs constant praise and recognition probably won’t thrive in the role. Nor will someone who needs to be the face of an organization.
Early in their implementation process, one of my clients faced this problem head-on. Their Visionary founder was eager to have her star lieutenant serve as her Integrator. At first, this arrangement made sense: they worked well together and shared a common vision for the company’s future.
But there was a problem: her Integrator candidate thrives in the spotlight. As we worked through the responsibilities of the Integrator role, I could see her enthusiasm for it fade. By the end of the session, she admitted that she felt she was the wrong fit for the job. That saved their team a lot of headaches.
- An Integrator should understand the entrepreneurial spirit.
An Integrator needs a good feel for what drives the Visionary forward. In my experience, there’s an important difference between understanding entrepreneurs and wanting to be one yourself.
When a potential Integrator tells me they’d like to start their own business one day, I always push them to examine whether being an Integrator is the right fit. An Integrator who is really a Visionary may struggle to implement another person’s plans. Worse, the business may end up with dueling Visionaries at the top, each with their own ideas. It’s a recipe for conflict and unachieved goals.
- An Integrator should enjoy being a leader.
People who are new to EOS sometimes mistake the Integrator role as someone who shutters themselves away in a back room to churn out corporate policies. Although the job has aspects of that, the Integrator’s responsibility for LMA™—leadership, management, and accountability—is probably its most important piece.
I have learned to drill my Integrator candidates on whether they want to be managers. The Integrator sits at the fulcrum of the organization’s Accountability Chart™. Everything from sales to operations to HR flows up to the Integrator. If one of the company’s managers isn’t executing on the Visionary’s expectations, the Integrator needs to find a solution.
Being a good leader is fully compatible with also being humble and following another person’s lead. In fact, many of the best Integrators I work with thrive in the role because they are tasked with refining great ideas rather than creating them.
- Integrators need to love process.
Most Visionaries hate being forced to follow a script. But documented processes are instrumental to making a business scalable and repeatable. That’s why process development and execution are so central to the Integrator’s role.
One of my Visionary-Integrator teams is composed of a daydreaming artist and a former attorney. While the artist comes up with big, crazy ideas, the recovering lawyer brings the conversation down to specifics. The result is a clear set of instructions for the rest of the team to follow—with the occasional burst bubble.
- Integrators should love EOS.
If the Integrator doesn’t live and breathe EOS, chances are good that the system will not be a success for the business.
Most Visionaries love what EOS can do for them and their businesses. But because Visionaries aren’t process people, they often aren’t focused on the details that make EOS work. It falls to the Integrator to frame the company’s decision making using the EOS Toolbox™.
The best Integrators set aside time to study EOS every month. That might mean reading a blog like this one, watching a video on the EOS site, or just chatting with your Implementer for a few minutes about an issue you’re facing. The more the Integrator can use EOS, the more the system will give back.
Your Implementer will help you find the right Integrator
For Visionaries, finding an Integrator is a top priority. It’s also a very difficult process. Your Integrator can help by being part of the interview process, whether you’re talking to internal candidates or looking for a new hire.
Making the right match is one of my favorite things to do as a Certified EOS Implementer®. Do you need help finding the right person? Or are you an Integrator who wants to take the role a step further? Let’s talk! Email me at Jackie.firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at (818) 649-1103.