You may have heard the terms “visionary” and “integrator” before, but do you know what they mean?
There are 2 types of leaders— visionary and integrators and according to research, only 8% of leaders were very effective at both, while 63% were neutral or worse on at least one dimension. That 8% who are good at aligning strategy and execution see staggeringly stronger financial returns, which means the vast majority are only good at one or the other (or, in some cases, neither).
I read a book called Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters which brilliantly dives deeper into this topic and today on the blog, I want to share with you some of the things I’ve learned from the book and from my experience as a business consultant over the last 10 years.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
The Difference Between The Visionary And The Integrator
A Visionary is usually someone who had an original great idea about a company. They focus on the bigger picture, client relationships and the culture of the company
An Integrator on the other hand is someone who gets the vision done, is involved in creating processes, setting priorities, removes obstacles, and keeps things moving and getting the company from point A to point B. In short, he/she gets the vision done.
How To Determine If You’re A Visionary Or An Integrator
To know whether you’re a visionary or an integrator or perhaps both (eight percent of leaders are), it is important to reflect and honestly take a closer look at your skills, talents, preferences, and what comes naturally to you.
Here’s a checklist of both to help you determine if you’re a visionary or an integrator:
- Sees the big picture
- Personable and has strong relationship-building skills
- Emotional- Makes choices based on intuition
- Thrives on surprises and a good wow“ factor
- Creative problem solver
- Full of grand ideas
- Values company culture
- Keeps a close watch on the industry and the competition
- Good at identifying goals for the business
- Thinks of the big-picture: You are great at maintaining external and client relationships, closing big deals and solving challenging issues.
- Very passionate: You love your customers, company, product/s and service/s.
- Idea machine: You regularly come up with new ideas from great to terrible.
- Sees the future: You see the future be it the needs of the clients, where the market is going and other new opportunities for the company.
- Hunter mentality: You are always on the lookout for bold and new ideas, opportunities and solutions.
- Difficulty in staying focused: You get bored quickly and bounce around from one idea or job to the next which will keep you away from the original vision.
- Too many ideas: You come up with many ideas that can become an obstacle and can block you from making that idea into a reality.
- Organisational whiplash: You have so many ideas you want to be executed quickly. This can lead to a lack of organisational consistency and frustration for the whole organization because they can’t keep up with you.
- Difficulty with details: You have difficulty in working with the details and making people accountable.
- Struggles in developing talent: You are great at improving yourself but not so much at leveraging the abilities and skills of others in your organisation so they can grow too.
- Detail oriented
- Enjoys structure
- Accountable and able to hold others accountable
- Excellent Project management skills (good at prioritising tasks and executing day-to-day tasks)
- Excels in conflict resolution
- Logical (particularly in terms of problem-solving and decision-making)
- Paving the way for the vision to happen- Excels in Removing obstacles and barriers
The Integrator works to gain traction by harmoniously integrating the leadership team in a practical and healthy manner. For a Visionary, the right Integrator will be their most valuable asset.
He or she “runs the organisation, manages day-to-day issues that arise, and integrates the three major functions.” Integrator serves as the buffer for the organization.
- Excellent in running the day-to-day operations: You thrive at meeting goals and deadlines, management, leadership and holding your team accountable.
- Executes the vision: You align everyone’s goals, values, priorities and remove obstacles and barriers and pave the way for the vision to be achieved.
- Voice of reason: You filter all of the Visionary’s ideas and execute the best ideas.
- Harmoniously integrates the 3 major functions of the organisation: You are the glue to the business’s major operating functions: sales and marketing, operations, and finance.
- Steady force: You handle and execute projects well with steadiness and consistency.
- Pessimistic: You can be critical and question every idea, opportunity, and potential solution of the visionary.
- Making tough decisions: You hold the leadership team accountable and have to make tough personnel decisions and deliver bad news.
- Too much on your plate:: You struggle to achieve everything you want to do at times.
- Underappreciated: Your work can go unnoticed and does not get much praise or attention.
- Under constant pressure: You are pressured by the Visionary to execute goals faster and have to balance new ideas and goals.
WHY YOU NEED BOTH
A successful business needs both action and a vision—both visionaries and integrators are essential in a company. No one is better than the other.
Without an integrator, you’ll end up with just a vision and a dream without someone who can execute them. Without a visionary, the organisation will struggle to know where they are going towards and will have no vision /dream to execute in the first place. Without both, a company can’t rise to its full potential. For a Visionary, the right Integrator will be their most valuable asset and vice versa. It is very rare for one person to fulfil both roles.
The Visionary And Integrator Relationship - Finding The Winning Formula
In order to succeed, it is important to have a great working relationship between the visionary and the integrator. There is a healthy tension that exists between them but because they are different, conflicts may arise. When conflict happens, never pull the owner's card just because of your stake in the business.
“When leaders are aligned, great things happen. Leverage your differences.” - Aaron Hall, CEO of Thompson Hall
Both should respect each other’s differences and each working process. Do the work and be accountable for it. They have to leverage each other's talents and skills. and strengths. When a visionary and integrator work harmoniously together—they are an unstoppable force and can accomplish great things for any organisation.
Scaling your business takes time and you’re going to need patience. It takes time to build a business and establish working relationships. But with patience, hard work and the right strategy you’ll eventually get there.
Seeking deeper support in scaling to multi-6 or 7 figures? While I’m currently booked out for business consulting, you can join the waitlist for my monthly consulting services or book a strategy session to address a specific area of concern in your business if you’re looking for immediate guidance!
In the meantime, do you see yourself as a visionary or an integrator, or maybe both(it might be rare but eight percent of leaders are)? Do you have both a visionary and an integrator in your company? I’d love to know your thoughts–share them in the comments section below!