Hello there phenomenal woman! Do you ever get bogged down with managing all the moving parts of your growing business? Tell me about it; who doesn’t know that feeling too well?
You’re a visionary. Your mind is one hell of an idea generation hub, you don’t have time to micromanage. You just want to bring your vision to life and move on to the next big idea. Your business is growing faster than you can keep up with. And you’re constantly thinking of new products, new services, new partnerships and new ways to make money.
If you’ve been in business for a few years, you likely know that being a big-picture thinker comes with some baggage. You don’t want to have to handle every single nut and bolt of your business or even deal with the challenges of managing a team. Because all you see is strategy and how the dots all connect.
How then can you be sure that all the major functional aspects of your business work together to fit into your company’s big vision?
You need an Integrator.*
Who Is an Integrator?
According to The Harvard Business Review, “the integrator’s role involves handling the nonroutine, unprogrammed problems that arise among the traditional functions as each strives to do its own job. It involves resolving interdepartmental conflicts and facilitating decisions, including not only such major decisions as large capital investment but also the thousands of smaller ones regarding product features, quality standards, output, cost targets, schedules, and so on.”
To understand what this means, imagine the following:
You’re getting ready for your new launch which comes up in the next few weeks. You’ve hired a graphic designer to create your logo and visuals, a web designer to redesign your website, a copywriter for your sales pages and launch sequence, and a social media manager to create buzz.
Your graphic designer has come up with a poor logo for the umpteenth time, and it’s clear he’s just not getting it. Besides the logo palaver, he’s behind on all the images to be used for social media and this is delaying your Social Media Manager from doing her job. That’s not all. The visuals created for the new website have been rejected by the web designer because it’s causing longer load times. On the other hand, your copywriter and your web designer are at loggerheads. Why? Well, the copywriter thinks a particular line of text should appear above the fold on your home page. The web designer thinks no and says it will water down user experience.
Now you’re at the middle of all this. Instead of paying attention to more exciting areas of your business, you find yourself going back and trying to resolve a conflict you didn’t create in the first place. How on earth can you grow your business to the next level, if you’re constantly managing the backend of things?
Enter the integrator, also known as your knight in shining armor.
What Can an Integrator Do for You?
If you don’t have an integrator, one thing is certain: you’re too close to your business and you’re not stepping into your visionary role. And that role is to focus on the “what,” while your integrator figures out the “how.”
Hiring an integrator allows you “remove” yourself from the day-to-day running of your business, which is not the best use of your time. Let’s look at what you’re getting when you hire one.
- Executes your business plan. She is your executor. Because she is familiar with your business goals and your plans for reaching them, the only thing you’ll often need to do is give her a simple idea and she can run with it. An integrator sees the big picture with you and puts strategy to work to produce results. She translates your vision into functional plans for your company.
- Acts as a soundboard: An integrator is your first collaborator. She is your right-hand woman off whom you can bounce ideas, no matter how crazy they are. She maintains a high level of mutual respect with you and never belittles your ideas, so, you can relate with her without feeling embarrassed.
- Strategically manages your projects within available resources, to maintain profitability: Making profit is often a play of what projects you chose to commit to and how much resources you devote to those projects. An integrator will be guided by the ultimate goal of profitability and make decisions accordingly.
- Unifies all the major operating functions of your business: She makes sure that every action in every business unit is contributing towards your big goal and aligns with your vision.
- Helps you build your processes: And I’m talking about systems, automations, workflows and SOPs (standard operating procedure)s. All your systems must communicate well to create an overall user experience that aligns with your brand identity. Examples would include the sequence of events that start with client onboarding in your CRM and ends with the purchase of a product.
- Manages your team and holds them accountable: Sheer inability to implement every single task is the reality of the elite entrepreneur. And chances are, you have neither the time nor all the expertise needed. That is why you have a team of collaborators. An integrator holds each team member accountable, eliminating unproductive behavior.
- Helps you build your team: Managing a team is one thing but hiring the right people from the start will prove more beneficial. An integrator will interview prospective team members on your behalf and hire only the right fit for you. Sometimes, they will use only people they have worked with in the past, who have a proven track record of competence, initiative, and quality of work they trust. This saves you time and the pain that comes with hiring the wrong person.
- Resolves conflicts: An integrator will not bog you with every little hiccup that comes up in your business. She takes the heat on your behalf, so you’re not always putting out fires. So, you can be sure that when she brings any issues to your attention, it’s because you need to hear it.
- Communicates with clarity: One of the biggest jobs of an integrator is to ensure that your message is clear, consistent, and effectively conveyed to your team. Because your mind is operating on a different plane, you might be tempted to assume that your team understands your instructions. Sometimes, however, what we think we have said isn’t what the other person is hearing. An integrator will decode and break it down, so clarity is achieved, and ambiguity avoided. Plus, this puts you in good light, because no one wants to work with someone they don’t understand.
- Acts as your professional gatekeeper: Your integrator is often the first point of contact for inquiries addressed to you. To help you focus on what’s most important, she acts as a gatekeeper, filtering out time-wasters and ensuring your time is invested profitably. You handle only the things you want to.
- Manages your JV partnerships: One of the perks that comes with being a CEO is that you know the industry like the back of your hand. You know who’s who and who’s doing what. You’re big on building profitable alliances and exploring meaningful relationships. An integrator can manage all your Joint Venture partnerships and keep you abreast of goings-on.
- Assumes responsibility for outcomes: This sounds a bit icky and you’re probably wondering, does this mean my integrator will take the blame for all failures and also take credit for all wins? Well, she is your closest teammate. So, when you win, she wins. Your success reflects her own performance.
Tips for Hiring the Right Person
Knowing now what an integrator can do for you, you’re probably thinking, “how do I hire the right person?”
Well, it is important that your integrator be someone who understands what you’re saying, and sometimes, what you’re not saying. So, both of you must be operating at fairly the same intellectual frequency. This means both of you look at things and process information in a similar way.
Top-ranking Internet marketer, Amy Porterfield confesses that the reason she is so successful is that she and her integrator have similar personality traits. If you’re not sure what your personality type is, or you want to explore how well you might be able to work with a potential hire, I suggest you take The Myer Briggs personality test and have your potential hire do the same. While this might not be the only factor to consider, it will surely offer great insight about a person and facilitate your search for the perfect integrator.
Your Success Is Non-Negotiable.
If you’d like to experience the thrill of seeing your vision come alive, getting an integrator is not optional.
Think of your business as an engine with scores of moving parts. You want to make sure that all the parts are working well without friction, and so you introduce a lubricant.
Your integrator is that lubricant. She will run your business like a well-oiled machine, so you can truly be you – you know you do best in your zone of genius, right?
So, what’s next? If you’d like to explore what it’s like working with a collaborator who completes you, let’s have a chat.
You’re probably tired of being the entrepreneur who runs everything. And let’s be honest, maybe at this point, your business is even running you.
Let’s change that now. Because you deserve more. Because your vision is too important to be treated like that. And because your success is not a gamble.