As a busy entrepreneur, how often do you find yourself “up to your eyeballs in alligators” managing your day to day tasks? If you’re like many high achievers, the answer is probably “more than I’d like”. The reality facing entrepreneurs today is that with additional technology and skill requirements, comes additional resources, a greater investment in time, and projects that encompass much larger scopes than ever before. But did you know, that there’s a position that exists in the business world to juggle all of that? Did you know there’s an individual that you could hire, that will ensure that all the moving parts of your business operate together toward your vision? There is. And, that job title is an integrator.
What is an integrator?
In the simplest terms, an integrator takes your vision and makes it happen. Think of an integrator as a project manager on steroids. Not only do they understand business processes, but they can effectively and efficiently orchestrate all the moving parts. They shoulder the burden so that you can focus on being the driving genius behind your business. They are not “yes men”. A true integrator will ask questions and will be quick to point out opportunities of improvement within your processes, staffing, and procedures.
How can you spot an integrator?
If you’re lucky, you may already have an integrator-in-waiting on staff who is currently fulfilling another roll. You’re looking for an extrovert who also happens to have a nice balance of qualitative and quantitative understanding of how your entire operation runs. You’ll want to fill this role with someone who is a visionary with the ability to execute: like an ENTJ, INTJ. It is critical that your integrator has demonstrated the ability to be an effective leader in his/her current or past role. A Renaissance man or woman? Possibly. If you already have someone on your team, ask the opinions of the people who have worked with them about their experiences. Find out if that person likes to collaborate or prefers to work alone; whether they’re open to new ideas or ready to shut ideas down before they’re fully developed; and whether they’ve established a good rapport with others.
Do they speak the lingo?
You know your business from the ground up, but if you were to ask prospective integrators the question, “What business are we in?” would the answers you receive be unimaginative, narrow, pedantic or just plain flat? Even an employee doing an excellent job for you isn’t necessarily integrator material, so if the response you get to “What business are we in?” proves insufficient, leave them where they already do their best work and move on.
On the other hand, if the individual you are looking at for this job thrives on building consensus, has evident empathy and can’t abide ambiguity, you’ve got yourself a viable candidate. Integrators not only speak the lingo but walk the walk. They’ve got big-picture perspectives influenced by traditional values and dutiful demeanors. Do they change their minds? They do. But only after being presented with solid evidentiary proof, at which point they graciously (and without hesitation) have no problem admitting that they were wrong.
How to have the best working relationship with an integrator?
You won’t have a hard time working with your integrator if you pick someone who’s authentic and if you, yourself are also authentic. Integrators appreciate truth and are emotionally intelligent enough to match their relationship-building traits with yours. It’s not your job to conform to your integrator’s personality; it’s their job to conform to yours. Working with an integrator should be fun and should feel like a partnership. Whether you tend to be blunt and obsessed with winning or you don’t like being the star of the show, be your true self and allow your integrator to adjust to your style. A true integrator is genuinely interested in seeing your business thrive and be successful. Integrators find great joy and personal fulfillment in bringing order to chaos and will do so with respect for your position and authority.
Perhaps most importantly, it is incumbent upon you to be forthright—or at least as forthright as you can be without giving away business secrets—because you’ve hired someone who values that in an employer. Intuitive hires are going to take their cues from the people who have been around you the longest (if they’re as clever as you think they are). On the other hand, if your pick proves incompatible, cut short the relationship as soon as you realize it’s going nowhere. You’ll do both yourself and the integrator you hired a huge favor.
With the constant changes in technology, marketing, and skills, it’s virtually impossible to stay on-top of your game and continue to be the genius juggling all strategic aspects of your business. Now you know, you don’t have to. Hire a fantastic integrator to lead your team and processes through revolutionary change and have fun doing what YOU love, as your vision comes to fruition.
Are you looking for an integrator? Let’s chat! Schedule a consultation with me to discuss how we can help get you out of those alligators.
Have a great week!
PS: When you’re ready here are 5 things you can do to grow as an entrepreneur:
- Sign up for my Goal Setting Bootcamp and learn how to set bigger, better and more achievable goals for your business?
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- Sign up for a strategy session with me and learn how I can help support you in your business.