The Integrator challenge: Here's what you're not....

Mar 01, 2024

‘Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up’*

To some, there is attraction to wandering around a stage in a black t-shirt and pair of jeans, captivating audiences with brilliant explanations of customer needs and how you visioned an answer to these needs.

However, just as important is the people behind the curtains that have taken these great ideas and made them a reality. Leading and managing these people is a person who can connect with all parties in a way that gets things done. In the world of the Entrepreneurial Operating System™ (EOS) this magical and, sometimes, rare person is called an Integrator.

If you are thinking that the Integrator role might be something you do, or would like to do, let’s understand what you won’t be doing in that role.

Don’t expect people to be patting you on the back about what a great job you do. This is because an Integrator is all about execution and not looking to stand out from the crowd. Additionally, the Integrator is the one having the hard conversations in a business and is very familiar with saying ‘no’. It’s not that Integrators are the fun police, they just like to stay on target and get things done, even when the excitement of something new has passed.

Integrators, generally, aren’t bouncing off the walls with excitement and they believe consistency of effort and emotion wins in the end. In the Integrator role, you will need to embrace boring. By that I mean the Integrator is concerned about the detail of how things will happen. They want to know what needs to exist to make sure things are done and how things align with agreed plans which are clearly articulated in the V/TO™ for any business running on EOS.

If you consider the V/TO your reservation, then Integrators won’t be going off it. Integrators aren’t looking for the next new market or product line. It’s not that they don’t have the capacity to do that type of thinking it’s rather they spend their energy and intellect on delivering on the set priorities and plans for the business. Sure, these things can change but for an Integrator, there is a process to go through to make that happen. Systems and processes are an Integrators best friend, and this will frustrate those that don’t have a similar perspective. However, systems and processes are scalable, personalities are not.

While Integrators love systems and processes there is one thing any good Integrator needs to have; the ability to form a connection with the Visionary of the business. So, if you aren’t good at listening, supporting, and giving an avenue for your Visionary to vent, share new ideas, and manage their needs with good expectations and boundaries; then it is difficult for Integrators to have positive impact in any business.

Returning to our hero on the stage, I’m sure a few of you reading this thought immediately about Steve Jobs, yet the role of Steve Wozniak (the Integrator) was just as crucial for Apple to be the success it is today.  There are lots of things that an Integrator brings to the table. Just remember they are never going to make a movie about Steve Wozniak.


*Oliver Wendell Holmes