If you are the founder or CEO of your business, you’re probably a visionary: someone with a clear vision of the future, someone who is imaginative and has unusual foresight. Without this trait, your organization may never have been born.
Vision alone won’t build a great company
As a visionary, you may run into problems before too long. We have found that the most thriving, sustainable businesses require another vital role — the integrator. The integrator is someone who harmoniously orchestrates all major functions of the business, keeps all moving parts running, and creates the focus, accountability and alignment necessary to keep the organization on track.
While the visionary excels at seeing the big picture, developing the big relationships and solving the big strategic challenges, he or she may lack the interest and discipline needed for consistent execution.
Seek healthy friction between the two roles
The best visionary/integrator relationships occasionally contain a healthy dose of tension and/or friction. Each respects the other, but will push forward as well as push back when necessary. In the book Rocket Fuel, Gino Wickman and Marc Winters refer to this phenomenon as when “Yin meets Yang.” They further state, “one without the other is doomed, as humanity with only men or only women could not survive. They transform each other via complement.”
Can one person be both a visionary and integrator?
While it’s certainly possible that one individual can embody both roles, the likelihood of this happening is rare. Though this dual role exists in the early stages of entrepreneurial organizations, it is not sustainable — chances are that progress will falter at some point along the journey, which could be extremely damaging in the long run.
If you are a visionary, don’t underestimate the value of a strong number two player in your organization. He or she will keep you and your organization on track and allow you to do things you were born to do, like driving the big ideas, building the big relationships and conquering the market challenges that get in your way!
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