These two roles are often the difference between an OK company and a great one. In the book “Traction, Get a Grip on Your Business”, Gino Wickman talks about the importance of these two roles. I find that businesses that lack either of these roles lose a great opportunity.
If you only have an innovator running the business there often is no focus or systems. A visionary is often the type of person we think of as a classic entrepreneur. These are people who see the future and have a great understanding of where the world and their company are going.
The problem with many great innovators is they have little ability and often even less respect for systems that make a company tactically excellent. Their companies will often flounder and have both frustrated employees and customers.
The customers will wonder why a company with this many great ideas can’t deliver on any of them. The employees will wonder why the owner can’t stay with one idea long enough for them to learn how to deliver the product and service the customers expect. The owner who continues to innovate never realizes that for his company to have any value it must have someone who can help stabilize it.
This is where an integrator comes into play. If the business is a partnership it is likely that one partner is an innovator and the other an integrator. These tend to be the partnerships that work the best. In the case of a business with one owner and that person is an innovator they will need to find an integrator they can trust.
The integrator is likely the number two in a company. They also are known as the inside man. These are the people who make sure products get made and shipped on time. They believe quality is important and work hard to stabilize the company.
Great integrators make a company tactically excellent where customers can depend the product is as good as the promises. Apple had Steve Jobs as a world class innovator. Today they have Jonnie Ivey filling that role. Just as important Apple has Tim Cook as the integrator. He’s the one that makes sure products gets made, shipped, and supported properly.
One without the other would just be an ordinary company. Apple is extraordinary when it understands both are key to their success.
What about your company? Do you have both an integrator and innovator at the top? If not, you should think about having both roles filled with stars at their positions. It could make your company become one of the truly great ones.
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