Today, I’m steering a little out of the marketing waters and into the business coaching seas. And I think it’s something you’ll agree with.
Now, when TPM made the Inc 5000, I wrote a little bit about the reason behind that success.
If you are the lead visionary in your practice who is constantly excited over epic ideas but needs help actually getting that rocketship to land on the moon…
(aka, if you’re like me…)
Then I URGE you to take this business coaching tip to heart: Start with hiring a second-in-command who is NOT LIKE YOU.
(If you’ve already done this, props to you.)
Once you’ve established they have different strengths than yours, here’s how to make sure they’ll be a good integrator for you — and how to set yourself and your new teammate up for success.
Of course, you need to get along and enjoy each other’s company. (That’s crucial.)
But here’s my business coaching insight on why you need different strengths: Whereas you may thrive on big ideas and get frustrated when they aren’t implemented “fast enough,” a good operations manager/integrator BLENDS that visionary perspective you have with the nitty-gritty details of project management.
Essentially, they’re the bridge between you and the rest of the team.
When you’re hiring an integrator, you basically want a project manager on steroids. A typical, every-day project manager is someone with great focus. But if we’re honest, they sometimes resist change.
This is why you’re not looking for a pure project manager. An integrator needs to have some of these project-manager-esque tendencies so that they can exude sympathy and resonate with your project managers when your practice goes through changes… BUT they also need to be a little bit like the CEO (i.e. you), so that they can catch the big picture vision and then help those project managers get excited and see why it’s important.
In short: Integrators can track with the big-picture ideas for the company (and even contribute some of their own) — but are also wizards at overseeing the ins-and-outs of making those ideas come to life… without leaving people behind in the process.
The successful integrator needs:
- A toolbelt of leadership soft skills
- the ability to kindly resist you on some things (we all have bad ideas sometimes)
- the willingness to submit when you ask something of them.
In other words, your right-hand man (or woman) needs to be a good leader.
And in case you missed it, I repeat for all you visionaries out there:
You NEED to have a cooperative relationship with your second-in-command. Listen to their feedback. Open yourself (and the business) up for constructive criticism. This is what matures your glorious, unique, rainbow-unicorn ideas into groundbreaking strategic moves for the company. Do make sure you hire an integrator you respect — or else this point becomes all too painful.
Don’t let all of this intimidate you.
See this as an opportunity to strengthen your business… the wind at your back, so to speak.
If you develop that healthy relationship, your integrator will feel permission to help lead the company. The visionary often identifies the important battlefields, but the integrator susses out what they’re working with and strategizes to make the most of that field. They are the general who rallies the troops, goes to battle and wins – make sure they know it.
In other words, their role is to be the visionary’s greatest ally. They always have your back, and you always have theirs – even when you run into disagreements.
We’ve adopted this little saying here at TaxProMarketer, and it’s been good to us. It goes like this:
“Disagree and commit.”
When you hit that impasse, ask which one of you cares more passionately. Perhaps you both have good reasons, but which one of you is willing to die on this hill? If you aren’t as passionate as they are, agree to disagree… and then strongly commit to their idea. You’re in it together.
And no “I told you so” if it just so happens to go south.
(Remember, you’ve got each other’s backs. — Another great business coaching tip. Eat it up.)