In Great Britain, mind the gap is a warning phrase issued to Underground (subway) passengers, warning them to take caution while crossing the physical gap between the platform and the train. It is a warning urging people to take care and avoid injury.
Throughout my career, I've evolved from a Visionary to an Integrator, and now to a retained executive search partner for companies running on EOS® (the Entrepreneurial Operating System). KeyStone Search helps Visionaries find their perfect Integrator match. In my experience, I've observed that Visionaries must also mind the gap when hiring an Integrator. In this case, the gap is not a physical one - rather, the gap is between the company as the Visionary envisions it in the future and the reality of the company as it is today. The right Integrator has the ability to bridge the gap and turn the Visionary's vision into reality.
The gap between the existing company and the company of the future
By their very nature, Visionaries see future opportunities that most others do not. If the Visionary is successful, they typically grow their company toward that vision until growth stalls and the company plateaus. Often, this occurs because the company has either 1) grown beyond the managerial skill of the Visionary or 2) the Visionary loses interest and no longer wants to manage the day-to-day operation of the company. In both cases, the Visionary becomes increasingly frustrated with the gap between the company as it exists today and the company they envision in the future.
To close the gap, it may be time to hire an Integrator
Simply stated, the role of the Integrator is to close the gap between the company the Visionary envisions and the company has it exists today. To do so, the Integrator must have the ability to do four things:
- See the future state of the company as envisioned by the Visionary
- See the company as it is today
- Develop strategies and plans to close the gap between the future and today
- Lead, manage and hold accountable a team to implement the strategies and plan
Therefore, when hiring an Integrator, the Visionary must assess the Integrator against four key questions:
- Does the Integrator see the company as I envision it in the future?
- Does the Integrator have the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of my entire company today?
- Does the Integrator have the ability to craft multiple year strategies and plans to close the gap between how I envision the company in the future and what it is today?
- Does the Integrator have the leadership and management skills needed to assemble a great team and then lead, manage and hold our team accountable for implementing our strategies and plans?
In addition to these four capabilities, a qualified Integrator must value being your number 2 and must not exhibit negative derailer traits that inhibit their ability to lead and perform. A qualified Integrator does not aspire to be the CEO/Visionary. Rather, they aspire to help you create a more successful company through partnership, strategy and execution.
Your Integrator - a fully qualified, highly skilled Integrator who fits your Visionary style and your company's core values and culture can truly help you take your business to the next level. Beyond simply minding the gap between the company you envision and the company today, they can help you bridge the gap, and make your vision a reality.