The Executive Brief

Hiring an Integrator?

Mike Frommelt Visionary, EOS, Integrator

Before hiring an Integrator, it's essential that you get clear on what will move the dial before jumping in. Hiring a great Integrator is literally a game changer for any business. When you get the right one for you, the sky is the limit. Unfortunately, in our discussions with Visionaries across the country, we’ve heard way too many tales of hiring the wrong Integrator. Of course, these hires have not been game changers - more like expensive experiments.   

Hiring Mistakes

Early on we began to notice a pattern with these hiring mistakes; the company/Visionary didn’t build a strong (or realistic) profile for their Integrator seat before jumping into the recruiting & hiring process.  As a result, they 1) hired an Integrator who was overkill for the size and sophistication of their business and paid a bundle for it, or 2) they hired an Integrator who was severely underqualified, unable to handle even the most basic Integrator functions.

This is not altogether unexpected, the Integrator role as its described in Rocket Fuel (Gino Wickman and Mark Winters) is a bit of unicorn; it packs a ton of skills and abilities into one individual/role. Some of the functions of an Integrator are fairly tactical i.e. ensuring execution, detail orientation and project management. Others are much more strategic and even Visionary-esque, like business planning and acting as “Visionary Prozac.”

Integrator Continuum

To assist Visionaries in building a realistic and appropriate profile for their Integrator seat, we have developed a tool we call the KeyStone Integrator Continuum. This tool takes all the key components of the Integrator role from Rocket Fuel, categorizes them and then places them on a sliding scale from tactical to most strategic or visionary.

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As you might imagine, Integrators operating on the more tactical end of the continuum (left) will be a little more available in the market and a little less expensive to hire. Likewise, Integrators who bring more strategic abilities (right) will be less available in the market and thus, more expensive to hire.

Plotting Your Integrator Needs

Depending upon where you are as a business (size and sophistication), an Integrator operating toward the more tactical end of the scale may be just what you need to get the business to the next level.  Hiring an Integrator who can assist you in Business Planning and Long-Term Strategy may not be a good use of your dollars.

For example, if you own/operate a small manufacturers’ rep firm with a total of 10 employees and a top line of $4M or less, you probably don’t need a lot of assistance with long range business planning. What you really need to move the needle is an Integrator who can take the “people, process and metrics management” off of your plate so you can spend more time on business planning and long-range vision.

If your company is “mid-sized” i.e. 25 – 70 employees, $8-15M revenue, an Integrator somewhere in the middle of the continuum may be just the ticket. Not only will they manage people, process and metrics, but they will also develop people and help ensure your structure is appropriate for growth. Again, in the Visionary seat you can still handle high level business planning, or you can hire a high-level consultant to help when you want help here.

If your company has gotten larger and more complex i.e. 70 + employees, it is now likely you need an Integrator at the top of the continuum.  At this size there are simply too many moving parts for one high level thinker; having a true “thought partner” will keep you on the growth path.

KeyStone Can Help

If you are interested in diving in further, there is much more information and further examples in our e-Book “How to Hire the Right Integrator for You.”

Visionaries and companies considering Integrator candidates, check out our new offering - the KeyStone Integrator Evaluation. We can assist you in identifying your Integrator needs and assessing candidates against your key criteria.

If you'd like a free consultation, email us at

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