The Executive Brief

The 5 Key Checkpoints for Evaluating Integrators

Mike Frommelt Visionary, Culture, EOS, Evaluation, Hiring, Integrator

As many of you already know, the Integrator is the “glue” that holds the company together. S/he creates forward momentum, ensuring that everyone is working together and that problems are addressed quickly and efficiently. S/he also serves as the primary support for the Visionary harnessing and executing great ideas. When the Visionary/Integrator duo is right, it is like Rocket Fuel for the company. But, as you might imagine, a great Integrator is no easy hire!

First, a Word on Purple Squirrels

Purple squirrel is a term used in recruiting circles to describe the non-existent candidate: a list of qualifications so long that no one could possess them all. When reading the list of Integrator qualities in Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark Winters, the Integrator can feel a bit like a purple squirrel.

No doubt true Integrators are rare. Rocket Fuel estimates that approximately 2% of the population has the capability of being an Integrator. Based upon my experience, I think it may be even a little less than 2%, but let’s not quibble. Point is, it’s rare. Maybe not a purple squirrel, but darn close.

So, what rises to the top if you are looking to hire an Integrator? In my humble opinion, the five qualities below must be there in any Integrator you are considering. There are certainly other things to consider, but the absence of any of these five should be a deal breaker.

Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Qualities that most true Integrators share.  

  1. They’re Strategic Thinkers
    An Integrator understands the entirety of your business, and they understand how each component combines to create an entire system. This is something almost every Visionary I’ve ever met does naturally, but it is not a common trait in the world of business. This is why I say the best Integrators have at least a little bit of Visionary in them. If not, they cannot possibly be the bridge between the Visionary and the rest of the company.
  2. They’re People Leaders and Developers
    An Integrator is a mentor, coach and people developer. They enjoy developing people, rather than seeing it as a necessary evil. Because they build trust relationships, they’re able to drama-proof most any situation, ensuring that the team is able to work together without hiccups. They are positive and give the team a boost wherever they can. Even if it’s just something as simple as consistently thanking people for their work.
  3. They’re Goal and Accountability Focused
    Bottom line: Integrators get stuff done. They have a sense of urgency and they have proven experience managing multiple initiatives at once. Integrators are capable of identifying and resolving issues quickly via strong metrics and driving accountability across the team. 
  4. They’re Catalysts for Positive Change
    A great Integrator will instigate growth in your organization by allowing you to spend time on what you are really good at. This may feel a little scary at first, as many Visionaries have spent way too many years “in the weeds.” But once they adjust, work becomes fun again.
  5. They’re Continuous Learners and Improvement Oriented
    The ideal Integrator is never content to rest upon what they already know. They recognize the business landscape is always changing, so they must stay current in regards to trends and issues. This translates into a drive for continuous improvement across the business as well.

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What To Do Before You Search for An Integrator

At this point you may be asking yourself, “How do I find a great Integrator? Can my HR team handle it? Should I hire a search firm? If so, should I hire a contingency firm or a retained firm?"

Any of these solutions might work, but for a number of reasons, enlisting the help of a retained search firm is the surest method of ensuring a strong hire at the Integrator level.

Finally, before you set off on the path of hiring an Integrator, there are a few things to consider. This includes being financially prepared to pay the Integrator their worth, providing an attractive corporate culture, and being able to accurately assess the candidate’s core values to see if they’re compatible with your own.

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