The Executive Brief

The Biggest Hiring Mistake a Visionary Can Make

Mike Frommelt Visionary, EOS, Executive Leadership, Integrator, Mental Horsepower

Since Rocket Fuel was released in April 2015, I have been asked numerous times what mistakes are made most often when hiring an Integrator. Without hesitation, I answer:

The biggest mistake a Visionary can make with an Integrator role is underhiring.

Getting the Necessary Horsepower

Let's use a start-up example to illustrate: If you were starting a junk hauling business, what type of equipment would you purchase for your new operation? Purchasing a fleet of Toyota Camrys might be the most cost effective, but how long would you be in business before you realized the money spent on the Camrys was wasted? To get into the junk hauling business, you need dump trucks - huge trucks, like a Peterbilt, that can hold lots of trash. Of course, this is a bit silly, as no one in their right mind would buy a Camry to haul junk - but for some reason, business owners do it all the time when it comes to talent.

Especially when it comes to hiring an Integrator - if you don't hire someone with the proper horsepower, any money spent is wasted.

True Integrators bring the following traits:

  • They have the mental horsepower to truly lead cross-functionally in the business
  • They are strategic enough to take concepts from the Visionary and convert them into scalable, executable models
  • They have a track record of creating growth and success
  • They have the ability to drive accountability and execution through others

The Cost of an True Integrator

In Rocket Fuel, Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters note: "Based on our experience, most Visionaries initially underestimate what they'll need to pay their Integrator." They suggest the Visionary take the compensation they had in mind and add 50%. In our experience placing Integrators at KeyStone Search, we think this calculation is spot on.

I can feel you cringing - but again, how much value does the Camry bring to your junk hauling business.

Don't mistake the point here - simply spending more does not ensure you're getting a true Integrator. You must know what to look for and evaluate potential candidates properly. When you find a qualified Integrator, they will likely be more expensive than you thought. After all, an Integrator is not some run-of-the-mill task master or execution jockey. They are a General Manager, a COO or a President.

If you're not ready to make the significant investment in hiring an Integrator, continue holding both the Visionary and Integrator seats, or consider hiring an Interim or Fractional Integrator. But don't waste money on a Camry, when you need a Peterbilt. 

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