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Who’s Your Integrator?

by Andrea Grubb on Dec 01, 2016 9:32:47 AM

Whenever I meet someone new, I’m often asked what I do for a living.  I proudly respond that I am the Chief Integrator Officer at Trilogy Partners.  My answer is often followed by the question, “What exactly is an integrator?”.  I first saw the term in Gino Wickman’s 2011 book Traction.  Mr. Wickman defines the integrator as “the person in an organization who harmoniously integrates the major functions of the business” (Sales/Mkt., Operations and Finance).  Simply put, the integrator is the glue that binds the company together.

Most business owners are the visionaries within their organizations, generating ideas about future opportunities and creative ways to expand.  They are big picture, forward thinkers who need the space to brainstorm and explore.  This is the visionary’s unique gift.  All too often though, they try to be the integrator as well by attempting to manage people and tasks.  Unfortunately, this is a recipe for stress since visionaries’ strengths lie outside of those realms.  Structure and processes are not their friends and the more they try to manage day to day functions and gain traction, the more they end up just spinning their wheels.  Sound familiar?

Integrators, on the other hand, are process and detailed oriented; they minimize chaos, set boundaries, communicate effectively and understand the power of now.  Their attributes are in direct contrast to those of the visionary which is a positive since each role is vital in providing balance to an organization.  More importantly, a good integrator can take the vision of the business owner and manifest it into something tangible and expandable.

A well respected, trusted relationship between the business owner/visionary and integrator is arguably a key component to the success of a company.  The visionary should be able to be vulnerable with the integrator who naturally serves as the sounding board.  In turn, the integrator must be comfortable telling his/her boss the hard truth.  When this synergy works, it often leads to company alignment, innovative ideas, focus and direction.  Hence, great building blocks for a solid foundation to achieve personal and professional dreams and goals.

Seems obvious that every company should have an integrator, right?  Well, you’d be amazed at how many companies that are trying to function without one.  So, here’s some food for thought:  Who brings your visionary’s ideas to fruition while also leading employees, creating structure, maintaining accountability and improving processes?  If you’re at a loss or unsure of the answer, contact me at agrubb@gettrilogypartners.com as I can further the conversation and offer deeper insight on the benefits of having an integrator.

5 responses to “Who’s Your Integrator?”

  1. Geoff Goll says:

    Interesting role type, I thought about, but never could put into words. What would you say would be the optimal education and experience background for a CIO?

    • Trilogy Partners says:

      Hi Geoff,
      What a great question. While a rich educational business background is beneficial, I would also be open to other degrees. I graduated with a BA in English which helped me develop my communication and analytical skills. In terms of experience, an integrator should have depth in leading projects, developing systems and managing teams. When searching for an integrator, I also feel that one should look for a person who demonstrates the characteristics & traits of an integrator. For instance, an integrator should be curious, tenacious and unafraid to speak his/her mind. Finding a person to fill the integrator role with those attributes is vital. Feel free to reach out to me or Hal if you have further questions. Andrea

  2. WOW! It seems so logical. Would you consider this a consultant position or a employee position?
    Thank you Andrea and Hal.

    • Trilogy Partners says:

      Hi Orsola,
      Thanks for your question. We would consider this an employee position although we have heard of instances in which a “temporary consultant” Integrator fills the role until a permanent Integrator is found.
      Andrea

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