Every business needs leaders with different skill sets and strengths to succeed. There are plenty of ways to categorize leadership styles, but one of the most fascinating we’ve come across recently is from “Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want From Your Business” by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters.
In the book, Wickman and Winters define leaders as either “visionaries” or “integrators.” Visionaries are the idea generators, creative problem solvers, and inspirational forces within an organization. They’ll often manage external relationships and tackle big-picture ideas like core values and company culture. Integrators, on the other hand, are the leaders who focus on execution. Winters and Wickman define the key roles of an integrator as LMA: leading, managing, and holding people accountable.
The Need For Both Types Of Leadership
How these two roles function in isolation is just as important as how they connect. “One sees the future, and the other makes it happen,” write Wickman and Winters. Visionaries need integrators to keep them tethered to the everyday reality of running a business. Without them, visionaries can suffer from shiny object syndrome, moving onto the next big idea before the time is right. On the flip side, integrators need visionaries to provide purpose and meaning to their work. Because integrators excel at the day-to-day operations, it’s easy for them to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Visionaries help guide the efforts of integrators toward the most productive ends.
In today’s business environment, where innovation is at a premium like never before, it’s easy for people to prioritize vision over integration, but that’s a strategic mistake. Innovation for its own sake, without any practical application or demonstrable benefit, is just a waste of resources. “Most companies lack processes to decide which ideas to pursue, much less ways to measure their success,” writes Adam Bluestein in Inc. Magazine. In other words, without integrators to bring vision to action, innovation may as well be wishful thinking.
Applications for ‘Rocket Fuel’
Throughout “Rocket Fuel,” Wickman and Winters offer numerous examples of successful visionary/integrator pairings, including Walt Disney and his brother, Roy; Henry Ford and James Couzens; and Ray Kroc and Fred Turner of McDonald’s. Each of these stories serves to illustrate how the two types play off each other’s natural talent, creating a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
The most obvious place to apply the visionary/integrator dynamic is within the leadership structure of your business. If you don’t have a visionary in the room, it’s easy to become content and complacent rather than look for novel strategies to maximize growth. If you lack integrators, odds are your organization is scattered and constantly chasing the next shiny object. The friction and synergy that occurs between the two styles keep a company balanced.
But the lessons of “Rocket Fuel” aren’t limited to your management structure. When creating teams for projects, you should ensure you have at least one of each type. It’s also a useful paradigm to consider when hiring new team members. As with any methodology of its kind, “Rocket Fuel” shouldn’t be seen as a be-all and end-all deciding factor. There’s no rule saying CFOs have to be integrators while CTOs have to be visionaries. The important thing is creating a balanced dynamic between the two types.
A Suite Of Tools For Entrepreneurs
“Rocket Fuel” is part of the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS), a series of books and tools to help leaders get better at creating goals, applying principles, and creating a healthy work environment. It’s worth checking out if you’re in need of a fresh perspective on your business.
If you want your company to soar into the stratosphere, you need the right leadership to ignite the engine. “Rocket Fuel” will deepen your ideas about the types of personalities that, when working as a team, can lead your business into a brighter future. We at The Newsletter Pro heartily recommend adding it to your company’s library.