“Every company needs an integrator” seems to be a rather popular mantra of late. However, half of the proponents of this theory can barely explain what an integrator’s role should be.
This is not surprising for those familiar with the discourse because the term “integrator” is not novel. It’s just that the definitions — or rather, theories — of this person’s role within an organization have been a matter of hot debate for decades.
What Is a Role of an Integrator?
For the purpose of clarity, we’ll stick to Gino Wickman’s definition.
The term “integrator” was coined by Gino Wickman in his best-selling business books “Traction and Rocketfuel.” You typically learn about integrators when implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) as a management practice for your company.
“An Integrator is a person who is the tie-breaker for the leadership team, is the glue for the organization, holds everything together, beats the drum (provides cadence), is accountable for the P&L results, executes the business plan, holds the Leadership Team accountable, and is the steady force in the organization.” (EOS Worldwide).
Why Integration Matters
With the rapid development of digitalization and the development of new technologies, businesses are struggling to keep up and remain competitive. That’s just beautifying. It would be more prompt to say that businesses are racing against time to adapt to new methodologies or be left behind.
In this sense, integration is a crucial step. The larger a business is, the more work there is to do.
Simply put, if you haven’t thought of it yet, hire an integrator ASAP!
Improving organizational agility is a necessity rather than a choice; integrators will help your business reach that goal fast and efficiently.
Integrators drive business integration and differentiation by applying leadership, agile methodologies, and efficient prioritization.
Some of the traits a good integrator possesses include business skills, data analysis skills, people management skills, situational leadership skills, decision-making, performance assessment skills and contribution skills.
Finding the Right Integrator
Finding a stellar integrator is not an easy task because there’s no university course where people can learn to become integrators.
Rather than looking at applicants’ CVs, it’s better to focus on their expertise and personal traits.
While specifications aren’t set in stone, some character efficient integrators possess include:
- Balanced behavior patterns manifested in mild manners
- A balanced orientation
- Decision-making rooted in knowledge and competence
- Sense of unity
- Ability to resolve disputes efficiently
As you can see, integrators need to be graced with a set of soft skills in addition to hard skills needed to perform the demanding task.
In addition, you may want to look beyond the obvious and pick the candidate that possesses additional skills, preferably all of these mentioned below:
- Skill sets compatible with the industry
- Capability to uphold the company’s core values
- Same or similar vision to the business
- New perspectives
- Innovative ideas
- Solutions to fill the gaps in business procedures
- Errors and mistakes in business procedures
- The capability to bring a positive challenge
This may seem like a lot but keep in mind that integrators handle several complex tasks, including but not limited to business development, corporate development, project management, extensive communication, and employee engagement.
These people put forward all their expertise to create a rewarding and inspiring workspace where agility and engagement will thrive. What’s more, integrators ensure prioritization, the task that’s often too difficult to keep in check.
Prioritization methodologies and performance management businesses presently deploy are incapable of diversifying all roles.
One of the chief reasons is that the tech developing faster than humans. Another one is the rise of remote work, which has promoted hybrid work models as the desired goal for many employees.
Traditional managers are having a difficult time managing even frontline workers, let alone remote teams, so integrators here serve as a glue to patch the inconsistencies and bring forth progress.
This process takes time, knowledge, patience, and engagement, which is exactly why integrators need to possess so many diverse hard- and soft skills.
Resolving Conflicts Before They Materialize
One of the most important roles of an integrator is conflict resolution. Where possible, integrators should deal with any potential issue before they escalate. Sometimes, escalation is what integrators face from day one.
Either way, integrators are capable of diversifying all roles, making certain that all potential issues are being addressed as soon as they surface. Sometimes, this means an integrator may even need to assist the management team with defining and solving potential problems.
Ken Paskins, the Founder of GCE Strategic Consulting, goes on to add, "You and your leaders MUST walk the talk as it relates to core values, and those values must be clear to everyone. Encourage people to respectfully question things that don't necessarily make sense. Your leaders must be humble and approachable, and if not, an integrator can help lead them down that path."
As you can see, the role of an integrator is difficult to minimize. With the rapid change businesses are facing, every effort should be made to diversify business processes and roles and put a stop to potential issues.
Add to that all the conundrums of digitalization and you’ll see that an overreaching strategy is crucial for business success. Look towards integrators to help you modernize your business and keep literally everything in check.