Every pilot needs a co-pilot. Someone they can trust to handle issues when they arise and are there to help make sure their journey goes smoothly. The same is true when it comes to running a business. Even the best business owners typically can’t do it all—even if they think they can.

As a business leader, you need someone to help fill in the gaps so that you can spend your time focusing on maximizing your energy and doing the things you love in your business. In the Entrepreneurial Operating System, we define these two roles as the Visionary and the Integrator. They are the people sitting at the top of your Accountability Chart and are in charge of the major functions of the business, but both have very different roles. Here’s how we define them.

Who is the Visionary?

The Visionary is often the person who founded the business (aka the Founder, CEO, Chairman, or President). This person is a great leader, good at solving big problems and building relationships. They always are coming up with new, shiny ideas to bring to the table. Their passion and creativity are the driving force that continues to push the business forward and fuel its growth. However, they aren’t great at holding others accountable, and typically don’t want to spend their time running the day-to-day of the business. Visionaries get easily distracted by their ideas which can create chaos for the organization, especially as the business grows. This is why every great Visionary needs a great Integrator.

Who is the Integrator?

The Integrator (aka the President, COO, General Manager, or Chief of Staff) is the one who is great at creating consistency, implementing processes, and holding others accountable. Integrators filter the Visionary’s ideas and help to successfully integrate them into the business while removing the obstacles and barriers that the business faces during the day-to-day. Essentially, Integrators are the glue that keeps all the major functions of the business held together and working to achieve the Visionary’s vision while protecting the business from chaos (or chasing those shiny new ideas).

The Visionary & Integrator MUST Work Together

I recently had a client who, at the beginning of their EOS Journey, had been acting as both the Visionary and Integrator. Through our work together, the owner realized these seats would not only be better served as separate functions but that they actually did have an Integrator in their business already. Over the past month, they made the change and he handed over the reins to his Integrator so that he could fully immerse himself as the Visionary. It has been a game-changer for their company. The Visionary is spending all his time doing what he loves, working on key parts of the business with select projects, and building key relationships. The newly placed Integrator is keeping the plane heading in the right direction. Projects are staying on track, people are being held accountable, there is someone available to answer questions and provide consistent answers that ensure everybody is heading in the same direction.

While many business owners initially think that they can be both the Visionary AND the Integrator, the truth is that these are two very different roles. Visionaries offer Integrators creative, new ideas and insights on the business, while Integrators take those ideas and provide a logical approach to implementing them. Typically, you are either one or the other, rarely both. If you aren’t sure which you are, take this quick assessment to find out.

The Visionary-Integrator relationship is a two-piece puzzle and you need to find your perfect puzzle piece. To really break through the ceiling and reach the next level, both the Visionary and the Integrator must be working together in harmony. If you want to learn more about Visionaries and Integrators, check out the book Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination, which goes into detail about the roles and relationship of the Visionary and Integrator. Or if you’re ready to learn how to find your perfect puzzle piece,  let’s connect and schedule a time for a free, 90 Minute Meeting to learn more.