Some time ago, someone I worked with reached out and wanted to know what kind of skills or traits they should look out for when hiring an Integrator in their company. She found the information I provided so helpful, that I figured it might be a good idea to share it with someone else. 

Who is an Integrator?​

Some time ago, someone I worked with reached out and wanted to know what kind of skills or traits they should look out for when hiring an Integrator in their company. She found the information I provided so helpful, that I figured it might be a good idea to share it with someone else.

An Integrator is that person in your company who brings together all of the resources, the people, the ideas, and the moving parts of your business so that they are functioning in harmony in order that the company as a whole can thrive and move forward. 

Most people have heard of project managers, online business managers, or operations managers. Quite often those are the people in a company who fill the role of an Integrator for the founder or the CEO. 

Think about it this way: There is the CEO who runs the company. She is the visionary, founder, and leader. She is the person with big ideas and she is the face of the company. The CEO is often really talented in sales and building relationships. They are also systems breakers (according to the Kolbe A assessment pillars). They are very passionate about their mission, tend to have so many ideas, and often want to implement all of those ideas, even though they often don’t have the skills to. 

That’s where the Integrator comes in. The Integrator is the balance to the visionary. They are in a high leadership role within the company and are basically the right hand to the visionary. The Integrator can see the big picture but can also understand the smaller pieces and are adept at taking those big ideas of the visionary and putting them into action.

Imagine this scenario: You are the visionary of your company and are starting to grow. You are getting more revenue and are beginning to hire a team- maybe a virtual assistant to start with; then a copywriter because you hate copywriting; next, you hire a designer because you do not have a great eye for design or the time for it; and then a tech person. Quite often, when you are starting out you will be the person managing all of these people and trying to see your ideas put into action. But you know this is not your zone of genius.

The Integrator comes in and acts as a layer between you, the visionary, and the rest of the team, who are the implementers. They help take your vision, break it down into actionable chunks, and then coordinate the team and all of the resources so that your idea is implemented.

Also, most Integrators would have done implementation at some point. So they may understand multiple specialties which will certainly help with the facilitating of projects. 

All the members of a team may be experts in their area of specialty but if they are not functioning in unison or are not really clear on what and when things need to get done or maybe even clear on what the goals are in the first place, there will be breakdowns-  timelines will not be adhered to and tasks will get off track. 

So the Integrator is skilled at coming in and communicating and coordinating the team. They get everything working together so that things run more smoothly and more quickly, with fewer breakdowns, and you actually get to achieve the results you want.

How do you know when you are ready to hire an Integrator?

When you are first starting out, you are likely starting as a solopreneur with just you on your team. That is not the time for you to hire an Integrator. You would need to hire some implementers first, at least a VA or a tech person. 

It’s really when you start to build your team and have other implementers you have to manage that it starts to make sense to hire an Integrator to help coordinate all of those positions and functions.

Hiring an Integrator- or anyone on your team for that matter- is not a quick process. It helps to have at least a form of hiring process already in place before you hire an Integrator because you really want to find the right person for that role (more on this later). 

An Integrator is not going to be the cheapest person on your team. Typically they have a certain level of experience, and as I said earlier, understand multiple specialties. They’re not newbies. So you will need to have consistent revenue because it’s going to be an investment. A very worthy investment, but an investment nonetheless.

Typically when people hire me, they are at the point where their businesses have grown really quickly and they are having to put a team together quickly to handle the growth. But then all of the systems have not really caught up with that growth and they start feeling burnt out from task management. They are ready to get out of that role and focus on just being visionary. Those are some key indicators to know when you might be getting ready to hire an Integrator on your team.

What do you look for in an Integrator?

Integrators are really the second level of leadership in your company so you want to ideally look for people who have experience in leadership. You want your Integrator to be adept at managing people of different personalities and communication styles. 

You also want to hire someone who is practical and pragmatic- to balance you out. As a visionary, it is easy to get overly optimistic when it comes to how much you can get done and how quickly. You need someone who is going to push back a little and tell you that implementing all five of your ideas within a month will burn your team out, for instance.

You also want to hire someone who is analytical as your Integrator. Experienced Integrators are people with a good pulse on what is happening in your business. They help you outline realistic goals for your ideas and launches and they help to create the metrics around what you should be tracking to make sure that you are on track to reach your goals. 

They are going to be able to coordinate your team to pull together useful data that you can use to see whether things are working or not. 

Another thing to look out for is someone who has good judgment and is confident in their judgment. Along with experiencing burn out from task management, a lot of visionaries suffer from decision fatigue because everyone on the team is still coming to them to make all the decisions. Hiring an Integrator with strong decision-making skills will help free up the visionary to make high-level decisions while the day to day decisions are getting managed by the Integrator.

You also want someone who is proactive in their behavior, thinking, and communication. Some visionaries and some members of their team tend to be reactive. The Integrator balances that out because they tend to be forward-thinking and so can anticipate where the gaps and breakdowns could be before they happen. They also help put systems and processes in place to manage those gaps and breakdowns before they even happen. 

Another important trait to look for is someone with a strong sense of follow-through and completion to ensure your ideas are put into action. Usually, Integrators are project managers creating those high-level deadlines, milestones, and making sure that the team has everything they need to complete their tasks with excellence.

You also want to hire an Integrator who is a process and systems-oriented person. This is because they are going to help you map out what things look like and figure out how to streamline and simplify things before the implementation even starts. Your Integrator is already going to be thinking ahead to what the process looks like and how to make it as easy as possible on the team and you. 

I would also recommend hiring an Integrator who can be flexible. A visionary’s tendency is to be very fast-moving and overly optimistic. Yes, you want someone that will push back. But you also don’t want someone who is too rigid or pushes back so much that they are unable to shift or make those quick changes necessary to get you the results you want.

You need someone that is able to go with the flow, roll with the punches, and be graceful under pressure. The nature of online business is fast-paced and constantly changing so having someone who is open-minded and flexible to fill the Integrator role is crucial.

Where to start your search for a suitable Integrator?

If you are at the point where you think you might be ready to hire an Integrator, try looking internally. You may find that someone you hired as an implementer- like a VA or even a tech person- may have the skillset and the personality traits for it. So look within your team for someone who is already familiar with your business and you already have a good working relationship with- that’s a great first place to start your search. 

If you find that you do not have someone who has the necessary skillset on your team, then it is time to use that strong hiring process I earlier advised that you should have in place. Then use key character indicators I’ve outlined here to find the best fit for your team.

Integrators are a wonderful addition to your business and team and hiring the right person to occupy that role could make a huge difference to your business growth and development. So take your time and choose wisely. It will be worth it!

If you’re hiring in your business (for any role), go here to snag my hiring bundle – it will save you both time and money in your search for your next A-Team player!

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