In the last 6 months, I have looked into the eyes of some overwhelmed leaders. You are both in a tough position, because the team looks to you for strength and leadership, and yet you are human and hit the ceiling like anyone else.
Who does the Integrator turn to for support? The Visionary
Who does the Visionary turn to for support? The Integrator
What if you sit in both seats? See below
Both of you should find a peer group in which you can feel safe to talk. Some examples include Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), Vistage, Young Presidents Organization (YPO) or, in West Michigan, Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring (JEM). Having a mentor or finding another peer group that meets monthly can also be a great place to get some help.
The most powerful thing you can do is to admit to your team that you are hitting the ceiling and then do something about it. Remember our first conversation about being a good leader is a lot like being a good parent?
Have a few rules
Walk the talk
If you don’t walk the talk on taking care of yourself so you don’t hit the ceiling, your team won’t either – it is that simple.
Make sure you are supporting each other (or getting support from an outside group) and you are walking the talk when it comes to being your best.
TIP: Remember the Back to the Basics Checklist under the toolbox tab (p. 33) to help you think through what you need to do to break through the ceiling. And contact me if you need more help.
The one position that I see the most incredible growth in is the Integrator. It is also the one role that I am sometimes too easy on as an implementer, which I have been working on correcting for the last year.
The two themes you will hear a lot from me are 80% Rock completion and same page meetings. Here are 6 key areas all current or future Integrators need to make sure their team masters (if mastery is not happening, I urge you to look in the mirror first…):
Regular same page meetings with the visionary: You define ‘regular’, but the feedback I get is at least every 2 weeks and weekly in critical times
L10 meetings that are routinely a 9 or 10
5-5-5 Feedback sessions with the leadership team
LMA checklists: Yes on all items for each leader, especially you!
Your VTO being shared EVERY quarter with everyone
Core documents always updated and accurate, plus constant pressure to be great (VTO, Accountability Chart, Rock sheet/plans, L10 Agenda, and Scorecard)
Your role is important. But remember – the 6 things above don’t have to be done by you alone. Sometimes the Integrator is not great at meetings, so you get someone else to run them. The Scorecard is often owned by the most detailed-oriented (high fact-finder) member on the team, and sharing the VTO is often done by the passionate Visionary.
As you end this year and look to improve in your role next year, look in the mirror and ask yourself if these are being done. If not, commit to making sure it happens.
A mentor of mine has taught me that leaders create conditions where accountability can happen. Since learning that I have caught myself saying hold people accountable, and I realize that one you do with people, and one you do to people, so they are very different! We create the conditions with our actions, repeated often.
In the situation I referenced above, the conditions of accountability also came with supportive statements like “How can I help?” Seeing these outcomes, and looking in the mirror myself, has resulted in a personal change of becoming stronger in creating conditions where you feel challenged to be your best. Also, it will always be followed by the next important words: “How can I help?”
I’m offering regular support on your journey toward people-centered leadership, with weekly reminders and a free coaching session. Bookmark this page to enroll on an experience when needed.
As we approach year end, it’s a good time to think about your 2-day annual planning. Here are a couple of tips based on feedback from my EOS partners:
Get out of town: I consistently hear great feedback from teams when they do an overnight, even if it is just from Holland to Grand Rapids or Grand Rapids to Holland – they like being away and relaxing together.
Plan some fun: Do something together that is just relaxing and creates some stories. One team went to Chicago and saw two plays – the first on night 1 and another after they finished day 2. Whether it is a comedy club, feather racing at a local pub, fishing/skiing, or just a nice dinner together, do something fun. This planning can also be delegated because every team has a person with the unique ability of planning fun.
It will be on the agenda for our quarterly, and I encourage you to sell it to your team and get them excited about it. I am here to serve, so let me know how I can help.
Extra Tips I’m offering regular support on your journey toward people-centered leadership, with weekly reminders and a free coaching session. Bookmark this page to enroll on an experience when needed.
In working with entrepreneurial leaders and leadership teams, the word ‘chaos’ is often touted as ‘whatever it takes’ or ‘do the right thing’ or ‘act like a superhero’. If you think these sound like values, you are correct. My reason for sharing it is NOT to encourage you to disregard your values.
Let me take you back to your 90-Minute Meeting and repeat what I said about strengthening your Process component: “Your handful of core processes define your business model. These are the key things that need to be executed on every day, and if that is done your business will become more profitable, more manageable, and honestly more FUN to lead.”
For Visionaries: A defined process tells you where the organization needs you to contribute and also tells you what to expect the organization to do when you move on to the next thing. It also gives you measurables that allow you to watch the progress and health of the organization without having to dive in the details.
For Integrators: Processes help all of your leaders see what they are accountable for and allows you to delegate and focus your energy on helping them get unstuck when things stop working. They also help you manage the tension between groups that might see a process differently. Have you ever heard sales pushing for closing a deal and operations arguing about design or deliverables as not being realistic?
Defining core processes and measurables are part of the big 3 because strengthening these will provide a host of benefits to your organization. I have seen six-figure cost (and profit) impacts as well as leaders saying “I finally understand what my job is.” I have also seen RP/RS issues when a leader cannot demonstrate the GWC of their role by defining and implementing a core process. When an organization fixes that, things like growth and diversification start happening.
Finally, don’t forget the same page meeting. Maybe a good topic for your next one is to spend some time thinking about your process component.
Tips to get started: I have designed and delivered a workshop that takes 45-60 minutes per process to arrive at a draft definition, and another 30 minutes to draft measurables. I would be glad to demonstrate it to you if it would help you strengthen this key component in your organization. Get in touch if you would like to explore this option.
This is a post for integrators only, to remind you of three tools you should be revisiting with the team annually as a way of proactively helping them reset some of the habits we built during the first two years of your EOS journey.
LMA Review – The 10 things leaders and managers DO (see pp. 20-21 in the toolbox tab of your Leadership Team Manual) is something we asked each leader to self-assess as Yes or No when considering all the people they had LMA responsibilities for (often called direct reports). As a habit, once a year ask each leader to read through the list and reaffirm they are all Yes or recommit to changing all No answers to Yes.
Core Process Review – Take a deep dive at a quarterly/L10 into one of the handful of core processes to make sure the leadership team SBA’s it, the metrics are clear, and flush out any issues with it. Ideally each should be reviewed once a year to make sure it is accurate and any issues identified should be solved.
Delegate and Elevate – The continuous issue that comes back is having a leader doing work that should be getting done by their team. Remember my challenge to move away from $20/hour work to the $100 – $1000/hr work that members of the leadership team should be focused on?
The given is that each of you are still doing 3 quarterlies a year and a 2-day annual off-site. Whether you are graduated or not, as the integrator each of these tools helps you more easily manage the business and develop your leadership team. Do any of these need to be reviewed?
If there is anything I can do to help you/support you, let me know – I have some sheets and a few tricks for facilitating these discussions with your group.