Visionary vs. Integrator: Stop sparring and get on the same page
As any Certified EOS Implementer® will tell you, the Visionary and Integrator™ are the one-two punch to leading your company effectively. Without either one, you’ll be constantly hitting the ceiling. But the Visionary/Integrator relationship isn’t always a smooth one, and friction between them can get pretty heated. As Rocket Fuel coauthor Mark C. Winters describes it, sparks can fly in the middle of your Level 10 Meetings™:
“Some topic comes up that the Visionary and Integrator haven’t worked out. It’s a controversial topic for whatever reason, and they end up on opposite sides of the issue,” Mark said. “The Visionary and Integrator start going at it right there, in front of the leadership team. The rest of the leadership team can only sit and watch. It’s very disruptive and counterproductive.”
For many Visionary/Integrator pairs, it can feel like they’re stuck in an endless dance they can’t break free of. But Mark says the root issue is a simple one: “All this can be totally avoided if they take the time to get on the same page. Ninety percent of the time, you walk back through the situation, and the root of it is that they’re out of sync with each other. They’re just not on the same page.” As a result, the situation festers and starts to manifest in any number of ways.
So, what do you do to get on the same page in your one-on-one meeting? Mark says it’s a simple and incredibly effective discipline: the Same Page Meeting™. Even if you’ve heard of the Same Page Meeting, you might be operating under some misconceptions. Here’s how it works.
Handpicked related reading: Mark C. Winters Talks About the Powerful Concepts Behind Rocket Fuel
The Same Page Meeting
Mark says the Visionary and Integrator should sit down together at least once a month to sync up. “A month is a minimum frequency to have that meeting. If it’s a new Visionary/Integrator relationship, you may need to have it more often than that—maybe once a week, or even more often than that at the very beginning.”
In the Same Page Meeting, the duo talks about anything they may not be in sync about. It could be something new, or something that’s causing friction or discomfort or confusion. During this meeting, they talk it through and work it out until they’re both on the same page. “They need to walk out of that meeting locked arm-in-arm, two halves of the same brain,” Mark said.
Here’s how the Same Page Meeting works, according to Mark: There are only two items on the agenda:—1) the check-in, and 2) the Issues List. First, check in on a human level. Ask, “How are you doing?” This is an important part of the meeting, because it fosters the quality of your relationship together.
“It’s vital to know what’s going on in each other’s world,” Mark said. “What’s going on with the kids, or your spouse? What’s going on with the things you love to do?” This check-in time acknowledges the magnitude of the relationship, which is an incredibly meaningful one.
After the check-in, move to the Issues List and work through every item you need to talk about. Include anything and everything that’s unresolved, has the potential for disagreement or is causing friction. Don’t leave the meeting until you’re both 100% on the same page. “It might be a couple hours, it might be half a day,” Mark said. “It could be even longer.”
Mark has worked with a lot of Visionaries and Integrators, and it’s not uncommon for him to bump into misconceptions about the Same Page Meeting. Most of the time, there’s some denial going on.
Often, the Visionary doesn’t think they need to meet as often as they do, and the meetings get pushed off. Mark said, “I’ll work with a Visionary and Integrator pair, and I’ll keep saying, ‘Yep this could’ve been solved with a Same Page Meeting, that could’ve been solved with a Same Page Meeting too.’ Over time, they begin to realize, ‘Wow, this is pretty important.’ So they begin to do it, and they get better at it. And lo’ and behold, all those Issues start going away.”
Mark also said it’s usually on the Integrator to enforce the discipline and ensure the Same Page Meetings are happening. “As the Integrator does that, and as the disasters begin to be avoided and they begin to develop a deep relationship and a meaningful level of trust—that’s when the Visionary begins to appreciate it more and more,” he said.
The other big challenge that Mark sees is in finding a balance where the Same Page Meeting isn’t all about the Visionary or the Integrator. Sometimes it takes a while to get to the place where there’s equal participation. But if you stick with it, you’ll find Same Page Meetings become more natural and more valuable to both of you.
There’s also the question of where to meet. “One of the cool things about the Same Page Meeting is that it doesn’t have to be—and in fact, often shouldn’t be—a sit-down in the conference room kind of meeting,” Mark said. This meeting should be a relational one, so you should meet somewhere you can build that relationship. “A lot of my Visionary duos will do it at a Starbucks, or over dinner, or over golf, or whatever,” Mark said. “Move the location of the meeting wherever you need it in order to build the relationship. It lets you lay the foundation by talking about each other’s personal worlds, getting engaged and plugged in as people.”
From there, you have the trust to lay your cards on the table and talk freely about your issues, whatever they might be.
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- Kathy Mayfield