Now You Have Your Operational Other Half, Here’s How To Build A Great Relationship

Here’s the scene: You identified that the key to getting your business ‘unstuck’ was to find your operational other half, you analysed your own strengths and weaknesses, and drew up your wish-list to maximises your chances of finding that person, and the hard work of sifting through applicants to find your operational other half is now behind you.

Now, as you prepare to on-board your operational other half, your thoughts may be turning to what needs to be done to ensure that the relationship has the best chance of success for many years to come.

In their book Rocket Fuel describing the entrepreneur/operational other half relationship and how to make it work (they call these two types, the Visionary and the Integrator), Gino Wickman and Mark Winters devote a whole chapter to Five Rules all leadership teams must follow to ensure a healthy business.

They are:

  1. Stay on the same page.
  2. No end runs.
  3. The integrator is the tie
  4. You are an employee when working in the business.
  5. Maintain mutual respect.

Let’s look at these in a little more detail.

  1. Stay on the same page – A Visionary/Integrator team that isn’t on the same page leads to organisational confusion and chaos. Avoid this by holding a monthly “Same Page Meeting” with your operational other half at a location outside the  Wickman and Winters advise that the agenda starts with a Check In, in which each person fills in the other on how they are currently feeling, both in business and personal terms, then moves on to the creation of an Issues List, and finally the process of Identifying, Discussing and Solving those issues. Between two and four hours should be set aside for the meeting, but it shouldn’t end until both of you are 100% on the same page.
  2. No end runs – for the non-Americans among us the name of this item may be a little vague, but it refers to the American football practice of circumnavigating other players to get to the end of the field (and score a goal). In this case, end runs occur when an employee skirts one manager and heads to another to get the answer or solution that they want. While some people naturally act as the shoulder to cry on in an organisation, Wickman and Winters warn that that person must never make a decision on the problem as they will undermine the manager with responsibility for that area. Instead, that person should listen and then ask: “Are you going to tell ‘em or am I going to tell ‘em? Because one of us needs to tell ‘em.” Asking that question should put an end to end runs within a month.
  3. The Integrator is the tiebreaker – in lieu of (or alongside) your company’s organisational Chart, Wickman and Winters advise constructing an Accountability Chart in which the roles within the organisation are clearly defined. Your Integrator needs to sit above your leadership team (department heads) as their task is to integrate all the functions of your organisation so that the enterprise as a whole runs seamlessly and  For this reason, when disagreements arise within the leadership team on how to move forward, the Integrator must have final say – and everyone else must fall into line. Only they are in a position to understand how the decision will affect every department across the board; only they have the oversight necessary to make that call. “Consensus management does not work,” Wickman and Winters write. “In fact, it will put you out of business faster than anything. Not everyone will be pleased in these situations, but as long as their views have been heard and the team is healthy, they can usually live with the decision.”
  4. You are an employee when working in the business – whether you are a Visionary oran Integrator, if you are also an owner, you must understand that you are wearing two hats and can only wear one at a time. When in your Visionary or Integrator role, you serve a function in the business and must therefore play by the same rules as every other employee, with the same level of accountability – and the same penalties if you fail in the  If you are not the right person for your function in the business you must make way for someone who is a better fit, for the greater good of the organisation.
  5. Maintain mutual respect – At the heart of any truly successful Visionary / Integrator partnership is a healthy working  That means mutual trust, openness, honesty – and respect. A lack of these values will diminish the relationship in the eyes of your employees, and will ultimately destroy the partnership. It’s important to note that although the Visionary sits above the Integrator in the Accountability Chart, the Integrator should never be seen as ‘less than’ or ordered about. Both personality types are essential to make the magic happen and send your business into orbit.

It’s important to understand that these rules aren’t mere guidelines, to be picked up and dropped at will. They are rules – and they must be at the heart of everything you do if you want your Visionary/Integrator relationship to be a hearty success. Therefore, it’s worth bookmarking this page or printing them out so that you can return to them on a regular basis, until they become second nature.

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