Visionaries Don’t Need To Be Fixed
You’ve spent the last few years building up your company from scratch. In the early days it was exciting; you’d spotted a gap or a problem that needed a solution and you set up your company to fill that gap. You were going to change the world! That enthusiasm had you up all night researching ways to overcome the challenges and hurdles in your way… but now that excitement has worn off.
The company has grown and you and your employees are meeting that need – you’re doing what you set out to do; this is what you dreamed of in those early days! So why aren’t you enjoying the experience, now that you’re here?
Maybe you’re thinking of selling the business and founding a new start-up, to get that thrill back. Or perhaps you’re starting to meddle in the processes that are supposed to ensure smooth-running. Maybe you’re still coming up with ideas – ever more extravagant ones – and your employees are getting burned out, struggling to keep up with the constant change of direction.
Does any of this sound familiar? And now you think back on your life, haven’t you always been this way, flitting from one bright new idea to another, getting in your own way?
If so, it’s important you hear this: There is nothing wrong with you.
Let me repeat that: There is nothing wrong with you. You don’t need to be fixed. On the contrary, you have a rare talent. You are part of the just 3% of people who create two thirds of new jobs in our economies. You are a Visionary.
The term ‘Visionary’ was coined by Gino Wickman, creator of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a set of tools and principles designed to help entrepreneurial companies make the most of their people power. In his book Rocket Fuel, co-written with Mark Winters, the pair lay out the traits of a Visionary.
Typically, Visionaries are the founding entrepreneur for their company, have a clear idea of what the founding vision of the company is, and are good at inspiring people to share that vision.
They tend to have a good grasp of their industry, their target market, and what their product brings to the market. Because they fully believe in their vision and its potential to bring positive change, they’re often good at managing big customer or industry relationships. They’re also able to inspire employees with a grand vision when necessary.
Visionaries tend to see the bigger picture, have a lot of creative ideas, and think strategically. Because of this, they are able to solve high level problems with creative solutions that others might not have thought of, though they tend to find the details difficult to grapple with.
Hopefully these characteristics are giving you a clue as to what value you bring to your company. In short, you are the ‘spark plug’ without which the company couldn’t function. Without your grand vision, your ability to survey the wider landscape for upcoming challenges, and your creative approach to problem solving on a grand scale, the company would quickly founder.
Given these obvious and vitally necessary talents, the question arises: Why do you feel as though you are struggling What’s gone wrong?
The answer is that nothing has “gone wrong,” it’s simply that Visionaries, with their focus on the big picture, do not bring to the table everything that a company needs to thrive.
The great sages of the world have long taught that everything in our universe is made up of opposing forces which must be balanced for harmony to reign; entrepreneurialism is no different. To the Visionary’s yin there must be a yang – and there is.
In EOS terminology, balance is brought to a company by the addition of an Integrator. Where Visionaries excel at seeing the distant goal, Integrators are able to map the path to it. Where Visionaries are able to come up with creative solutions to high level problems, Integrators are able to see the role each person within an organisation must play in order for the solution to be successfully implemented – and are able to assist employees in fulfilling their roles.
In short, while Visionaries create the big picture in broad brushstrokes, providing the creative fuel for their business, Integrators paint in the tiny brush strokes that give the picture its definition.
If you are a Visionary by nature, it is vital that you both understand and embrace this aspect of yourself to feel fulfilled and content in your career, and the need to find an Integrator to bring balance to your company.
As Wickman and Winters write in Rocket Fuel: “All human beings have a God-given set of capabilities… in other words, a true skill-set or genetic makeup. The premise is that all people have one. A Visionary is meant to be a Visionary, and an Integrator is meant to be an Integrator. You are either one or the other, rarely both… Figure out which one you are, assume that role, and excel!”
What went wrong? Put simply: The recruitment process hadn’t taken cultural fit into account.
Cultural fit can be defined as the level of alignment between the values, beliefs and attitudes of a potential employee, and those of the organization.
With younger employees putting a company’s culture above even factors such as salary when deciding whether to accept a job offer, a good match between the organization’s culture and that of the new recruit is more important than ever.
When scaling a business it’s important to take into account the fact that the culture will naturally evolve as the company grows. Your values and beliefs are likely to remain consistent, but what is considered acceptable conduct among four or five friends doesn’t necessarily translate to a business of 35 employees.
In John’s case, the management structure in his business was still too flat – a hangover from the start up days. This had resulted in a lack of cohesion among the new staff, and meant that John was spending far too much time on operational management, which was distracting him from growing his client base.
Consequently, there were two things that needed to happen to get his business back on track.
The first was restructuring the organisation, putting those much-needed management systems in place.
The second was to hire an operational manager, specifically someone with HR know-how and experience of embedding a culture within an organization.
Introducing Your Operational Soulmate
Entrepreneurs like you are visionaries, but that’s only half of the puzzle. The organizational culture will be set by you, based on your values and beliefs, but it needs someone who can translate those values into action, embedding your company’s culture and ensuring everyone is a good fit.
Having this person alongside you is so important in that key growth stage when your business starts to expand its workforce, because it’s crucial at the early stages to get everyone facing in the same direction and excited about what they are doing – which they will be if they share a belief in your values too.
This person needs to be your ear to the ground, an organiser, a people manager and a doer. Someone who can perceive the needs of your business and hire staff who can flourish both professionally and personally. Just as important, you need someone willing and able to step in and eliminate toxic traits in the workplace before they bring the whole organisation down.
When I explained this to John I immediately sensed a shift in his mindset. Where he had been edging toward despair, he now had a look of unwavering optimism and determination to scale the business at the pace he had always intended.
And it worked: with everyone in alignment behind a strong corporate culture, they were able to work together to make something really special and the business went from strength to strength.
If you would like us to do the same for you by finding you your organisational soulmate, call us today for a free consultation.