A common issue many businesses face is operating in the silos. This happens when there’s no one bringing different
aspects of a business together. It’s especially true for businesses with remote, part-time, or freelance workers, or those working with agencies. These roles often don’t see themselves as integral parts of the business and operate independently, which can be a recipe for disaster.
So, what’s the solution? Enter the integrator. An integrator is someone who brings people or groups together in equal participation to create a cohesive whole. They bridge the gap between creative visionaries with tons of ideas and help translate those visions into a coherent plan of action.
Visionaries are often scattered, overflowing with ideas, and constantly moving from one project to the next. Integrators, on the other hand, are the polar opposite – linear, analytical, logical, and sequential. They complement each other perfectly, with integrators bringing structure and organization to the visionary’s creative chaos.
Integrators don’t just unite creative minds; they also bring various functions of the business together. In many cases, businesses operate in silos because there’s no one to connect the dots. Integrators act as the glue holding everything together, focusing on people, processes, systems, and strategy. They ensure that the right priorities are set, run the day-to-day operations, and hold everyone accountable.
Typically, integrators are the second-in-command, working closely with the CEO or visionary. Their main goal is to free up the visionary from day-to-day tasks, allowing them to focus on creating ideas that drive the business forward. For a deeper dive into this topic, check out the book “Rocket Fuel” by Gino Wickman and Mark Winters, which outlines the differences between visionaries and CEOs.
Now, let’s tackle the alphabet soup of business roles: COO, DOO, and OBM. These roles often overlap, causing confusion about who does what. While there’s no official scientific definition for each role, here are some insights to help you decide which one might be the best fit for your business.
COO (Chief Operating Officer): In some cases, this title is interchangeable with integrator. It often refers to someone overseeing operations, finance, marketing, and other business functions. The COO usually sits above various departments.
DOO (Director of Operations): DOOs are also “get shit done” (GSD) people, much like integrators. However, they may focus more on project management. The decision between an integrator and a DOO depends on your specific needs.
OBM (Online Business Manager): OBMs are great for smaller teams, often in online or remote businesses. They excel in project management and are hands-on in getting tasks done. If you’re running a smaller operation, an OBM might be the right choice.
Choosing the Right Role for Your Business
So, which one do you need right now? Ask some crucial questions:
- Full-Time or Part-Time: Determine whether you need someone full-time or part-time based on your business’s size and requirements.
- Team Size: Consider the size of your team. Smaller teams might benefit from a hands-on approach, while larger teams require more leadership and oversight.
- Do the Work or Lead the Team: Decide if you need someone to roll up their sleeves and work alongside your team or someone to lead and manage your team.
- Are You Willing to Let Go: Be ready to relinquish control and trust the person you hire. They’re not just order-takers but strategic partners.
In the end, don’t focus solely on job titles. Instead, start with a list of the functions and responsibilities you need help with in your business. Once you identify those gaps, you can match them to the right role, whether it’s an integrator, CEO, DOO, or OBM.
Remember, the goal is to free up your time, so you can focus on the big picture and keep your business running smoothly.