Considering a Fractional Integrator? It works Part I:
You’ve invested plenty of time and money to implement EOS® in your business. You have tried doing both the visionary and integrator role yourself, and realize you don’t have enough time in the week. You want a fulltime integrator but don’t have the budget for it. Have you thought about using a Fractional Integrator?
Mark Winters of RockFuel.com recently released a video titled “Fractional Integrators.” In Marks video, he talks about how Fractional Integrators work and even using a remote integrator seat, and how to make it successful. Let me tell you from personal experience, Fractional Integrators work and even when 100% of your company is remote.
In this two-part series titled “Considering a Fractional Integrator,” I will discuss from my personal experience, why you should choose a fractional integrator or a full-time integrator. Additionally, I will talk about my experience as a leader on a level ten team, how the integrator and visionary work well together and what makes them successful.
Fractional Integrator, From Chaos to Consistency
In 2015, I worked directly for Ken Paskins of GCE Strategic Consulting. Ken was the Fractional Integrator and Chief Operating Officer for a small marketing agency of approximately fifteen employees. I started a few weeks behind Ken and held the position of Director of Client Services. We faced many challenges in the upcoming months that I don’t think either of us knew we would face.
It was obvious during my first week that things were about to come unhinged as the previous operations leadership had practically pushed most of the employees out the door. We had about half of our employees with one foot in and one foot out. We quickly realized that our customer satisfaction was not great either, but when your employees are not happy that usually translates to unhappy customers.
Our resource to customer ratio was significantly higher than it should have been, with one Customer Success Manager managing more than twenty clients. I worked closely with Ken to evaluate the challenges we were facing, implement measures to stop the bleeding and evaluate steps to improve our employee and customer satisfaction. We evaluated the accountability chart and ensured that each role had clear accountabilities. We proceeded to hire more success managers to stop the bleeding with both employee churn and customer churn.
It took us several months to get things under control, but within six to nine months we started seeing things turn for the better. Employee satisfaction started going up and our customer churn started leveling out. Having an integrator that was willing to tackle the tough issue and work closely with the entire team to identify the problem and solution was crucial to turning things around.
First Level-10 meeting
On April 24th, we would hold our first EOS® Quarterly meeting as a team. This particular meeting was my indoctrination to EOS® methods and processes, and it was certainly eye-opening. Our EOS® Implementer facilitated the quarterly meeting; his agenda was well defined and organized. The level 10 team at the time included our Fractional Integrator (Ken), the visionary (CEO) , fractional Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and myself (Director of Client Services).
It was obvious that our company had some profound challenges ahead of us as we went around the team establishing our issues list. Every wall and window in the conference room were covered with Post-it Super Sticky Easel Pad, 25 x 30 Inches, with bullet points of issues we had. In hindsight, I wanted to quit after that quarterly meeting but stuck it out as I was committed to the process. Our team rallied behind those challenges and made some profound changes over the next 12 to 18 months. The key our success was patience and commitment to the process.
EOS® is a system and process, and you must trust the process and stay committed. It is easy to say that it doesn’t work, really easy. But the reason why any system or process does not work to its fullest potential usually has to do with one or more of your team members not being fully committed to the process. Both your Visionary and Integrator must be on the same page. The visionary and integrator should not isolate themselves from the level 10 team as if it is an “us vs. them” mentality. That will create division on your team and could create an environment of distrust.
Reasons for choosing a fractional vs. full-time integrator
Before I continue, let’s look at the reasons why visionaries may choose a fractional over a full-time integrator. The first reason that comes to mind is financial considerations. Many organizations implementing EOS® are small businesses looking for a system to help them grow and scale their businesses. A few reasons Visionaries consider fractional integrators:
Limited Budget: Visionaries want to be successful using EOS® but have a limited budget, so they will opt for a fractional integrator to keep their cost and margins inline.
Justification: The second reason why a visionary might use a fractional integrator is that they don’t think there is enough work for the integrator to pay them a full-time salary.
Didn’t work before: The third reason is that visionaries may have tried working with someone on their existing team as the integrator and that didn’t work out great, so they are cautious to bring an outsider into the integrator role.
Hiring a full-time integrator is certainly an option but starting with a fractional integrator is a great first step. As you implement EOS® into your organization and you and your fractional integrator align and start to move the business forward, you could consider a full-time integrator.
Can the Fractional Integrator relationship work?
At first, I was not 100% sure that having a boss that was fractional would work well for me. Both personal and professional growth motivates me, and I was worried that having a boss partially engaged would prevent me from having the coaching I needed to help me grow professionally. That was not the case. Ken was always available when I called him and made time for me to work through difficult challenges.
Ken was involved with our leadership team as if he was full-time and helped facilitate and guide our team through the EOS® process. I realized early on that it was crucial that the integrator and visionary role have very different talents. Our visionary was great at coming up with new ideas and staying connected with important business relationships. The integrator role, although fractional was great at systems, accountabilities, rock management, financial metrics and keeping the team focused on the scorecard.
Just as Mark Winters mentioned in his video, there are plenty of reasons why a fractional integrator makes sense for your business. Tens of thousands of organizations are following the principles of EOS®; the reality is that unless you have two defined roles (Visionary and Integrator), you will not make as much traction in the growth of your organization.
The Integrator role can help you:
Bring organization to a chaotic environment by focusing on operational issues while you are focused on finding unique and innovative ways to grow the business.
Bring clarity to your organizational challenges and recommend systems to streamline performance.
Provide needed leadership, coaching and guidance to your team and help the organization align around the EOS® principles.
Jesse Frye is an Independent Marketing Strategist helping companies with brand and product messaging, marketing strategy and product marketing execution. Additionally, Jesse has experience with EOS® and working on a Level 10 team. To learn more about Jesse, please visit http://www.avvocatto.com or follow Jesse on Twitter or Linkedin.