Does Your Agency Have the Visionary and Integrator Roles Filled?

By Jason Swenk on March 21, 2021

Are you a visionary or an integrator? How do you know, and how do you use it to grow your agency?

Check yourself on these:

  • Got big goals for your agency but no idea how to get there?
  • Spending too much time on the day-to-day operations when you would rather be leading?

The world is filled with visionaries and integrators. With effort and understanding, you can harness the strength of both to grow your marketing agency.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • What is the difference between a visionary and an integrator?
  • 5 rules between an agency visionary and an integrator.
  • Finding the missing piece to your agency puzzle.


I talked to Mark Winters, co-author of the book, Rocket Fuel. Mark is an entrepreneur who has been directly involved in fourteen different businesses of varying sizes and industries throughout his life. He has started, sold, and even acquired businesses. During that time, Mark has learned the importance of having a visionary and an integrator in your agency leadership and how the two can work better together.

What Is the Difference Between a Visionary and an Integrator?

Many agency owners are visionaries. Visionaries are individuals with big dreams and goals. They’re the ones that can look at the big picture and determine where the agency should be in the next five years. However, visionaries often struggle with the day-to-day details of enacting a plan to reach their goals. That’s where an integrator comes in.

Integrators are individuals capable of focusing on the details of operations of your agency right now. They are usually the general manager or operations manager tasked with building the road between where the agency is now and where the visionary owner wants to be.

Can an Agency Visionary and an Integrator Work Together?

When they work together, the visionary and the integrator offer a complete management package. One minds the overall mission while the other ensures success of individual tasks. However, these two personality types are so different they often have a difficult time working together. In his book, Mark discusses the five rules between a visionary and an integrator. The rules can help the two accomplish what needs to be done for the agency without driving each other crazy.

5 Rules Between a Visionary and Integrator

  1. Get on the same page. Do what you need to do to stay in alignment with the other half of your visionary/integrator coin. If you need to fight it out, do so in a back room and then come together for your team.
  2. No end-runs. If the integrator answers to the visionary and the rest of the team answer to the integrator, that is the end of the line. The visionary should not allow team members to disrespect the chain of command.
  3. The integrator is the tie-breaker. If there is a disagreement within the organization, the integrator has the ground-level view and is in a better position to consider the plan and make a decision.
  4. Rules for owner-employees. Many times the visionary owner also does work as an employee. However, problems arise when this owner-employee decides the rules don’t apply. As an owner of an agency, Mark believes you really only have two rights. First, the right to your share of the profits. Next, the right to have your voice heard on major decisions. At any other time, if you’re acting as an employee, you should be the most diligent and devoted employee ever.
  5. Maintain mutual respect. Many visionary-integrator business relationships fail because one or both parties fail to devote the time and attention to making it work. The visionary can’t treat the integrator like a lackey and have success. Ideally, the two individuals will have an eyeball-to-eyeball relationship as equals.

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Finding the Missing Piece to Your Agency Puzzle

So how do you find the right piece to the puzzle? Mark says it is really a three-piece puzzle. You need to understand your business. Then you need the insight to know your strengths and skills. And finally, you need to identify the gaps in your team structure. Only then can you find the right person to close those gaps.

Caution: You might not understand this person. The way they think and approach problems will be different than yours. That’s the point!  And, all of that is less important than the ability for you and this person to work together. The goal is to use your individual superpowers to build the best agency possible.

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