visionary integrator duo

Scaling Up: The Magic of the Visionary-Integrator Duo

As I’ve previously written, Scaling Up Requires Some Healthy Dysfunction.  Along the journey, every company has scale points when things simply start breaking down.    

In my experience, these breakpoints naturally occur at 20 employees, 50 employees, 100 employees and 250 employees.   

Organizational systems break, and new processes and people are required to fix them.

Along these same lines, a similar dynamic occurs within leadership.

I am fond of saying, “A key part of the CEO job is to continuously fire yourself.”

At FullContact, now with more than 250 people on three continents, I’ve been performing two jobs for the past eight years:  Visionary and Integrator.

Now, it’s time for me to fire myself from doing the job of “Integrator” to devote myself 100% to the job of “Visionary.”

The characteristics of each job are vastly different. In fact, it is extremely rare that any one person could perform both roles simultaneously for the long term.

Visionaries according to Gino Wickman – the author of the book Traction and the creator of the Entrepreneur’s Operating System (EOS):

They tend to be the founding entrepreneur, a great leader, have lots of ideas, are a big-picture thinker, a relationship   person, a creative problem solver, a great salesperson, and a grower and builder. Unfortunately, they also create chaos, have no patience for details, have ADD, get distracted by shiny stuff, and want to implement every single one of their ideas right now.

This certainly describes me, and many founders I know.

I love collaborating with my team, getting my hands dirty and creatively solving problems.

I dream up crazy ideas like Paid PAID Vacation or the foundational products that FullContact is built upon.

I enjoy developing new relationships and interfacing with the market at large.

But there comes a point when the organization needs some additional help in orchestration and execution while scaling up.

After the past eight years of growth for FullContact, it was time to bring in an Integrator that is 100% devoted to that function.

Integrators, according to Gino Wickman:

They are great executors,  great managers, good at holding people accountable, and create consistency and prioritization; they harmoniously integrate the leadership team. They unfortunately have to say no a lot, are accused of being a pessimist and are typically the bearer of bad news in the organization.

Upon introspection and discussion with my team, it was obvious that my own unique abilities are far more aligned with those of a Visionary.

As such, we were then presented with the challenge of finding someone with the experience and acumen needed to fill this incredibly important role.   

I’m unbelievably thrilled to announce Tim Prunk will be joining FullContact as President & COO. I noted to my team that, as a life-long veteran of the data industry with senior executive leadership roles at Acxiom and Epsilon, Tim has probably forgotten more about our industry than we collectively know!  Under Tim’s guidance, we’ll pursue an aggressive high-growth strategy for go-to-market teams, product development, and engineering innovations.

I’ve spoken at length about being vulnerable, open, honest and transparent as a leader.

The reality is that the need for me to shift my focus and delegate the responsibilities of my “Integrator” job duties did not come easily.  

To me, it’s admitting that I can’t do both jobs well – that I am human and there are only so many hours in the day.  (Shocking, I know!)

It’s admitting that I too, need some help.

But, in the end, FullContact has huge plans and great ambitions — and with the appointment of Tim in the Integrator seat to help us scale, I am more excited and confident about the future than ever!  

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