Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and LighteningWhen I was a kid we’d started counting the moment we saw lightning strike. One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one- BOOM, the thunder would roll through our neighborhood, shaking everything to its foundation.

When I read Gino Wickman and Mark Winter’s most recent book, Rocket Fuel, I thought, “What an apt metaphor for the roles of Visionary and Integrator.”

The Visionary, a big picture, light-up-the-sky, force of nature who strikes quick and hot. Blindingly brilliant. Dangerously electric. The Visionary travels at the speed of light, illuminating our landscape with flashes of brilliance that frequently leave us awestruck with excitement and wonder. They light the path. They energize the team.

The Integrator, deliberate and penetrating. Shaking every stick and stand to its core. You cannot escape the Integrator’s rumble. Persistent and purposeful. Their slow, powerful waves of influence move through you and around you, touching what you touch, feeling what you feel. They lead. They manage. They hold accountable.

There is Nothing Quite as Uplifting as a Summer Storm

A good soaking, a clean slate, electric freshness in the air, an exciting display that stimulates and inspires us. Like thunder and lightning, Visionary and Integrator pair naturally, completing the picture, connecting an inspired image with something we can feel and touch – something that captures our attention and moves us to action. Lest we not forget, thunder does not exist without lightening nor is lightening much concern without a clap of thunder to grasp our attention. It’s when we see the light and hear the sound that we are motivated to act – when the Integrator conveys the vision from something lofty and ethereal to something grounded and real. Something we can feel and touch.

Clients, Visionaries, and Integrators

My clients often struggle with this relationship because, instead of looking at the relationship between Visionary and Integrator from the context of complementary roles with specific accountabilities, they look at it with a hierarchical mindset. Who reports to whom. Thunder should no more take the place of lightening than a Visionary should attempt to play the role of Integrator.

They are complementary and discrete – one among the clouds, the other rooted in the soil. Once my clients understand the symbiotic nature of Visionary and Integrator, a whole new level of performance opens up to them, each playing a critical role within the context of their shared vision. They begin to value one another’s natural strengths and offset their natural weaknesses. They become one, working in tandem not as partners, owners and shareholders but as contributors – two forces that, combined, have terrific impact and purpose.

So remember, thunder and lightning – two forces in the same storm. Let’s make some rain!

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