One of the first things my clients tell me is they’re glad they aren’t the bottleneck in their businesses anymore. They may not use those words to describe their feelings, but that’s the general idea.
In addition, no longer being the bottleneck is one of the first tangible benefits Visionaries see after hiring an Integrator. I love this, because I know the CEO receives value right away and realizes she never wants to go back to her life pre-Integrator.
What does it mean to be the bottleneck? It means you’re the one who’s holding up the works and keeping projects, ideas, and tasks from moving forward.
In short, it’s being stuck.
What Causes the Bottleneck in the First Place?
Often, it’s the inability of the Visionary to keep up with the growing business and the expanding demands on her time, her energy, and her attention.
Also, it’s her desire to hold on and manage the business herself. She doesn’t want to let go, so everything flows through her.
It’s understandable, but it brings business growth to a halt and makes her life more difficult and stressful.
Think of a ketchup bottle. If you turn it upside down and the ketchup starts flowing too fast, it gets stuck. Too much ketchup is trying to go through one small hole, so nothing comes out.
What’s your next move?
Of course, you hit the bottom of the bottle.
Unfortunately, we all know what happens then…
You have a big splotchy mess on your hands, and your burger or hot dog is over-ketchupped (along with the counter or the floor). The sauce flies everywhere.
So, What Happens in Your Business When You Get Stuck?
Just like the ketchup bottle, being the bottleneck in your business causes issues for you, your team, your vendors, and your clients. You are the one small hole through which everything in your business is trying to pass. A jam is inevitable.
The more your business grows, the faster the logjam happens. Moreover, the moving parts and pieces get stuck more often. If everything must go through you, there’s no way to avoid it.
And just like the ketchup, if someone smacks the bottle, meaning you become overwhelmed and burn out, tasks and projects end up blotchy and messy. You might decide to summarily approve everything, just to get it off your desk, or you might get frustrated and lose control. You may miss some important details or tasks while working on others that aren’t as important but are more urgent.
Again, it turns into a blotchy mess that’s hard to clean up.
Let's Talk a Little More About How This Happens.
How can your business go from smoothly flowing to stuck in a seemingly short time?
It builds slowly, perhaps without you knowing it. Gradually, you’re spending more time managing little things for your team. Meanwhile, you’re still trying to do what you’re best at, creating and strategizing.
As the business grows, you want to create more, but you also need to manage more, because there’s more to oversee. Pretty soon, it’s like an avalanche. It’s too much for one person. The more you need to do, the less you can do. You have only 24 hours in a day, but you need 44.
The business has a bottleneck: you.
In extreme circumstances, you’ll have production delays. You’ll miss meetings, and you’ll have a hard time keeping up with emails. Vendors might be left hanging, or the bills may stay on your desk, unpaid.
You can’t do it anymore. You feel burned out, and you’re ready to walk away. Your team tiptoes around you.
Let’s not allow the frustration and stress to reach this level. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to the bottleneck issue.
Enter the Integrator!
When you’re trying to juggle all the balls, some are going to fall. You can’t do it all, and one of the biggest mistakes I see is Visionaries who won’t or can’t let go. It’s understandable because the business is her baby.
However, as the Visionary, she has talents and gifts she needs to be able to utilize to their fullest to grow her company. She can’t do what she was born to do if she’s constantly juggling those balls.
Plus, she’s not at her happiest or most productive when she’s managing the day-to-day. It’s not her love or her talent.
She needs an Integrator, who can keep those balls in the air and free her to work her magic. Her Integrator takes all those dreaded duties and tasks off her plate because that’s an Integrator’s special talent. The talents of the Visionary and the Integrator fit together like puzzle pieces, and their collaboration keeps the business whole, balanced, robust, and growing.
Is Your Business Ready to
Hire An Integrator?
This second-in-command role is also often called a COO.
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