Maximizing Business Potential with a Fractional Integrator

A white woman with long red hair speaks to another woman in front of a whiteboard, representing the communications skills needed to excel as a fractional integrator.

Written by Beth Jacobs

March 5, 2024

A fractional Integrator plays a pivotal role in aligning a company’s leadership team with the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, ensuring strict adherence to the framework’s processes for optimal results. 

While many founders understand the importance of the Integrator when implementing EOS®, they don’t always have the resources to hire a full-time employee for the position. They often try to take on the dual role of the Visionary and the Integrator, or they delegate the Integrator role to someone on their team who lacks prior experience with the framework. In my experience, these options put the significant investment you’re making into implementing the system at risk — whether that’s just an investment of your own time and energy if you’re self-implementing, or if it’s the substantial investment required to bring in an experienced implementer. 

However, a fractional Integrator can be a cost-effective solution, applying the wisdom and experience gained from previous successful implementations while working on a flexible, scalable basis.

This guide will explain how to get the maximum benefit from the EOS® framework by hiring a remote Fractional Integrator.

What is EOS® and Why is the Integrator Role So Important? 

Many first-time founders discover EOS® when they realize their company has grown to a point where problems are popping up that they don’t know how to solve. 

They might start getting complaints from loyal customers about inconsistent products or services, or they may realize they’re missing out on opportunities due to inefficient processes. These are all symptoms of a small business that’s trying to scale up without the necessary infrastructure to do so. 

EOS® provides that infrastructure. Founded by Gino Wickman, author of books like Traction and Rocket Fuel, EOS® is a business management framework designed to help organizations achieve their vision and goals by working together seamlessly. It focuses on establishing clear goals, holding people accountable to achieving those goals, and clearing out any obstacles in their way by optimizing processes and proactively resolving personnel issues. There are six key components to the method: Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process, and Traction. It’s a proven process that can help you build internal infrastructure and maintain the systems of organization and communication that are essential to sustainable growth and ensuring all facets of an organization work together seamlessly. 

In my experience, this framework can be an amazing tool to help businesses elevate their operations to the next level, if it’s properly implemented. The framework is strict, and to get the benefits from it, you have to follow every aspect of it. For example, if the Identify Discuss Solve (IDS) process starts to feel tedious and repetitive so you stop using it for every single meeting, soon the whole framework will start to fall apart. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen. If you cherry pick the parts you like, and leave the rest behind, you’ll get limited value out of the entire framework because each aspect builds on and reinforces the others. 

That’s why the Integrator is such an important role. Even if everyone on your leadership team is enthusiastic about implementing the framework at first, inevitably, someone will tire of the steps and try to create shortcuts. If you let one component of the framework slide, you risk letting your entire investment in setting up the framework thus far go to waste. (And if you’ve hired an outside Implementer, that’s a substantial investment!)

What Does an Integrator Do?

The Integrator works closely with the existing leadership team to ensure they understand, embrace, and fully implement the system. They make sure everyone is aligned and moving in the same direction by holding people accountable to their goals, making sure the right people are in the right seats, and helping to streamline communication between teams. Often, they serve as the enforcer to make sure everyone on the team sticks with the framework, even when it’s hard or tedious. 

At the beginning of an organization’s implementation journey, the Integrator will help the team define and articulate their long-term goals, creating a strategic roadmap for the organization. This is critical in everyone understanding their role and how their role contributes to the success of the organization. Then they’ll move into executing the vision, which involves setting clear priorities, defining quarterly rocks and KPIs, and ensuring the team is consistently moving in the right direction. 

Throughout the implementation, the Integrator is responsible for ensuring smooth processes and accountability. They ensure these processes and the responsible parties are well-documented and aligned to goals.

What Kind of Businesses Benefit From a Fractional Integrator?

A fractional Integrator is a great fit for both companies who have hired an EOS Implementer® and those who are self-implementing if they don’t have anyone on their staff with Integrator experience or with the necessary people skills to excel as a full-time Integrator.

While the Integrator role is absolutely critical to a successful long-term adoption of the framework, it’s not a full-time role on its own for the majority of companies. It can be a role that a chief of staff (CoS) or a chief operating officer (COO) takes on in addition to their normal duties, if they have the appropriate skills and experience. But the biggest mistake we see is when a business owner, who is by definition the Visionary within the framework, tries to also play the Integrator role. Yes, it’s possible to do both, but it’s typically ineffective. Most leaders simply don’t have the mental or time capacity to focus on the big picture while also managing the detailed, day-to-day responsibilities of the Integrator. When push comes to shove, they’ll drop the Integrator duties first. 

That’s where a fractional Integrator comes in. They already have experience with the framework, which means they’re already familiar with the methodology (including things like accountability charts, Scorecards, Rocks, L10 Meetings, etc.) and they know what success looks like. They don’t need to be a full-time employee to play the Integrator role. They can devote anywhere from five hours to 40 hours per week to your organization, depending on your needs. As an Integrator, they’ll take the lead on facilitating weekly meetings, mentoring team members, and handling day-to-day operations duties. 

A fractional Integrator might stay on with your company indefinitely, or it could be that once you’re confidently running on the framework, an internal team member with the skillset of an Integrator can take over the role.

How Much Does a Fractional Integrator Cost? 

Bringing an experienced Integrator on board on a part-time basis is a cost-effective way to protect the investment you’re making into implementing the new business framework. You can get as few as 20 hours of support per month, or as much as 160 hours per month. Highly experienced fractional consultants with niche expertise — such as previous fractional integrator experience — may charge anywhere from $175 to $250 an hour. If you don’t need full-time support, these rates are still much more cost effective than hiring a full-time COO (the typical C-suite position that would take on the Integrator role).

What Are the Most Important Skills for a Fractional Integrator

A big part of a fractional Integrator’s job is to help team members overcome their objections to following the framework and managing tricky relationships between team members. For this reason, great people skills are the first thing I look for in an Integrator, especially the ability to influence and align leaders that they may not have legitimate or positional power over.

Communication and facilitation skills are also critical, because many of their ongoing duties involve facilitating meetings, fostering open and transparent communication channels, and helping to anticipate and remove roadblocks. 

If team members aren’t aligned, the Integrator needs to be skilled at proactively recognizing others’ discomfort and be able to dig into why they’re unable or unwilling to follow through, and then work collaboratively to realign the team with the framework. This ensures the organization remains agile and responsive to whatever challenges surface.

How to Hire a Remote Fractional Integrator 

While you could put out a call on LinkedIn or in your circle of entrepreneur friends to try to find a part-time Integrator, the likelihood of finding an experienced Integrator who is willing to work the exact number of hours you need is slim. Luckily, we have a talent pool of hand-vetted candidates who have experience running on EOS® and serving in the Integrator role. 

At vChief, we provide flexible executive staffing solutions that add capacity, fill gaps, and drive growth. We place talented change-makers in fractional roles such as Associate Chief of Staff, Chief of Staff, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Human Resources Business Partner, Integrator, and Executive Director. Our clients include startups, nonprofits, foundations, and corporate enterprises. 

Our Integrator talent pool includes people with CoS or COO-level experience who have prior experience serving as an Integrator in a company that uses the EOS® framework. We’ve seen some clients leverage their dual skill set by hiring them into a dual role as Integrator and CoS or COO. 

Our fractional Integrators work on flexible month-to-month retainer contracts. As your business needs change from month to month, you can flex your hours up or down freely. And if you need to cancel, you can do so anytime with only 30 days notice.

Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about our fractional Integrator services

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