people holding puzzle pieces

Unify to Unite

November 13, 2020

Most business partnerships ultimately fail. In fact, the success rate of partnerships is only 30%, and when partnerships fail, companies follow. A divided leadership team greatly impacts employee satisfaction, retention, and performance. Countless organizations can’t align because their leaders can’t align, and only 7% of misaligned organizations exceed revenue expectations. Unity is pivotal to progress, and it starts from the top.

EOS implementer and Rocket Fuel author Mark C. Winters explains that the most successful partnerships contain a visionary and an integrator. The visionary is responsible to drive creative thought and innovation, while the integrator is responsible for implementing the vision and maintaining harmony within an organization.

However, the question remains— how can you foster alignment and maintain those essential business relationships? Leaders, CEOs and founders have been asking themselves this for ages and the simple answer is that it all begins with choosing the proper partner— the missing piece to your puzzle— the integrator to your visionary. Finding the right partner isn’t simple but there is a proven process.

Analyze strengths, internalize beliefs.

Assess yourself, your people, and your organization. Establish your values, mission, vision, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Explore what fit means, to determine if someone is a good fit. Before leaders can propel partnerships, cultivate collaborations, or inspire unity, they need to uncover their own identity. Utilize self-assessments, such as the CliftonStrengths. Unification and integration are not feasible without introspection and self-reflection.

Hire for alignment and compliment.

Once you codify your brand identity and recognize your needs, evaluate every potential hire and partner through a purposeful lens. Measure their strengths and beliefs against yours and your company’s. Determine if they are what you need and if they will succeed as your collaborator or within your company. As Mark Winters shared on the Drive Profit with Purpose podcast, “If they have too much gap they’re not a strong duo. If they have too much overlap, they’re not a strong duo.” Hire team members who both compliment and align with one another. Partner with people who share your values and vision, but compensate for your weaknesses with their strengths. This balance is the key to any successful visionary-integrator partnership.

Divide the work, unite the vision.

Evaluate who fits best where and establish roles accordingly. Thoughtfully structured partnerships have statistically higher success rates. Clear position definitions and early alignment around responsibilities are pivotal to performance. Ensure that people are happy in their roles, and that while their tasks differ, their overarching mission and vision are the same. Employees and partners should be assigned varied smaller objectives, which bring them joy, but that connect to a shared larger objective or purpose, which brings them fulfillment– both of which are leading indicators of unification and retention.

Communicate, activate, inspire.

Lead a culture of flexibility, growth, and fulfillment to inspire unity and loyalty. The key to unification is the establishment and integration of the organizational purpose and overall culture. This falls on the leader, integrator, and entire leadership team, as the visionary inspires people with their vision, while the integrator ensures it is infused into the entire organization. When every message, action, and experience aligns around your brand purpose and values, your teams do too, and they align with one another.

Cohesion and collaboration are essential to bring unity to any team and any vision to reality, but as history and research show us, such aspirations are not easily achieved. Leaders must begin with introspection, hire with intention, and lead with inspiration to unlock effective partnerships, united teams, and successful outcomes. The interplay between visionaries and integrators is vital to success, but the relationship between the two is just like the relationship between any other team members. Visionaries and integrators can only effectively inspire unity when the pair successfully balances disparate strengths with aligned values.

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