Visionary Leadership vs Visionary Customers
We love the stories of big visionaries. Elon. Steve. Oprah. I was about to say Bill, but I don’t know if that is a great idea these days. 😉
The crazy people that change the world through pure willpower are subject of case studies en masse, and almost every business book features (at least) one of them.
But if you have ever worked with (or for) a visionary, you understand that it can be damn challenging
You know who I’m talking about: The entrepreneurial founder, who is constantly chasing the next big thing. The CEO who wants to talk about vision and strategy, but doesn’t know how to set clear goals and expectations. The VP’s who chase vanity metrics and just put more pressure on Customer Success.
In his book Rocket Fuel, Gino Wickman makes the case that every successful company has both, a visionary and what he calls an integrator.
The integrator runs the day to day business. They enjoy being accountable for the execution. They integrate all the different function groups in a business without effort. In short: the integrator does what we in Customer Success do every single day.
Wickman has 5 rules for integrators and visionaries to work together. And you need to master them. Because here’s the thing… customers can be visionaries, too.
Visionary customers can kill your relationship.
A visionary customer is all over the place. I like to call them the unguided missile.
They are 150% motivated, but they don’t plan reliably. They really want to pull it off with you. But everything ends in chaos.
Visionary customers can be your best friend. They get the bigger perspective. But you need to control the visionary.
Here are Wickman’s 5 rules to work with a visionary.
- Rule 1: Stay on the same page. In a regular meeting, list issues, concerns, ideas, and disconnects.
- Rule 2: No End Runs. You need to agree that no one in your relationship ever goes around each other.
- Rule 3: The integrator is the tie breaker. If visionaries can’t agree, it’s the integrators role to fix interdepartmental bottlenecks.
- Rule 4: A visionary works for a business, not for themselves. It’s our role as integrator to remind them of the context they operate in.
- Rule 5: If there is no mutual respect, no one will win.