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Visionaries And Integrators: Rocket Fuel Co-Author Mark C Winters Explains How To Find Your Perfect Match


Have you ever wished that you could find someone who could just execute all of your ideas, run your team and make sure your company ran like a well-oiled machine? If so, you need an integrator on your team. When a visionary meets their integrator and vice versa, the combination is powerful.

So powerful that today’s guest, Mark C. Winters, calls it Rocket Fuel which is the name of the book he co-authored with Gino Wickman, the author of Traction. Mark has over 25 years of entrepreneurial leadership experience with businesses from small startups to multi-billion dollar companies.

In the book, Rocket Fuel, he describes the importance of having both a visionary and an integrator working together for optimal business success. So, are you a visionary or an integrator?

Some Topics We Discussed Include:

  • Beginning the search for each other
  • Being a Visionary
  • Integrators
  • Fractional Integrators

To learn more about Mark and the importance of having both a visionary and an integrator working together for optimal business success, visit

About The Guest: Mark C Winters

BWB Mark | Visionaries And IntegratorsMark C. Winters is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of entrepreneurial leadership experience. His companies have ranged from raw startups originally drawn up on a napkin, to multi-billion dollar global enterprises such as Procter & Gamble and British Petroleum. This diverse background enables him to identify and apply patterns of success for virtually any business scenario.

Mark's passion is helping entrepreneurs get what they want from their business. As a Certified EOS Implementer, he's actively engaged in helping other entrepreneurs implement EOS® in their own companies. His ability to connect and guide CEO's to achieve their desired results is highly respected. Mark is known for pursuing business opportunities related to technology and systems that enable the optimization of human/athletic performance, with a special interest in pattern recognition and scoring methodologies.

Mark has been an entrepreneur since the age of 28, after catching the “bug” during B-school at the University of Chicago. At last count, he's started, bought, shut down, or sold 9 different companies. One of his ventures as a Founder and CEO had a very successful exit – yielding a 100x cash return in less than 36 months. All this activity has led to some recognition, including being named a Tech Titan finalist as an emerging company CEO, and identified as “40 Under Forty” by the Business Journal in both Milwaukee and Dallas. Vistage International recognized his CEO peer group chairing with their Rookie of the Year award, and their Chair Excellence distinction. Mark is also a long-time member of EO (Entrepreneurs Organization), having served for multiple terms on the Dallas Chapter Board.

Visionaries And Integrators: Rocket Fuel Co-Author Mark C Winters Explains How To Find Your Perfect Match

One of the cool things I have been doing if you have read some past episodes is asking you, my readers, to send in some your favorite business books. I ask you to do that by sending me an email to

What’s been funny about this, I get a lot of great recommendations from you, but I got three or four people recommend this book called Rocket Fuel. It just so happens that the co-author of the book, Rocket Fuel, is my guest on the show.

His name is Mark C. Winters. What’s so cool about this book is the essence of it is the relationship and the importance of the relationship between the visionary entrepreneur and the integrator.

Sometimes that’s the CEO who’s almost the founder who’s the visionary. The integrator is usually the operations manager. The person who gets things done. Personally, I’m a visionary and I have a hard time executing and implementing sometimes because it’s not my natural thing.

When I have partnered up and worked with integrators, it has made a huge difference. I have also seen this with some of my friends, some of my clients, those who have the visionary-integrator relationship and the role in their business.

What happens is it works like rocket fuel. Mark is going to explain all of that. Let me explain a little bit more about Mark. He has got over 25 years of entrepreneurial leadership experience and he delivers at very high levels.

His experience in companies ranges from multibillion-dollar global enterprises like Proctor and Gamble, British Petroleum, to raw startups that were originally drawn on a napkin. This diverse background enables him to identify and apply patterns of success for virtually any business.

He has teamed up with Gino Wickman, who is the author of the book, Traction and together they have come out and co-authored, Rocket Fuel. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

I have been looking so forward to talking to Mark. You are going to want to read thoroughly especially if you are a visionary type person looking for an integrator.

We’re going to talk about different ways to find them and what he is doing to cultivate a pool of them. He is also going to address the integrators out there, the people they may not have all the best ideas. They may not be ADD squirrels like myself, but they get stuff done.

It just so happens that they are the precious gem in the entire equation. No matter who you are or what profile you fit, you are going to want to pay close attention to this. Without any further ado, let me switch over to Mark Winters, the author of Rocket Fuel.

Mark, it’s great to talk you and finally meet you.

I have been looking forward to this.

I have recommended the book, Rocket Fuel, in my mastermind to everybody multiple times. I have recommended it to friends, on the podcast. I remember when I read it being, “This guy is reading my mind.”

The topic of it, which I discussed a little bit in the introduction, is probably the single biggest topic of conversation or challenge or request that entrepreneurs that I run in, the circles I run would have because most of my entrepreneurial friends are visionaries.

I suppose the integrators, we can talk a little bit more about what that means, but everybody is, “I wish I could clone me or find a chief operating officer or somebody to execute on my ideas.” It’s probably the Holy Grail.

It’s the number one thing that I know myself and other people I know who have abundant ideas and plans are trying to solve. That’s a hot topic.

I have a feeling by the way that most of my readers are visionaries, but in a moment, I want you to tell them where people can go to find out what they are. Let’s dive into this, give us the core what the book is about. What is Rocket Fuel?

Rocket Fuel is about the combination of two types of leaders in an entrepreneurial company. One we call the visionary, which is the one you are talking about, which people are probably more familiar with. It’s the idea generator.

It’s the one that’s always coming up with new stuff, some of it may be crazy stuff and lots of new stuff. The moonshot ideas come from the person that energizes that part of the leadership. There’s this other complementary type of leader that call an integrator.

The integrator is much more execution. Get it done, make it happen, focused and has a whole set of skills that is different than the ones that we typically find in the natural entrepreneurial visionaries.

When you put those two together, that’s the combination that we call Rocket Fuel. When the company can bring those two together, make them work in a way that maximizes the combination, it’s effective at taking that company to a whole other level.

I can think about friends, clients, people who have that relationship in there and their businesses are always doing so much better. You can notice it when they get that person in, everything changes.

My close friend and client, Kent, who I was directing marketing for his business for a couple of years and during that time he brought in his integrator, his operations guy, his president, his CEO.

When I was reading your book I was going, “This is Kent and Jerry 100% and that’s obviously why it works so well.”

Kent comes up with all the ideas. Jerry tells him that 80% of them they are not going to do and other ones are going to go the way Jerry wants to. That made so much sense when you said in the book that oftentimes people think of the visionary, the CEO is the leader and the guy in-charge.

You mentioned that once you have that integrator on your team, in many ways the integrator becomes the boss. They have the final veto on the visionary’s ideas.

We call them the integrator because they are pulling all these pieces together in a way that’s going to make them happen consistent with the vision of the company. That they have form together in concert with the visionaries.

Instead of trying to say this one is in-charge of that one, think of it as like a Vulcan mind-meld between those two. The visionary and the integrator have to work at being a 100% on the same page and there is a structure to help them make that happen.

The more they can do that and get in sync, then it is a very freeing thing for the visionary to know that, “All I have to do is feed the good idea energy in there and then I can step back and let the integrator take it from there.”

If they’ll trust enough and let go and let that happen, it can be extremely powerful.

You say that in the book, correct me if I’m wrong, the integrator is a rare bird than the visionary. There are less integrators out there, is that correct?

Yes. There turns out the scarce commodity in the equation. If you think of it, there is actually about a four to one ratio we find between visionaries and integrators.

That feels like it in my life.

You visionaries, you want one, and the guidance we give to people that we talk to and the people we work with is, “You better get on your horse and go find them.”

BWB Mark | Visionaries And Integrators

Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business

Don’t wait because at some point there is not going to be enough left to go around because the four to one actually becomes scarcer because they are not all the same.

We talk about a two-piece puzzle. If you can imagine, we are holding my fingers extended from both hands and fitting them together like a puzzle piece. Each visionary has a unique shape to their edge if you will.

They are looking for the integrator that has a complementary shape that when they fit the two together, it covers all the things that need to be covered by that combination, by that duo.

They may double up on some things. They both may be strong in the same area on some things, but we can’t have any gaps between the two, the visionary and the integrator. Between the two, they need to cover it all.

In the past, I have had multiple partnerships and I know I was guilty of this. I love for you to confirm that this is pretty common. When leaders or entrepreneurs partner up and they end up finding somebody who is exactly like them as opposed to the opposite.

I love other visionaries. We have so much fun brainstorming ideas that does not get done. Do you find that is one of the bigger problems with ineffective leadership teams? Is there too much overlap in personality types?

It is absolutely a trap. As humans, we are naturally drawn towards folks that are very much like us and think like us and mirror us. It’s like, “That feels good.” There is other set of capabilities and skills, wiring in how they see the world that is not like us.

Sometimes it is a little bit painful to interact with them, but that is where the power is. It’s that friction that blends in to something powerful.

We had one company that we worked with. When they were searching for their integrator, they knew what they were looking for. They knew what they needed. They had partnered with a profiling company to help them find that ideal integrator.

What was interesting in talking to Mark at the end of the process, he said, “We did not like the guy.” We sat there and we interviewed him.

If we didn’t have the objective profile information to backup, and give us an emotion-free view of what we were looking for, there is no way we would hire the guy.

We knew that going in and we knew it would feel like that and go that way. That was more validation of that is what they need than taking them away from somebody that they would have missed on otherwise.

It’s powerful and I can see that can be a challenge because you want to put the square peg in the square hole. You want to make sure that you know what the dimensions are. It’s like the objective profile.

You talked about coming up with what are the exact qualities, characteristic, skillsets that person needs to have in order to fill that role, as opposed to trying to go find a person and then shove them in that role.

I’ve got a couple of questions here. This comes from friends and readers, this is actually from a future guest on the show named, Matt Galant. I posted on my Facebook, “Who has read the book? Give me questions I’m going to be interviewing Mark.”

Matt said, “I love that book. Couple of questions. One, what is his process including talent pools that he uses to hire integrators?”

There is actually a process that we outlined in the book that’s called the Visionary Integrator Connection Process. It walks you through this step-by-step. There are seven steps.

The interesting takeaway that I would want to focus on for that is it starts by understanding yourself as a visionary in your company.

The first step is this thing call the visionary spectrum where different types of businesses turn out need different amounts of vision or visionary energy if you will.

Think about a high-tech business where I’m in the world moving one million miles an hour, the players are changing, the landscape is changing. It’s always different all the time so the visionary requires to see down the road on that.

Think of a Steve Jobs profile versus something that’s much more static and established and not moving. It is the same and always the same. Think of maybe painting in drywall or building storage units or something like that.

They are fine businesses but they do not change nearly as fast as the other, so you can get away with a lot less vision. You’ve got to understand first, what does the company need? From there, you’ve got to understand yourself as a visionary.

What do you look like? We talked about that two-piece puzzle and the shape of that edge. You’ve got to look at yourself. Understanding your own profile is a part of that.

We talk about a process we call a wish list, where you pour out on paper all the stuff that you would wish an integrator would come and take off your plate or make go away, or make it so you don’t have to do that stuff anymore.

Getting that out there on the table, so you understand these are the gaps that we need to fill in, these are the capabilities that we need to bring in to mix.

Flipping that around and looking at the profile that you seek, defining that in a way. This is where you can do some of this yourself. In the book, we have an integrator job description that lays out a great place to start.

Integrators are those pulling all the pieces together that makes them consistent with the company’s vision. Click To Tweet

You can work with others that are experts in the profiling space that can help you from looking at that map, “These are results that we would tend to see that would match up well with that.” You bring that all together and then the next question, you got to figure out is, are you ready?

We got a set of four readiness factors that force you to confront the reality of, “Are you ready to make a move like this and ready to pull the trigger on something like this?” Whether it is from a financial perspective, the investment that is going to be required, a psychological perspective.

“Are you ready to let go of some of the big meaningful things that you are going to need to let go of, or have identified with for a while? Are you at a point in your lifestyle where you are ready to maybe work a little bit less or spend long hours working on things that are more fun?”

“Are you ready to spend more time in your unique ability?” Those things come together to paint a picture of how ready you are. The big point there is we do not want you to start the process if you are not ready.

You get into it and you will make a false start. You will not follow through. You will not finish, so that is going to be frustrating for you and everybody. Once you understand yourself, you understand what you are looking for and that you are ready, then it is time to begin that search.

This gets to Matt’s question, first step is you put the word out. You put the word out and let your network know that, “Here’s what I’m looking for, here’s the stage I’m at, here is the description or profile,” and put that signal out into the world.

That is a real obvious way. Many of our visionaries have found their integrators from doing that. That’s been an effective path. From there, you move into, “Do you want to engage a recruiter?” There are more and more recruiters that are starting to specialize in this specific role.

They are dialing into what it takes to be a great integrator, where they are, how to find them, how to bring them in. We talked about them being a scarce commodity.

One of the things that we are seeing and we believe more and more is that there are great integrators hiding out in Corporate America. They are in Cube City. They are wondering why they feel fringed in the traditional big corporate machine.

The reason is because they are entrepreneurial enough to fit great into that, but maybe they are not so entrepreneurial that they would be off starting their own thing.

It is one that I can picture as well in some of the relationships that I know. For instances, I have used the example of Kent and Jerry.

Jerry was one of the heads of sales, sales managers or something like this in Oracle. They are making a lot of money. Kent happens to be his childhood friend, but he happened to have those skills

When he came over, it was funny because as sales person that is a very entrepreneurial type role, you have to be entrepreneurial. You eat what you kill when you get out there and you hustle.

It was interesting to see him walk away from a cherry corporate position and come to a smaller business, but he has been able to have a much bigger impact there.

He is entrepreneurial but he does not have the same big ideas as Kent does. That’s why it works so well.

It is an interesting blend of psychology and capability that lets them work together. They get each other enough, but they are different enough that it covers all the basics and creates this powerful combo.

You mentioned that a lot of them are hiding in Corporate America. I found that to be true. In my career, I have not done a lot of hiring personally outside of freelancers, contractors and outsourcing, so I have not personally built a big organization myself.

I do not know if I ever want to build a big organization with a ton of employees. That’s not necessarily one my criteria for an easy life. That being said, I do know that some of clients and some of friends have found that exact same thing where the best people for the job usually already have a job.

They recruit from companies that are already existing. Have you found that going out and hiring people that have jobs already are a little bit more fruitful of a search?

In the recruiting industry, they would probably tell you that’s a truism. That’s who they look for. These specialty firms that I was mentioning, that is one of their key capabilities and expertise. It’s the ability to, “How do you engage somebody like that?” It is a different approach.

If you are not experienced in that, you are not going to be able to cover much ground very fast. If somebody who has a machine built up can cover a lot of ground, talk to a lot of people to help narrow that pool down to the folks that are likely to be the best fit for what you are looking for.

If there is somebody great who is out there in a market that you are not interacting with naturally normally and they are gainfully employed, but if we can engage that conversation that lights the spark that says, “That would be cool to be a part of something like that.”

The thing lures them over, the thing that attracts them is the opportunity to have this big meaningful impact. They do not see where they are. They see themselves as a small part of something. They are not sure how they make a difference.

In this world, in the entrepreneur’s world, all of a sudden it is much clearer. The fact that they can be fed great ideas from this visionary counterpart and go do what they do and do what they wired to do. They love it.

They would go and make it happen and they are ready for the next one, “Bring it on. Let’s go do it.”

BWB Mark | Visionaries And Integrators

Visionaries And Integrators: There are great integrators hiding out in corporate America. They are in cube city wondering why they feel fringed in the traditional big corporate machine.


Have you found that good integrators are typically found in certain types of job roles before they maybe find their sweet spot as the integrator of a bigger company?

Have you found that aside from current chief operating officers, that there are any pools of people for example engineers who are out there?

A lot of engineers end up going back to get their MBA because they realize that in order to ascend in a company, they need to have the business along with the engineering. As an engineer, you have to be process-oriented and detailed.

Are there any professions like that which tend to attract more integrator personalities than others?

I want to be careful not to make too broad and generality here because the reality is, we see them come from all different kinds of places. They really do.

Think about it as the engineer or the accountant that has this bit of a twist of personality and communication and entrepreneurial bent that allows them to fit in and make it work.

Coming from the other end, somebody who is more of sales in marketing field who got the creativity but they are more process-oriented. They are more grounded in detail and process and execution.

Regardless of which type of a function or profession they are coming from, if they have got that foundation around execution and making it happen and being able to push through detail-oriented things, timelines, communicate and relate with lots of different types of people and pull it all together.

That’s the common thread much more that which profession they come from.

I have found people that typically have gotten out, they are entrepreneurial, internet-based marketers. That’s a very visionary role, people who get out there, they put themselves out front and I found some that are amazing behind the scenes.

They get stuff done. Those are the types of people I have always been looking for. You and I were mentioning Stiletto Coffee, the real-world business that I am running.

My social media content manager, she got better opportunity. She went off and did some other stuff. I’m back to a much smaller team.

I remember thinking that I have got all of these ideas on what needs to happen. The thought of sitting down and having to personally chunk them out is so excruciating to me.

I remember thinking, “I want somebody who gets it, who has some understanding of marketing or knowledge, even if it is rudimentary but loves to execute and implement, I could be so much better.”

It’s a weird feeling. I can get things done. I know it but it’s that I feel stifled when I have to actually execute on my ideas.

I was hoping we could get back to this point. We talked about the impact that the combination can have on the business. The impact it can have on the visionary is as dramatic if not more dramatic. We think about that as freedom.

We entrepreneurs, we start a business, we make that leap, we got this idea of having this freedom that we want. Whether it’s time freedom, money freedom, freedom to spend time with people we want or have the impact that’s meaningful to us.

Whichever kind of freedom it is, so many entrepreneurs find themselves fast forward, twelve months, two years, whatever, and they look at the life they are in and it looks nothing like that.

They are trapped, they are working harder than they have, probably making less per hour than they ever had. Having to deal with people they are forced to deal with that they may not like. They don’t feel like they are making a difference.

All of a sudden, enter the integrator and we get that visionary-integrator combination going and the world changes. Not only is the business able to take off and do the things that they had envisioned of doing, but they are able to spend their time doing the stuff they love with the people they love.

They are able to get control of their time so they can spend it in the way that’s meaningful for them. Everything changes. Once they get a taste of that, I am hearing a little bit of it in what the story you told, you get a taste of that, then the idea of going back is painful.

That’s one of the things that I love so much about being a consultant, is that I get to share ideas, strategies, game plans and road maps with my clients. Either they and their team execute it. I have a million resources, so we will bring in one my resources to do it.

It allows me to thrive in the ideation mode and the creativity mode and in the relationship building mode, which is a visionary is where I am the strongest at.

The Stiletto Coffee or any of the businesses that I have had and run in the past, I find myself getting bogged down in the necessary evils of running a business.

It has taken a while in my career to come to that point where you know what you are good at, know what you like and what you hate and find a way not to do those things that you hate anymore. It’s way easier said than done.

Relaxing geographic constraint opens your range of possibilities. Click To Tweet

I do like the guidebook. This is the first time I have seen a real good framework to actually making that happen.

That’s the power play. If you can focus on doing what you do best and have somebody that you are connected with that can pick up rest and is great at it. That was a big discovery for me. It’s these things that I would hate doing like so.

I’m capable of doing a lot of stuff, but it does not mean I enjoy it. Cranking out the detailed things, having to follow up on timelines, those are not for me.

If you do not enjoy it, you will not do as good at it.

The big a-ha for me was that as much I hate it and probably despise some of those things, there are people in the world who love doing that stuff. It never donned on me but it’s true.

In other ways to think about it is if you’re keeping that stuff to yourself, you’re depriving someone else the opportunity to exercise their gift.

That’s a great way to think about that as well, extra motivation. By the way, anybody reading this, he is talking about you. Send an email to

My biggest successes in business have been through either real partnerships where we are sharing in a business or strategic partnerships, where I am working with somebody else who is bringing that part to the table.

All the times that I face the most frustration has been all the times where I try to do everything on my own. The times where I have had the most success is when I found somebody who did complement me without overlapping and helped to push things forward.

Are there any big insights that come up that were not necessarily in the book, any new developments? If there was going to be an updated version, are there any stories or things that you would add necessarily?

One thing we touched on a little bit on the book is this idea of fractional integrators. The idea is maybe you are at a point where you are not ready, one of those readiness factors. You are not ready to fully bite off a full-time integrator counterpart. What are your other options?

There are some companies and individuals that have raised their hand and started working in a fractional mode meaning that, “I am your integrator one day a week,” or something like that. It is no different than you do other fractional function in the company.

There have been some folks that have had a lot of success with this and felt good about it. Some of those relationships have grown overtime into permanent relationships.

The thing that I see is on the minimum side at least, if you have somebody who is an effective integrator even if they are not full-time, it’s probably better than none.

That is actually what I’m looking for is that fractional integrator.

The trap we fall into before that is as visionary, you will kid yourself. You will say, “I’m both. I’ve got to be both for now. That’s where I am at.” The reality is you are probably not doing one of those things very well.

You are probably doing both of them average at best.

You are gravitating towards the one that you are naturally wired for you and enjoy most. You are doing a better job at that and you are defaulting to go there first because it is more fun. You are neglecting the other one.

You get somebody who is good at it and dedicated to focus on it. All of a sudden you start to see, “I was missing that.” It starts to have not a giant impact but a noticeable impact. Then the prospect of that going away all of a sudden becomes very unpalatable for you.

“I would not want to go back there,” and it grows whenever the time is right, the relationship grows. Whether it is the same person or somebody else and you are able to bring in that full-time person down the road. That’s one observation that is new and growing.

The other one is weird. When we put the book out, we set up a way for a community to begin to form around the ideas in the book. It was cool to see the people that raised their hand and said, “Now I know what I am.”

The visionaries, they knew what they were. The integrators, they did not realize that there was a role like this that existed and they started to identify with it. That was cool to see.

We would see things on LinkedIn where people would start to change their headline from COO, general manager whatever to literally say integrator.

LinkedIn and other places?

Yeah, on their LinkedIn profile. I saw a company, it started with an email from a job applicant. He emailed, “I was applying for this job. They made me go take this assessment, which was the visionary-integrator assessment and they are hiring for this integrator position.”

BWB Mark | Visionaries And Integrators

Visionaries And Integrators: Having an effective integrator, even if they are not full time, is better than none.


The position that they were hiring for it was all straight out of a book. It was interesting to see that they had followed the process. Here’s somebody that was getting fed into it. We are starting to see these communities form.

It’s communities of integrators and visionary-integrator pairs. Some of that is happening online and they are talking about, “Did you run into this? This works. What do you when that happens?” They swap in stories. That’s new.

We have experimented with a live event where we get, at this point it’s integrators, in a room together and the whole idea behind that is our purpose. Overall, we are trying to create the most powerful visionary-integrator duos on the planet.

To make that happen, we have got to get good at helping to identify and create great integrators. If that’s a scarce resource, then we’ve got to call them out of the woodwork and we have got to give them the tools they need to go pair up with these visionaries and make stuff happen.

We have started this thing. We are calling it an Integrator Mastery Forum, where the integrators come together for this intensive day and we walk them through the process of, “Here are the tools, here is the skill, all of the things that you need to be great.”

We wrap the end of it with basically an issue-solving session where we put all these real-world situations up on the board that they are facing, thinking about, concerned about and walk them through and crunch them through it.

The sharing that happens in that environment is amazing, it is powerful because you see somebody else having an issue and you’re like, “That could have been mine.” They not only benefit from the learning from each other, but they have this a-ha they tell us that, “Now, there’s a place for me.”

All of a sudden, they are not alone in the world, “There are people out there like me, we can be great and we can go out there and make a huge difference in the entrepreneurial world.”

That’s one of the things I also love about different types of personality profiles because it does make you feel some are better than others, but some of them make you feel, “Finally, this makes sense. I’m not broken. There are other people like me, this is what other people learn.”

When you see other people like you have a degree of success, it’s a lot easier to model that success because it is based upon you. Like for instance, one of the personality-typing things that I like has been Roger Hamilton’s Wealth Dynamics. Have you heard of that?

I have not.

Where the integrator fits in, he would like this. When I read Rocket Fuel, I was almost like this took two of the biggest pieces of this pie and put them together. To take this rabbit trail and if you go, you can find the various stuff.

He says instead of doing a personality profile like, “You are a quick start.” You are asking the others and telling you about you. He says you fit into one of eight different wealth profiles, like an entrepreneurial wealth profile. One of them is what he calls the creator who is the visionary.

He gives you names like it’s the Richard Bransons, it is the Steve Jobs. They have the big ideas. They are not selling themselves but they are the big ideas.

Next to them, there is also the star profile. There is that person who is Oprah Winfreys, the people who make their personalities what they are selling.

Then there’s the mechanic who the one who creates the duplicable system. They are the ones who get in there, they get the stuff done. It is not the same exact thing as the integrator but it’s close. He goes to other ones like deal maker, supporter, a trader, lord and accumulator.

I remember when I read this thing thinking, “I have got pieces of this.” He was saying, “You need to find your mechanic, the one who creates the machine that allows you to do what you are doing.

Don’t think that these mechanics are subordinate people that they are your worker bees. That’s the Ray Krocs of the world.” They’re the ones who see a better way to do it and then they implement the crazy ideas of Steve Jobs and Richard Branson and everybody.

I love the concept of the fractional integrator. l know when I want something done, I could go out and hire an agency.

I could go out and hire somebody who has got skills like outsourcing and out-tasking what I need. That is different from a fractional integrator, isn’t it? It may be a step on the way.

We have seen fractional CFOs and fractional marketing execs and that stuff has been coming along for a while. I would think of it similar to that. In some cases, it’s a permanent part-time relationship.

The companies that we spend the most time working with are growing pretty fast. They are on that ramp for between 10 to 250 people. A lot of those, the relationship naturally grows as the business grows, so they need more integrator than somebody can provide in one or two days a week.

They get to more of a full-time relationship over time. Another thing that the fractional relationship cracks open is I see a number of those folks that are geographically disconnected. They are not necessarily living in your market.

If that is the scarce resource that we are trying to solve for, if you can relax geographic constraint, all of a sudden it opens your range of possibilities. If you do that, there’s still some disciplined work that you have to do.

We talked about the five rules and the five tools in the book, but particularly with those five rules about how you work together.

We are naturally drawn towards folks that are very much like us and think like us. Click To Tweet

You still have to spend the time, the visionary and integrator working together to make sure that you are respecting relationship and the structure and you are communicating in a way that will maximize that relationship.

If you don’t, think of it because of how different they are naturally wired, they are going to butt heads and the thing will blow up. It will not work.

That’s where I was saying is the difference. I know that it in the article that you had written, the blog post, I found it on Google about fractional integrators. You say it is important that they adhere to the five tools and the five rules.

If you can find that, if it’s an agency, a contract, an outsource or if it’s somebody, it’s a step up from there. They do not have to be your full-time employee necessarily, but they have to be on the same pages as you and where you are going.

It is not something that you would want to turn over. You want some consistency there. You are going to need it because you are building a relationship. Think about when we bring in a full-time integrator, the expectation that we want to set with everybody is it’s going to be a journey.

You are signing up for a journey and it’s going to automatically flip the switch the day they show up and change your world to be the dream world that you want it to be. It’s going to take work by both of you and the organization to get there.

The expectation that we anchor in is, “Take twelve months from now, you are going to be able to feel it. It’s going to be different but between here and there, you are going to be investing a lot of time and energy doing the things you need to do to lay the ground work to make that possible.”

I keep that stuff in mind. I am having these little epiphanies as we are talking. It does take that mindset of you are not just hiring somebody. In a way, it’s a marriage.

I have one client that talks about their integrator as the business spouse.

That’s a good segue to this next question and it’s also by Matt Galant who asked the other one which was talking about simply hiring instead of partnering or marrying good operation and project manager, integrators.

He actually said, “Can you simply hire, instead of partnering good operations and project managers that have the integrator qualities?”

I want to clarify that question as well, which is how often have you seen the necessity for partnering and giving equity for an integrator and operator, especially if you are not doing a startup together? If you have already got the business going, you want to bring somebody on.

The integrator feels much more of a partner. Do you think it’s still very successful to bring them as an employee first?

I’m glad you clarified what we mean by partner there. If we isolate that equity question, the one answer is there is no set pattern. We see all different kinds of top models that have some different mix, from 0% to 100% of fix comp, variable comp and equity.

That said, I would tell you in general it’s roughly a third across our experience sample, where I see some level of equity involved. It’s certainly not a requirement. It has to do with a whole lot of different considerations.

What is the difference between profit share and equity as well?

I don’t consider profit sharing equity. I would consider profit sharing more of a bonus variable comp, kind of a lever.

That’s a great way to get it going until the integrator can either buy their way in, earn their way in, invest or whatever.

It’s important to have deep conversations about why they want what they want, and what do they want because a lot of times people assume somebody wants equity when they don’t care.

They want stability a lot of times.

They want the benefits. Are they driven by the financial impact or are they driven by control or the idea of what is ownership?

It’s important that they have a good understanding of each other and don’t assume that this guy across the table from me is thinking the same thing I’m thinking because they probably aren’t.

As you are talking, I’m flipping through the book here on the Kindle and looking to some of my highlights. This is actually from my readers, but it’s a great thing to do if you are potentially looking for a job, looking for a client or looking to utilize this.

You did an amazing job of listing out the hope for the visionary but as well as the integrator. Here is what you do and here is what you are.

It says in a more simplified manner, a great integrator creates the following results in an organization, clarity, communication, resolution, focus, accountability, team unity, prioritization, execution, etc.

BWB Mark | Visionaries And Integrators

Visionaries And Integrators: The visionary and integrator work together to make sure that you are respecting relationship and the structure.


Here is what you are personally accountable, adoptive self-management, decisive, good leader, goal achiever, etc., and there are ten more of those. If I was putting out my resume or doing a proposal or trying to partner up with somebody, I would go to through those like a checklist and create that.

If I’m talking to a visionary and you say those words, as a result of working with me, you will achieve more clarity, better communication, stronger resolution, greater focus and accountability with the team.

I am an adaptable goal achiever, problem solver who is effective in solving conflicts and project management.

I’m like, “Take my money and work for me now.” That is powerful as people are reading the book. Is there an online quiz or an assessment that they can take as well?

They have assessments in the book but if they go to, we have an online version of the assessment that they can take.

There are only fifteen to twenty questions, it’s not bad.

There are two assessments. There is one for visionary, one for the integrator. You can get an indicator score from each perspective and think about that. Someone can be highly developed on the visionary side and we would expect them to not be very highly developed maybe on the integrator side.

The combinations of those scores, they are all over the place. We have some people who are pretty in both. We talk in the book about some people ask, “Am I both or can I be both?” The answer is rarely.

You can have a degree and you have to have a degree of, “I’m a super strong visionary and I have got a degree of integrator because I have to execute, otherwise I would be a failed entrepreneur.” I’m definitely not both.

A lot of times those capabilities are born of necessity. You’ve got good at that because you had to. It does not mean you love it.

I read through the visionary stuff. As a visionary, you are the entrepreneurial spark plug, inspirer, passion provider, big problem solver, closer of big deals, learner, vision creator. You see the big picture, lots of ideas, strategic thinking, excitement with people, connect the dots.

As I’m reading that, “Spot on.” I love how you said here’s what you aren’t and there were a few things. What was cool about that is you basically said it’s your fault, “This is not you.” This was cathartic to hear and there is only a handful of them but, “Staying focused, you get bored easily,” check.

“Too many ideas,” I get jealous of people who have one good idea and stick with it. “Whiplash,” which is changing directions too quick.

Whiplash is the organization’s response to you. You look left, the whole organization looks left. Then where you go, you immediately look back to the right, so now the whole organization is trying to track with you back to the right.

About the time they get there, you are looking back left again. The organization is going, “Please give us a break.”

“In many cases this is some level of ADD. This is actually a gift because it provokes so many ideas, but on the bad side, you are unable to pay attention to someone speaking to you unless they make their point in under 30 seconds.” That is also true.

“Sweating the details,” check. “Developing talent,” this was also probably one of the biggest things that hit me where it says, “You don’t need to lever the capability of others, so it is not surprising that you have spent little time thinking about how to develop resources.”

“Your gift is actually telling other people what to do, so you naturally order young high potential talented leaders around and end up running them off instead of developing them.”

Here’s why that was so powerful for me because I know I am absolutely cognizant of the importance of team building, the importance of surrounding yourself with people who can do what you can’t of doing all of this, and yet I have not been good at it.

It has been difficult. It takes so much discipline. This is the hardest part about Rocket Fuel for me by the way, is how structured it is. I almost need to hire an integrator to help me do the Rocket Fuel stuff.

The hard part you got to do is the self-discovery, which you’re already taking about. You’re acknowledging those things and understanding about yourself, that’s the step one.

That hard-introspective work that you got to do to get clear on, “A) Somebody could help me, I would be better with somebody. B) Here is where I’m at so here is what I need,” and then reaching out in the world and finding who that person is. From there, they can begin to take it and run with it.

My career has evolved as an entrepreneur and I have done a lot of things, either myself or with very small almost like commercenary. I like that trademark.

As I have done that, I have realized in order to get to the next level in my business it has to be developing talent like you said. I’m very good at developing relationships but so far, I have not yet been good at developing talent.

I’m talking to you because it is important and I wanted to reach out and have you on the show so that we could discuss this and also give some other people hope that you are not broken. There is a rhyme and reason to what you are doing and what you are not doing.

A lot of our capabilities are born of necessity. Click To Tweet

Your book explains it amazingly well. When you are working with clients, let’s talk about you and your business. You told me a little bit of this, but you wrote the book. You consult, you do workshops, you work with big companies. How do you make money?

I have a private practice where I implement EOS, which is the Entrepreneurial Operating System with companies who get in that same stage of growth.

There are 10 to 250 people, they are entrepreneurial businesses and they are trying to get a handle on their company to get it to what they wanted to do when they started it in the first place.

That’s my day job if you will. On the Rocket Fuel side, we are trying to help as many folks as we can create this combination so that they can not only get their company to do what they wanted to, but experience that entrepreneurial freedom that we talked.

We are developing the offering. Over the years, we have lots of conversations with folks after the book came out and try to figure out what the most important things that we can do to help, so I started doing this weekly video series.

There is content out there that we try to answer the biggest questions that we are seeing that we think can help the most folks. The next thing that we are doing is this Integrator Mastery Forum event. Those are limited attendance, intensive workshops targeted for the integrators.

Somebody who wants to be a great integrator can come and learn how to be great and get plugged into the community of people that can help them begin to master their craft.

The next wave after that is a little more formal membership community where we have different knowledge opportunities. The opportunities to interact directly with me and get questions answered and get a continuous flow of information along this path of how to make their combination great.

That is directed at both visionaries and integrators. When you sit back and you think about what we got to do to make this happen and make those powerful combinations happen.

The first step is we call it crystalize. We got to get people to crystalize their thinking, which is become aware of this concept and reach a decision point that says, “That’s right for me, that would work for me in my business.”

Second step is we’ve got to help them get connected. Finding each other, getting matched up with the right person so they have a strong combination to work with in the beginning. Third phase is maximize. That’s those five rules and five tools that you referred to earlier.

That’s the structure, that’s what get us to take that natural friction between the two and get them to blend at into something powerful and strong.

You do work with companies. If people want to hire you for consulting for their business, do you come to their offices, do you work with their teams, do you do that?

I don’t do that. My clients come to my studio in Dallas. That work is pretty focused on implementing EOS.

The visionary-integrator offerings are more focused on these events and getting people into the community so that we can early expand that conversation and make sure that we are providing great integrators to the world.

Preparing great integrators for the world and then get them match with these visionaries so we can go make these entrepreneurial companies change the world and make it a better place.

I’ve got an idea for your forum. Whatever you charge the integrators to go to that, I could see letting the visionaries come charging them ten times that and having them wait outside.

I want any pool of those guys, gobble them up because you are right. It’s a rare commodity, it’s a very high demand.

My suggestion to anybody reading is if you know you are an integrator and the executor and sometimes you don’t have all the biggest brightest ideas, but if somebody does, you’re able and get it done, know that, own your value.

The world is your oyster. There are many people who have great ideas and an idea is worthless without somebody to execute it. The other thing I found is that I’m good at having an idea and executing it in the beginning and most visionaries are.

My wife and I had the idea for Within three months of having the idea, we have a fully functional business. We both went into creative overdrive and get it, “Let’s go, full bore.”

We’re at that stage, it is startup but it’s growth and things are there. You’ve got to keep feeding the fire and that’s where I’m not as good at. It’s not that creative spark. To the integrators out there, understand that’s where the biggest values comes.

They build the machine that allows them to repeat and keep going and keep growing and the let visionary get back into that space that they are designed to be in.

Remember the Flintstones and the car that gets going with the foot power. You see Fred’s little feet going on under there. That’s me. I will get the big car with the stone wheels and I will move my feet and do whatever it takes to get it moving.

At some point, I want somebody as this is moving to get in there and build me an engine as we go. I know this, but I did not ask you. Are you a visionary or an integrator?

BWB Mark | Visionaries And Integrators

Visionaries And Integrators: To crystallize people’s thinking is to get them totally aware of a concept and reach a decision point that is right for them.


I am a high visionary.

That’s what I thought. I saw that. Do you have your own personal integrator working with you?

I do. In my past, I have one as well and I did not know at the time that they were an integrator. That’s exactly how I built my organization. Now, it all makes sense for me.

Look at what happens when I follow own advice. That’s awesome. Are there any nuts you are trying to crack? Any big projects you are working on, things that either myself, my readers might be able to help you whether it’s an introduction, whether it’s a certain client, whether it’s resources?

I come back to that to help us find integrators. That’s my call to the world is, “Integrators, raise your hand.” Send Brad an email, come to Rocket Fuel Now and get plugged in with us. We want to find you. You guys are extremely valuable and scarce and you need to know it.

How is it you have been going about finding them?

It’s literally been organics.

Read the book, people will go.

The book has been out and we are pleased with how it’s been taken up. It’s growing. It was cool when we launched the book, like in that first week, in one day I was having a conversation with somebody in Australia and somebody else in South Africa and somebody else in England.

It’s like these pockets globally where you got these entrepreneurial hotbeds. It’s the topic that comes up, “How do I get past this back to what I wanted?” It’s a natural conversation that comes up. We’ve got to find these integrators.

Have you done any paid advertising, especially on Facebook? I don’t know everything you have done.

This is where your digital marketing expertise I’m sure could benefit me greatly. I know enough about that world to be dangerous and misguided I’m sure. It’s interesting to me because I know there is leverage there and I can reach farther faster.

Where there are ways to do that, I’m very open to hear more or learn more. It’s not something that I know and understand well yet.

This might be something fun to connect with offline. Immediately, this is my visionary, I start to have ideas if I were doing this like how I would try to find those people, the fact that you have already got the assessment you have made available on Rocket Fuel Now.

One of the things off hand is I notice that I have to take the visionary assessment or take the integrator assessment as opposed to one assessment that tells me which one I am. If I took that visionary, is it going to give me score like how strong of a visionary am I?

It’s going to give you a score on a hundred-point scale.

This is off the top my head. The first thing I would do is create one right before that. It would probably be a much shorter one. It could probably like five to ten questions to identify a visionary versus an integrator.

Find out which one you are. Make sure because I can see a lot of frustrated integrators especially, feeling as though they need to be the visionary.

Having that frustration, “I don’t quite have the ideas or not, this that or the other,” it could be one of these epiphanies you give them, “Because you are not a visionary.” The good news is you are as valuable as a visionary.

By giving somebody that epiphany that, “I’m as valuable as these other people that I’m either trying to be or support or whatever, I’m doing it in a different way.” I found that in marketing when you can give a client or a prospective client an epiphany like that, it’s so powerful.

You’ve got to take the assessment to discover your unique strength and grow. I will put some pen to paper, I will see if I can come up with any cool ideas for you because I absolutely love what you are doing.

Developing a pool of integrators will allow the visionaries of this country, this world to have so much more success. It’s one of the things that will drive our economy forward even in hard times.

If you are interested, I host a mastermind every four months, called the Boardroom Mastermind with my partner in there, Kent, who I mentioned before. We live out here in San Diego.

I can send you more information about it if you’re ever open to getting out of Texas and come in to San Diego, I guarantee you. If people want to get a hold of you, it’s Is there anything else you would like to give them?

That’s the main thing, come to and that’s the doorway into all that stuff. If anybody wants to try to get a hold of me, probably the best way is LinkedIn, Mark C. Winters or on Twitter @MarkCWinters and that’s probably all the handles they need.

Mark, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this. This has been a real treat for me getting to talk to you about this. It’s a topic that I know is a hot one.

I expect it to be a highly downloaded episode and I know a lot of my friends when I told them I was interviewing you. We’re excited to hear it.

Thanks for having me on. It’s been an absolute blast for me.

To our audience, if you are enjoying it, send me an email and let me know if you are an integrator, if you are a visionary. I have a couple of growing businesses that I am running and I’m always looking for people who can execute.

If you have been an entrepreneur, especially if you’ve got any digital marketing experience or whatsoever and you have got the inkling to potentially work with me, partner with me, help execute some of these ideas and be a strategic partner with me.

I guarantee there are a lot of doors I can open for you, a lot of fun we can have. Send me an email to If you got a resume, send it. If you’ve got some ideas or want to talk to me, do that.

By all means pick up the book, Rocket Fuel. Grab it on Amazon, go to Rocket Fuel Now, and pay attention to what Mark’s doing because you are going to continue to hear a lot more from him in the future. Mark, I appreciate you. I will see you on the next episode.

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About The Guest: Mark C Winters

BWB Mark | Visionaries And Integrators

Mark C. Winters is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of entrepreneurial leadership experience. His companies have ranged from raw startups originally drawn up on a napkin, to multi-billion dollar global enterprises such as Procter & Gamble and British Petroleum. This diverse background enables him to identify and apply patterns of success for virtually any business scenario.

Mark's passion is helping entrepreneurs get what they want from their business. As a Certified EOS Implementer, he's actively engaged in helping other entrepreneurs implement EOS® in their own companies. His ability to connect and guide CEO's to achieve their desired results is highly respected. Mark is known for pursuing business opportunities related to technology and systems that enable the optimization of human/athletic performance, with a special interest in pattern recognition and scoring methodologies.

Mark has been an entrepreneur since the age of 28, after catching the “bug” during B-school at the University of Chicago. At last count, he's started, bought, shut down, or sold 9 different companies. One of his ventures as a Founder and CEO had a very successful exit – yielding a 100x cash return in less than 36 months. All this activity has led to some recognition, including being named a Tech Titan finalist as an emerging company CEO, and identified as “40 Under Forty” by the Business Journal in both Milwaukee and Dallas. Vistage International recognized his CEO peer group chairing with their Rookie of the Year award, and their Chair Excellence distinction. Mark is also a long-time member of EO (Entrepreneurs Organization), having served for multiple terms on the Dallas Chapter Board.

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