In EOS® companies, the individual that sits at the top of the accountability chart is known as the Visionary, however, you may be more accustomed to the following titles: Founder, CEO, President, Chairman, etc.
As a consultant who works closely with Visionaries of medium-sized companies, I have identified the three most common personas I interact with. According to Inc. magazine, in this size company, the Visionary needs to focus on process and organization, setting priorities for the company and training employees to meet goals.
In this article, I will cover the three most common Visionary leadership styles as I have come to know them. Additionally, I provide collaboration tips for their second-in-command, the Integrator (more commonly referred to as the Chief Operations Officer). Understanding these individuals has helped navigate my interactions with them both professionally, as well as personally.
The three visionary CEO types are:
The Sales-Focused Visionary
This Visionary is a leader whose main goal is to grow his or her business through sales and marketing activities, as well as networking. This individual has been deemed “most likely to be distracted by shiny objects” - we do mean in this in nicest of ways!
This gregarious, sales-oriented Visionary is like the Energizer Bunny, and may struggle to stay on task at times. She or he is throwing out so many ideas daily, it can be overwhelming, but brilliant at the same time. This individual is also more likely to think before they speak and easily jumps to conclusions and decisions without much forethought.
Here are some other characteristics you may recognize of this Visionary type:
- Lover of peer groups and focus groups
- Enjoys podcasts, blogs and social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook for resource information
- They are always “on”
- Their business is a big part of their life
- Smooth communicator
- Generates ideas fluently
Integrator Tip: Take note when your sales-focused Visionary is in brainstorming mode, throwing out ideas left and right. You never know, you just may find yourself sitting in front of the next James Siminoff, the individual responsible for Ring.
The Strategic Visionary
This leader always wants to know everything, and wants the research and data behind it. The strategic Visionary is convinced that staying up-to-date with industry trends is the way to grow the business. He or she is always looking for new and exciting ways to streamline processes. This individual is likely to be a strategic planner and might benefit from an Integrator who is going to challenge the status quo.
There are drawbacks to this personality type: he or she can often be hard to read. The strategic Visionary may struggle with interpersonal communication and make offhand remarks that others take as put-downs and criticisms. You might find you have to follow after this Visionary with a real or virtual box of chocolates, handing out “candy” to those they may have offended with their remarks. She or he may appear arrogant and superior, so others find it hard to relate with this leader.
Other characteristics of the strategic Visionary:
- An analytical executive who may also be slightly introverted
- Focused on results and shareholder value, sometimes at the expense of most everything else
- Measures success through metrics
- Wants to be the best in his field
- Has a relentless focus and considerable attention to detail
- Very interested in performance management
Integrator Tip: Be patient. As the second-in-command to a strategic Visionary, you may find yourself spending a lot of time making sure that all the “i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.” You may find yourself spending hours the night before a big presentation making sure everything is perfect.
But have patience with your CEO as you would with a nerdy teenager. The attention to detail this individual possesses often pays off, and his or her performance in these presentations is stellar.
The People-Focused Visionary
This Visionary is is known for their servant leadership style as she or he is concerned with people and the culture. The people-focused Visionary leads the company’s social responsibility philosophy both in words and action.
The goals of the people-focused Visionary are to make a significant difference internally, as well as making his or her company stand out and be great through social responsibility efforts.
Because people often consider this Visionary type a “bleeding heart,” this servant leader may find it difficult to hold people accountable. She or he may struggle with closing difficult and complex sales because of failure to add the “wow” factor. The people-focused Visionary believes so profoundly in their company that they expect others to match their enthusiasm and follow their lead.
You may recognize some of the following characteristics in people-focused Visionaries:
- Personable and easy to relate to
- An excellent communicator
- Gives employees that “warm and fuzzy” feeling with lots of praise
- Has strong, upright values
- Has a positive, fundamental belief in people
Integrator Tip: While working alongside this servant leader you must be comfortable holding those across the organization accountable in a fair and measured way as this will not be your counterparts strong suit. Make sure you have the right people in the right seats that get the role, want to do the job, and have the capacity to do the duties of the position.