Rocket Fuel

Author: Gino Wickman and Mark C.Winters

Published: 2015

Milly Read: March 2022

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. To achieve maximum success in your company, you need two roles at the top – a ‘visionary’ and an ‘integrator’. This book helps you understand how to structure a company, how to delegate, what roles to take on and how to find the right integrator for a business.
  2. A visionary has the ideas and dreams and the integrator makes them attainable.
  3. Many examples are given of companies who have achieved $2-$50 million in revenue after implementing these two new roles e.g. Walt and Disney and Henry Ford and James Couzens at Ford.

🎨 Impressions

I really enjoyed reading this book! It discusses two types of entrepreneurs that need to work together in order for a business to succeed – visionary and integrator. I found it really enjoyable learning about the different types. The amount of times I wrote ‘yes, omg this is me’ in my book as I was reading it. There is also a test in the book which you can do to establish what entrepreneur you are – I can confirm I’m a visionary.

I absolutely loved learning how to structure the company to create maximum efficiency. It has made me excited to do this when I create a business. I will definitely re-read this book again when I’m building my business – it’ll be my bible 😊

I did find that the contents dragged a little in some areas and it was repetitive. However I was still engaged and motivated to finish it!

🔎 Who Should Read This?

The target audience for this book is very clear as you read it – you’re someone who owns a company right now and are struggling and need guidance on how to improve the business holistically.

I found it quite repetitive

Although I am not the target audience as I do not own a company, I still found it very interesting. I want to have my own business in the future so I still found it beneficial. If you also simply like learning about business then this book is for you.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

  • It has helped me identify what type of entrepreneur I am and broadened my knowledge on how to approach company management and infrastructure – very useful applications!

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

  • Visionary “entrepreneurs have an unrealistic optimism. It’s chemical In the brain. They see things others can’t” – Dan Sullivan
  • “One without the other is doomed. Neither one is better than the other”
  • Visionaries are “hunters meaning that you are wired differently than most. You are always in ‘hunting’ mode for ideas, deals, opportunities and solutions to big problems” – John F Dini

📒 Summary + Notes

1. Visionary

Visionary = one who has a (1) clear idea about what should happen or be done in the future (2) has a powerful imagination (3) sees visions

  • A visionary is usually the co-founder and is feeling stuck, frustrated and overwhelmed. However you want to achieve the next level.
  • Only 3% of the population are visionaries
  • Characteristics outlined below but it’s normal to not have them all – 80% above usually.
    • Common roles: big problem solver, manages external relationships, closes big deals, learns, research and discovers, is the company vision creator and champion
    • Common traits: see the big picture, knows the industry and target market, researches and develops new products / services, inspires others, problem solver, company vision, sells and closes big deals, connects the dots
    • Common challenges: : dislike day-to-day management, struggle to communicate your vision well, inconsistency, ego, reluctant to let go, drive is too hard for most people, all foot on gas with no brake, quickly and easily bored, struggle to focus, resists processes, no patience for the details, dysfunctional team, eyes bigger than stomach, and lack of direction.
  • What is getting in the way?
    • A lack of self-awareness in the role and ability.
    • Lack of control
    • Lack of profit
    • People
    • Hitting the ceiling
    • Nothing is working
  • What can be done about this?
    • Establish your strengths and delegate part of your role to a ‘integrator’.
    • Delegation leads to elevation

2. Integrator

Integrator = one who (1) integrates (2) unites the major functions of the business (3) keeps the trains running on time (4) creates focus, accountability and alignment across the team

  • An integrator has all the characteristics and skills to make the visionary’s dreams attainable. They are the ‘glue’ of the company.
  • Characteristics outlined below but it’s normal to not have them all – 80% above usually.
    • Common roles: communication, resolution, focus, realistic, accountability, team unity, manages projects, no barriers, prioritisation, steady force, glue and consistent
    • Common traits: accountable, self-management, decisive, good at planning and organising, strong leader, conflict manager, conceptual thinker, employee, resilient, adaptable, able to understand and evaluate othres
    • Common challenges: the job is thankless, viewed as ‘negative’, having to fire people, lack of recognition, loneliness, frustrating and stressful

Side-by-side comparison:

3. Visionary x Integrator Relationship

There are four ways the V/I relationship can begin:

  1. Co-founders
  2. Existing internal team member becomes. the integrator
  3. They are partners
  4. Integrator is hired from outside – they’re hard to find
  • It’s also hard to find an integrator and visionary that get along well and like each other. There is usually a lot of friction. Visionaries find it hard to let go and trust the integrator.

Does it really take two people?

On the very rare occasion, people can be gifted and be both a visionary and integrator. However, more often people think they are both and actually aren’t.

Visionary – three rules before starting:

  1. Look forward, not backwards. Focus on what you need, not what you have – as if you were starting from scratch.
  2. Detach yourself from existing business, your current role, your ego, emotional thinking and be open-minded.
  3. Elevate yourself above the business – look down on it from that perspective so you can make greater decisions for the longevity of the business.

Visionary x Integrator – rules when working together:

  1. Stay on the same page
  2. No end runs
  3. The integrator is the tie breaker
  4. You’re an employee when working ‘in’ the business
  5. Maintain mutual respect

3. The Accountability Chart

To make the relationship work and company reach the next level, you must structure your organisation in the right way. this chart forces you to be intentional with this.

You can adapt your chart to work for your company as no two accountability charts are the same e.g. operations may be split into delivery, project management and customer service.

  1. The chart stems from a fundamental belief that there are only three major functions in any business: sales / marketing, operations and finance / administration. These cannot operate individually, they all work together and all three must be strong with a talented leader running each section. When more than one person is accountable, nobody is.
  2. The visionary shows up directly above the integrator function. The integrator reports to the visionary. This creates effectiveness and solves many organisational problems.
  3. Next you establish the FIVE roles of each individual – image below. It is important the roles are completely ironed out to avoid any conflict.
  4. Make sure you’re putting the right people in the right seats. Especially those who will be leaders of each main area. The wrong person can be really detrimental to the business.
  5. You do not need any titles – eliminate them. They only create internal confusion.