A few years ago, you could throw a job opportunity out into the world and only get a handful of responses. But in recent years, following the Great Resignation, job boards look very different. There is now an unprecedented movement across every industry, as people shift into different roles, different levels, and different organizations.

It’s evident that people everywhere are taking stock of where they are and what they want to do. More than ever, they are determined to only accept opportunities that are the fit for them. 

With their eyes wide open to new possibilities, people are swinging for the fences.

According to Sharon Means, Fractional Integrator / COO for companies running on EOS, this momentum presents a great chance for leaders.  

“There are a good amount of candidates coming in,” Means explained, “so you want to try to fill your accountability chart with the right people, of course, but you also want to make sure that they’re in the right seat.”

The trouble lies in determining what those right seats are. In most companies, becoming a part of the leadership team is seen as a shiny gold star. Everybody wants to be on it– until they are

Being a part of the leadership team is a lot of work, and often managers are added simply because they manage other employees in the company. But that’s not a good enough reason to have a seat on the leadership team. As a member of the leadership team, it’s no longer enough to simply attend meetings. Now that manager needs to participate, and that is when it starts to become clear that they’re in the wrong seat. 

Now is the right time to propel your business forward by auditing your accountability chart, making the appropriate changes, and bulking up the talent within your organization in ways you never could before.

Where To Begin: Accountability Charts

While someone may be in the wrong seat as part of the leadership team that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not the right person. They may still be not good at what they do or a valuable manager. Their role is still great. But simply they don’t belong on the leadership team.

Your first step is to audit your accountability chart for opportunities to: 

  1. Move someone to a different seatparticularly if they want the seat and have the capacity to do the work. 

When someone is in the wrong seat, the right move doesn’t have to be out the door. By making an internal move to a seat that better suits their skill set, you might be able to circumvent any growing dissatisfaction within the company. And it’s the best way to keep valuable employees from leaving the company entirely. 

The goal here is to make sure that you’re utilizing everyone to their best abilities and skill sets. If a big-picture thinker has been placed in a detail-oriented position, they’re being set up for failure– all while they would be exceptionally helpful in another seat. In this example, it might be a good idea to move them to a higher level and out of the input clerical position they’ve been struggling in. 

To identify the wrong seats, Means recommends trying a “Delegate and Elevate” exercise with your employees. 

  • Replace someone with a new hire. 

Don’t worry. If you can’t find anyone internally to fit the seat, the current job market makes it a great time for hiring new employees. There’s never been a better time to go out and find somebody that otherwise wouldn’t have been available or looking for new opportunities such as you have to offer.

  • Help someone see that it may be time to find an opportunity in another organization. 

Once again, the good news is that there are a lot of opportunities right now. People are looking to hire, so if things haven’t worked out for them with your company, you can rest easy, knowing they won’t be left high and dry.

Whatever the situation, now is the perfect time to get the people you’ve been looking for, make changes that will move the needle, and help your organization grow.

Right Person, Right Seat: The 4-Step Assessment Process

A big part of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) that growth-minded CEOs rely on is having a process that can be replicated. Assessment is one you’ll want to be able to do again and again.

  • Evaluate your org chart (or create one.)

Underneath each person on the org chart, write down the 3-5 most important things they do in their role. This step is very telling. You’ll quickly figure out if one person is carrying the majority of the load for the company. 

  • Balance your org chart against your accountability chart.

Figure out how everyone is being held accountable. To who, and for what? What does that look like? What does that mean? What metrics might you use to make sure that it’s getting done? This step should prompt an in-depth discussion of each person’s accountability. 

  • Revamp your chart as you assess. 

Decide if each person is the right person and in the right seat. Do they need to be moved? Do their seats need new talent? Figure out what you would want in a new hire. It might be a business development person you never thought you could get or would be available. Add that criteria to your accountability chart.

  • Create a roadmap.

Perhaps, you want to give someone 90 days. Plan to meet with them and tell them exactly what you need from them before they’re pushed off to a different department or a different role. Give them a finite number of times, so that they feel like they were given an opportunity to either stay in their current role or move elsewhere in the company. 

“It’s honestly magical,” Means said. “When you try to work with somebody for 90 days, they usually figure out how to improve or they will move on, on their own, because they realize for themselves that it isn’t a good fit. And I think it’s being kind to them– letting them know it’s better for them somewhere else.”

One Hat, One Seat

Business owners who are “doing it all” sometimes fall into the trap of thinking no one else can do better. If when you started out as an entrepreneur, you wanted to wear all the hats, you’re not alone. But over the years, you’ve likely realized that that is unsustainable. At some point, you have to decide on the best use of your time for propelling the company forward.

“In the accountability chart, you can’t have two seats,” Means explained. “So you’re at your best use if you have the one hat.”  Historically, companies outsource accounting and legal pretty easily. They could learn accounting, but often they don’t want to, so they outsource it. Things like operations, customer service, sales, and marketing are all harder ones to let go of.

A lot of times leaders still wearing the marketing hat find it to be the hardest one to let go. Professional marketing costs money, they think, but without considering the costs of continually trying to figure it out themselves. 

But people with true expertise can get the job done better and more quickly than you can. Just think: If I brought in somebody who actually knew about marketing, how much more could I accomplish?

It’s a truth that successful CEOs know: It’s inefficient to try to DIY when you can outsource to someone already experienced in what you’re trying to learn. 

The Makings Of An Integrator

According to Means, integrators are “the people that get stuff done.” After the visionary comes up with a lofty goal or an idea to pursue, they hand it off to the integrator to fare out:

  • how it needs to be done
  • who’s going to do what
  • who really is responsible for what 

Then it’s the integrator’s job to make sure that people are held accountable for getting the things done that are in the best interest of the company.

What are an EOS integrator’s responsibilities?

The EOS integrator’s responsibilities include:

  • working with the leadership team
  • managing the meetings
  • holding team members accountable for getting things done
  • leading weekly meetings with the leadership team 
  • discussing the teams’ goals, Rocks, and if we’ve gotten our to-dos done for the previous week
  • go over any issues that have come up, during the week that we need to address at the leadership.

According to Means, trying to tell full-time leadership team members what to do as a fractional integrator often presents “a good challenge.” 

An integrator can overcome this challenge by working with people one-on-one from the onset via weekly, biweekly, and monthly meetings. Means said that she meets with everyone on the leadership team, asking each one how she can help or assist them. According to her, a collaborative approach will always bring more success than barking orders or holding people’s feet to the fire.

If a task isn’t getting completed or a goal isn’t being met, poor integrators will say: “You should have this done already. Why didn’t you?” But Means says that approach is likely to bring resistance, making every part of her job harder.  

Instead, she finds it’s better to lead with questions that build trust, like:

  • How can we help you get it done?
  • What do you need from us? 
  • What resources might help you get this done?

The goal of accountability is not to browbeat people into submission. It’s to give everyone on your team the tools they need to complete the tasks they are held accountable for. When you do that, organizations often find they get to a place where leadership meetings are both candid and fluid, prompting open discourse (with people agreeing and NOT agreeing), but always ending with a good resolution.


Who can be an EOS integrator?

“EOS integration is not a revolutionary idea,” Means said. “People have been integrators for decades without knowing that they were an integrator. They’re just the CEOs of the company that know how to get things done and hold people accountable.” 

She recommends first looking within your company for an integrator. You may find you already have someone in your organization who understands the system and likes holding people accountable. The fact that they already know your business is a great bonus.

Means’ advice? “If you DO pick someone internally to become the integrator, be sure they actually want to do it or have the capacity to do it. Otherwise, they’re not going to be able to get you the full benefit of EOS implementation.” And then – if you don’t have anyone in the company that fits that bill – your next step is to look outside the organization for a fractional integrator.

The Importance of Cultural Fit

When adding to the leadership team, proper personality meshing rises significantly in importance. You want to be certain that they’re someone you’re comfortable with and someone you trust. For that reason, it’s a good idea to use a culture index as a part of the evaluation process. A culture index can help you figure out the best use for a person and whether they would fit into that role. 

To begin pre-emptively checking for cultural fit, your company must have established its core values. You’ll want to let candidates know upfront how important those values are to your organization, as well as the ways in which you hold yourself accountable to those values. In the interview process, you can list out the core values and ask, “Can you give me an example of how you think maybe you’ve accomplished this core value in a prior experience you’ve had?”

Remember that the interview process is not just a chance to make sure they’re the right fit for the company, it’s also a chance to find out if the company is a right fit for them. If they don’t agree with the core values, they’ll be able to recognize that and find themselves another opportunity at a different company.

Same Page: Where Integrator Meets Visionary

One of the primary things the integrator does is work with the visionary. The integrator and visionary of an organization should participate in “same page” meetings – either weekly or monthly, depending on the cadence that the visionary wants. 

The purpose of the meetings is to ensure candid discussions between the integrator and visionary and give the visionary a safe place to vent frustrations and bounce ideas off of someone. 

While the visionary is busy coming up with ideas, the integrator brings a sense of reality, telling the visionary what they see and ensuring they lead team meetings from the same page and by doing what is best for the firm. 

“Sometimes a visionary will come in and say, ‘We should implement Salesforce this quarter. Let’s do it,’” Means said. “And it’s my job, as the integrator, to say, ‘Well, that’s a nice idea, but we already have all these other things that we want to do. Maybe we could park it in long-term issues. And then when we come up for our quarterly meeting, maybe that’s something we want to do.’”

The visionary often doesn’t get those same kinds of reality checks from the leadership team, who want to please their boss and don’t feel empowered to disagree. The integrator, on the other hand, can say, “Hey, just put up a flag. Let’s talk this out. Is this really something we need to do this quarter? Or is it really something that we could kind of wait on?” 

These kinds of reality checks are essential to keeping the train on track and the business moving full-steam ahead. 

How To Know When It’s Time To Go Fractional

In Means’ experience, it’s typically the visionary business owner who brings in an integrator– but it’s usually only after trying to hold both seats for far too long. 

“If the company’s run by a visionary, who’s also trying to play the integrator role, then that company should first think about hiring fractionally– and full-time second,” Means said. “I’m a firm believer in that walk before you run, as you’re, especially as you’re offloading leadership level duties within the organization.” 

Finally, they’ve realized that their best service is as a visionary. They recognize and understand that the responsibilities of an integrator are contradictory to the attributes of a visionary. In meetings, people typically want to please the visionary CEO, so they’ll just go along with anything they propose– just because they think they should. Before long, the visionary realizes they’re not getting the traction they would like to.

But the whole point of the leadership team is making decisions. Decision-making should not always come from the visionary and their point of view. It should come from the leaders on the leadership team. When they’re paying money for someone’s expertise, it’s important for CEOs to make sure that they’re actually utilizing them and asking for their opinions.

“People are finding out that they need fractional people and people are becoming fractional. And I think that’s a win-win,” Means said. 

Fortunately, fractional hires are not a long-term commitment. It doesn’t have to be 5-10 years. But if you’re looking to go fractionally, you want to make sure that that person is somebody that has the same kind of work ethic and style.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to look at:

  • things that they’ve done in the past,
  • the roles that they’ve had
  • how in line they are with your core values and your beliefs
  • how well that person’s going to work with your visionary
  • how willing the visionary will be to listen to them

Bring them in for a meeting, where they can sit back and take some notes on how your leadership team is working. The next time, maybe let them lead, just to see how things would go. Make sure you feel comfortable with them, and then find someone who can get it done in a fraction of the time– all while you do what you do best. 

This article was produced from the interview with Sharon Means featured on Episode #5  of the “Fractional C-Suite Retreat” podcast, a yorCMO podcast hosted by Joseph Frost, yorCMO co-founder, speaker and founder of The Fractional Professionals Association.


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