Bridging the Gap Between Visionaries and Integrators

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Clayton Stenson, Founder, The Unity Guide shares the challenges he sees that visionaries and integrators in EOS-based companies must overcome to be a powerful team.

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Clayton Stenson, Founder, The Unity Guide shares the challenges he sees that visionaries and integrators in EOS-based companies must overcome to be a powerful team.

Clayton’s work is pivotal for businesses stuck in a loop of frustration and inefficiency due to misalignment between their visionary and integrator roles. He provides practical solutions for those struggling to merge their divergent viewpoints into a unified, productive force. Clayton shares his strategies and the principles of his unique

“Unity Rock Program,” which he uses to help clients overcome these challenges and reach new levels of success.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

With 15+ years of experience working alongside visionaries and integrators, coupled with his pastoral background, Clayton has developed a nuanced understanding of the delicate dynamics between visionary business owners and their integrators. He specializes in guiding faith-driven construction and trades companies, helping them transform their vision into reality.

As a dedicated family man and a person of faith, Clayton brings a unique perspective to the business world, emphasizing the importance of balance, intentionality, and purpose in both professional and personal spheres. His approach is a beacon for business owners seeking to cultivate both a thriving business and a fulfilling life.
Damon is pleased to have Clayton on his livestream. He invites the guest to share his background.

Clayton reveals his unexpected journey into the world of visionaries and integrators, beginning with his upbringing on a farm spanning five generations. Despite the unlikely background, Clayton worked with a visionary for the first time while on staff at his church.

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

Acknowledging the challenges of collaborating with someone so different from him, the EOS guru describes the contrasting traits of visionaries—often founders with strengths in sales and creativity—and integrators who excel in details, processes, and management.

Clayton details his frustration by reflecting on his initial struggles working without an integrator type on the team. Despite his love for the mission, he realized the importance of addressing the lack of order in the organization. Over seven years, Clayton transformed the chaos into a more structured environment.

Damon inquires about Clayton’s early experiences working with a visionary, asking him to share the specific challenges that drove him to frustration during the initial stages of his position.

Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.

The guest recounts the early challenges of working with a visionary, which included the absence of clear instructions, job descriptions, and processes, “to be honest.” He describes the daunting task of creating everything from scratch, which can be particularly challenging for individuals who are not self-starters.

Moreover, Clayton discusses the inherently challenging traits of visionaries—being busy, tough to corral, and often unaware of others’ feelings due to their intense focus and drive.

“So when did you first hear about EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System)?” asks Damon.

The EOS wizard reveals that he worked as an estimator for three years, promoted by the visionary who disliked spreadsheets. Although Clayton lacked experience in estimating and commercial construction, he embraced the challenge and built systems. During this time, the visionary spoke to Clayton about “Traction” and shared his attempts to implement it in the business, along with his frustrations.

Feeling compelled to address the issues, Clayton compiled a list of complaints and proposed solutions. He presented this to the visionary, who, impressed with Clayton’s proactive approach, promoted him to be the integrator. Curious about the role, Clayton asked for clarification, recommending reading the great book “Traction,” marking the beginning of Clayton’s journey into understanding and implementing EOS.

Damon reads a comment from Dean, who refers to Clayton as a “Total Rockstar.” Damon notes that many EOS integrators, including Clayton, have experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.

The guest responds to Damon’s observation by affirming the similarity between working in different sectors. He recalls being questioned about transitioning from being a pastor to a production manager in a construction company. Despite different contexts, the core element remains the same: dealing with people. Clayton dismisses the notion that industry-specific experience is crucial for a fractional integrator.

Damon asks Clayton to reflect on the surprises and challenges he encountered during the initial implementation of EOS.

While talking about the surprises, Clayton shares that he wasn’t amazed by anything during the initial implementation of EOS. Having already consumed considerable leadership content and attended various courses, he found that “Traction” encapsulated the best elements from different sources into a cohesive and sensible framework. The only surprise for Clayton was the speed at which improvements and results manifested, but he did not doubt the transformative impact of the EOS system.

After promotion, Clayton shares the story of his visionary boss trusting him to handle operations. Despite the norm of visionaries hesitating to let go, his boss recognized Clayton’s capabilities from their long, trusting relationship. Clayton thrived in his role, enjoying the operational aspects and successfully running the company.

The visionary, freed from operational duties, focused on business development, purchasing additional companies, and thriving in his entrepreneurial pursuits.

Damon asks Clayton about the latter’s role in helping visionaries and integrators collaborate effectively, inquiring about the origin of this idea and how Clayton recognized the need for such assistance.

Clayton started helping visionaries and integrators collaborate after a conversation with an EOS implementer who highlighted the widespread problem of conflicts between these roles. A friend in Clayton’s BNI chapter expressed challenges with his visionary-integrator dynamic, asking Clayton to create a program to address their issues.

Initially met with resistance, the program eventually helped the couple establish better communication and structure. Another case, referred by an EOS implementer, involved a visionary wanting to release control but lacking trust in the integrator’s readiness. Clayton applied to the same program successfully. Over the past two years, Clayton has dedicated efforts to developing a framework, conducting webinars, and working on a book to support visionaries and integrators in achieving successful collaborations.

At Damon’s request, Clayton advises visionaries to stop attempting tasks they aren’t good at and focus on what they excel in. The win-win situation, as integrators excel at the tasks visionaries may not like, results in a more efficient and profitable business when the roles align effectively.

Damon asks Clayton about common realizations that visionaries and integrators experience as they go through the EOS process and work on establishing effective structures.

In Clayton’s view, visionaries and integrators must accept the differences between them instead of changing one another. Clayton introduces the Colby assessment, specifically focusing on the Quickstart aspect, which measures risk aversion.

Damon shares a recent experience where a visionary sought his opinion but was determined to proceed with a risky decision. He believes integrators should understand when to flex and choose their battles with visionaries.

In turn, Clayton relates a funny story about an integrator who candidly dismissed a visionary’s ideas, citing the unique dynamics between visionaries and integrators. Clayton suggests that achieving a high level of trust between them takes time and often involves some conflicts.

Moreover, the EOS Integrator discusses the beauty and challenges of the visionary-integrator dynamic, drawing attention to a local example of success with Chris Jones and his integrator turned EOS implementer.

Damon asks Clayton for advice to visionaries or founders working with another person in their business, often responsible for operational details.

Clayton advises visionaries working with integrators to address potential blind spots or issues holding the company back. It is important to enter difficult conversations with the right intent, caring about the other person’s growth and the company’s success. He believes “the integrator is supposed to make the call.”

Appreciating Clayton’s pearls of wisdom, Damon thanks the guest for his time, which marks the end of this Livestream.

Our Guest
Clayton Stenson

Clayton is the Founder of The Unity Guide. His work is pivotal for businesses stuck in a loop of frustration and inefficiency due to misalignment between their visionary and integrator roles. He provides practical solutions for those struggling to merge their divergent viewpoints into a unified, productive force. Clayton shares his strategies and the principles of his unique “Unity Rock Program,” which he uses to help clients overcome these challenges and reach new levels of success.

With 15+ years of experience working alongside visionaries and integrators, coupled with his pastoral background, Clayton has developed a nuanced understanding of the delicate dynamics between visionary business owners and their integrators. He specializes in guiding faith-driven construction and trades companies, helping them transform their vision into reality.

As a dedicated family man and a person of faith, Clayton brings a unique perspective to the business world, emphasizing the importance of balance, intentionality, and purpose in both professional and personal spheres. His approach is a beacon for business owners seeking to cultivate both a thriving business and a fulfilling life.

Clayton studied Project Leadership at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

The Faces of Business

Learn about the strategies that have allowed other business owners to overcome all kinds of adversities and limitations to achieve their business goals successfully.

All The Faces of Business episodes are


Check out this episode on LinkedIn
The Faces of Business on Twitter:
Listen to this episode of The Faces of Business on these podcast channels


Exit Your Way® provides a structured process and skilled resources to grow business value and allow business owners to leave with 2X+ more money when they are ready.

You can find more information about the Exit Your Way® process and our team on our website.

You can contact us by phone:  822-BIZ-EXIT (249-3948)   Or by Email:

Find us on LinkedIn:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

Find our Companies on LinkedIn: Exit Your Way®,  Cross Northwest Mergers & Acquisitions, Bowman digital Media 

Follow Us on Twitter: @dpistulka  @exityourway

Visit our YouTube Channel: Exit Your Way®

Service Professionals Network:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

Facebook:  Exit Your Way® Cross Northwest Mergers & Acquisitions

Other websites to check out:  Cross Northwest Mergers & AcquisitionsDamon PistulkaIra BowmanService Professionals Network (SPN)Fangled TechnologiesB2B TailDenver Consulting FirmWarren ResearchStellar Insight, Now CFO, Excel Management Systems  & Project Help You Grow

integrator, visionary, eos, clayton, people, business, talking, company, construction company, implementer, started, call, book, honest, traction, years, read, great, process, estimator
Damon Pistulka, Clayton Stenson

Damon Pistulka 00:03
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I am your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am happy, excited, ecstatic, because I’m going to be talking to Clayton Stenson. Here today, none other than the Unity guide, we’re going to be talking about bridging the gap between visionaries and integrators. And if you don’t know what we’re talking about, you assume well, Clayton, thanks for being here today.

Clayton Stenson 00:28
Thank you for having me. Looking forward to this. Oh, it’s

Damon Pistulka 00:32
gonna be great, man. It’s gonna be great. So Clayton, you know, we’re gonna be talking about visionaries and integrators. And those of us that don’t understand what that is, you’re gonna help us understand that a little bit better. But let’s learn a little bit about Clayton watt. You know, let’s your history, your background and how you helped started help. We thought this decided that you wanted to help people with the EOS system and being a fractional integrator and then now helping visionaries and integrators.

Clayton Stenson 01:04
Yeah, it’s kind of I’m kind of an unlikely candidate for this. To be honest, I grew up on a farm, five generations of farmers on the same farm 117 years. So you wouldn’t have expected that I would end up doing this kind of work. But then through the years, you know, I ended up actually it was at my church was the first time that I was on staff and I was working with a visionary. And to be honest, it was very challenging. The first time around, I had no real Office experience, I had no experience working with this type of person before. The biggest challenge of of it all is that we’re very different. Right? Like a visionary, maybe I’ll just go there quickly, visionary. Typically, they’re a founder, they’re typically very good at sales. They’re usually really good at ideas, right? Their research and development, like they they like to learn and try to understand, you know, different things and come up with new ideas. They’re usually really good at Big relationships, you know, solving big problems, but they usually really dislike details, and process and management and all that kind of thing. Whereas the integrators the opposite, right? They tend to like details, like process, they like managing people, they like solving the little problems and making systems that will make problems go away. So my first time working with a visionary, you know, we didn’t have an integrator type on the team. And so I started off I’m like, I’m so excited to work with with him. And then like two weeks, and I’m like, What am I done? Why am I working here? This place is chaos. Right? And it was I loved that mission. It was a church and I’m a Christian and you know, love the Lord and all that that but but it was very challenging for someone like me, who I didn’t recognize was was an integrator, natural integrator type, but it really bothered me. So then I had to manage my own attitude, and be a part of the solution. And not part of the problem. And that wasn’t easy, but over seven years working there, and I was able to, you know, to bring some order to the chaos. But yeah, that was kind of how it how it all got started.

Damon Pistulka 03:31
So what so your, your, your you’re starting out in this position, working with a visionary? What were some of the things that just drove you absolutely crazy?

Clayton Stenson 03:47
Well, there was no no instructions on how to do anything. Right. Like there was no there was no job descriptions, there was no processes, there was nothing was written down. Right. So it’s like, Hey, you’re in charge of this. Go. Yeah. And it’s like, well, what is this? Like? What am I do, right? So I had to kind of invent everything from scratch. Right? Which, which is fine. If people are motivated and self starters, you know, you you can do that. But I would say like some people both can’t. Right, yeah. And will, will wilt and will quit. Right. Good thing. I’m stubborn, right? Because yeah, I didn’t, didn’t give up. Right. And, you know, and the other side of visionaries is typically they’re very busy. Right? So they’re, you know, they’re hard to corral to ask questions to write and they’re also usually not not aware, right, of how other people feel. Yeah. Because they’re just driven. They’re, they’re going for it. They’re, you know, they got 100 things going on. So it’s, you know, It’s very, very challenging, right? Because Because of that, so, yeah, over the years, I, you know, kind of learned how to how to deal with that I learned how to corral him when I needed to, to get the answers that I needed. But it was definitely some challenging, some challenging years. They’re

Damon Pistulka 05:18
learning to allow the learning of it. Oh,

Clayton Stenson 05:21
yeah, it was an incredible season of learning on a lot of levels. And it’s really those seven years, laid the foundation for what I do know, for sure. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 05:32
So when did you first hear about EOS?

Clayton Stenson 05:37
Yeah, so it wasn’t in those years. I wish it was. So I, I left working there. And I went to work at a construction company. And that was where he mentioned, traction, the book traction explains what EOS is. And, but I never read it, right. So but again, I was working with another visionary realize it right away, I’m like, okay, he’s very similar to my first and I, but my initial reaction was, okay, I’m going to treat this differently this time. Right, like, the first time, to be honest, I was judgmental, and critical, you know, of the differences that we had the second time, I’m gonna have more grace. For him, I’m gonna have a stronger voice, you know, when I disagree, or when I feel like structures needed. And it went a lot better. I worked with him, I was an estimator for three years. And this is a typical visionary type thing. He promoted me to estimator. And he said, Clayton, I hate spreadsheets. And I don’t want to learn them. Can you? Can you be my estimator? And my response was, yeah, I can. But you know, I’ve never estimated before. And I’ve never done commercial construction before. And he’s like, Oh, you’re smart. You’re smart, you’ll figure you’ll figure it out. And I’ll help you. Right. And I was like, Okay, well, yeah, let’s do it. And it was hard. Like, I really, I was fortunate, my wife was an architect. So I was able to take like, plants home and, you know, ask her questions and, you know, get learn how to read plants from her. Yeah, to be honest. And anyway, so then over those three years that I was in the estimator role, we, we, you know, as an integrator does, we build systems? So I built the spreadsheets I built, you know, the things to track? How much estimate how many estimates we were sending out what percentage we were getting, like, all that stuff that we never had before, right? So I just naturally is like, well, we need we need this, like, I want to know how we’re doing, you know, so I’m gonna build spreadsheets that show it. We went from napkin estimating, which I call it like, you know, just throwing some numbers at it and hoping for the best to like an actual system, how to make sure we’re doing it right. And, and then also helped with the transition, right, from estimating to production. So the project manager knows the scope and all that. So anyways, during all those years, he was telling me about traction. He’s like, Oh, yeah, this this book, traction is great. I tried to implement it, though. And it didn’t really work and all this stuff. And, and he would vent to me about the things that annoyed him about the business. And then eventually, I got sick of him venting to me, and not doing anything to fix it. So I made a list. This is a very integrator thing to do is I made a list of all the things he complained about, and a list of how I’d fix it if I were him. And I took him for coffee, and I presented it to him. And at the end of the coffee, he said, You’re you’re promoted. You’re my integration. But I didn’t know what an integrator was. I said, so yeah. What’s that? And he said, well, here read this book, traction, which I have right here. So

Damon Pistulka 08:51
in case Yeah, I got a lot here, too.

Clayton Stenson 08:55
And this is the original one that’s pretty worn out. And so I read it. Yeah, I read it. And I and I fell in love. I’m like, wow, this is this is awesome. We needed this at the church. We need it here. And when I read about integrator, I’m like, Yeah, that’s I’m kind of doing that already. So get let’s make it official and give me more authority over the whole organization. And so that’s what we did. And I just started self implementing what I read in the book, whatever made the most sense for what we were trying to accomplish. And we 22 times our net profit and in 12 months, no turnover, no increase in revenue. It was just purely increased accountability, engagement from the team and I just fell in love with EOS. Yeah, being an integrator.

Damon Pistulka 09:50
Well, we got dean here. I don’t know if you know Dean, but he’s, I think he’s talking about you here. Total Rockstar He said, If we only had a handbook, a guide for church groups to follow, I think everybody every group that says that more than more than not, that’s for sure. Because I’ve really not I’ve been in other kinds of organizations for profit, not for profit. It’s all the same. I mean, I think, you know, and I’ve talked to a number of ELS integrators, and it’s interesting, how many of them have used them and not for profit or church group? Yeah, you know, because they the issues are

Clayton Stenson 10:30
the same. Yeah. And that’s what someone said to me. So I remember when I was working at the construction company, they’re like, how do you go from being a pastor, to being a production manager at a construction company? I said, Well, they both have people write it. Yeah, the context is different. But it’s not really it’s the same. I would say there’s very little difference, in fact, and that’s why when people ask me, like, if they’re looking for a fractional integrator, sometimes they’ll say, Well, what’s your background? What industries have you worked in? Well, that’s really not that important. To be honest, because it’s people. Right? And it’s, I’d say, it’s more important, what size a company you’ve worked with, right? Have you experienced, you know, 20 people, or 50 people or 100 people and the complexities that come with it? I’d say it’s much that’s more important than the industry.

Damon Pistulka 11:28
I can I concur with that. 150%, because I don’t care what business you’re in. I mean, if you’re in a business, and it’s got a mission, or it’s, you know, got goals, you have people that have to execute it, and there’s gonna be people that know technically how to do it. And there’s, you got to get the right people in the right spots and and help them? Yeah,

Clayton Stenson 11:50
and I would say, to be honest, I would say it’s actually kind of a blessing in disguise, if you don’t know, the industry. And the reason is, then you can’t get pulled into the weeds. Right? Like you can’t get, they can’t rely on you to do the, to do the details and actually do the work. It forces a working on the business rather than in it. So, you know, I found that with a construction company that was first integrated, because I’ve only been in construction for three years. Right? And there’s people on the team that had been in construction for 20 and 25. Right. And so they wouldn’t come to me to ask me questions about construction. Right? Because I wasn’t the guy, they go to the visionary for that. Right. But if they needed to come to somebody to talk about people, and how to manage people and how to deal with certain situations, they’d come to me because I was the expert. Right? Yeah, it was, was good.

Damon Pistulka 12:48
Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s such a great, a great beginning for you to actually have to live through that. Go through the process. See it, you know, how, first of all the seven years of not having the foundational things that EOS or the traction really teaches us and then being able to go into a company that doesn’t have it, and then implement it? Because it’s a huge thing. So when you were implementing that first time you’re reading you’re implementing? What were some of the things that really surprised you?

Clayton Stenson 13:30
About the system? Or about how it how the Yeah, about

Damon Pistulka 13:34
this out the system, first of all, and how it worked in the company.

Clayton Stenson 13:42
I don’t know that anything surprised me. To be honest. The interesting thing about when I first read traction was, you know, I hadn’t heard any of it before. I had, none of it was new, right? Like, yes, I read, I’d read a lot of books, read a lot, read a lot, read a lot of books about leadership, read a lot of things been to a lot of courses, you know, wasn’t a new leader, right? So when I read traction, it was like, wow, like, they’ve just taken all the best stuff from everywhere and made it into something that was really, that really made a lot of sense. That was simple. Right? So I don’t know, like, I think for a natural integrator. They just salivate when they retraction because it’s like, wow, this is going to change the world. Right? Yeah. Yeah. I don’t want that. You know, I’d see the results and the speed of the improvement. Surprised me. But I, you know, I had no doubt when I read it that it would make a big difference. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 14:50
like, yes, it does. It makes a lot of sense. And Dean’s got a question here. It says what is EOS and basically it’s the Entrepreneurial Operating System that Gino Wickman does talks about in the in the book traction. And then he also has a couple other additional books that he talks about. But this is really got the framework of, of the EOS system and and what it really does, like you said that I think is so helpful for people Clayton is that it lays it out in simple steps, how do I get my business organized, and in in steps that I don’t have to be, I don’t have to be a specialist in in anything other than I’m going to try to do what this says and organize it the way it does. Because the book itself, and this is I’m gonna be real honest, I poo pooed the book for a long time, because I’m older than the book, right? And I’m with when you talk about the colons and the other management people and you talk about them, that were laying out some of these foundational things. And you know, of course, they’ve taken it different ways in traction and put it together a little differently. But I thought this is the same stuff we’re doing in companies already. But what I’ve come to really appreciate about the EOS EOS implementers and integrators and, and the whole traction movement is that it simplifies it to a point that you and I can have a conversation about how we want to move the business forward. And if we’ve agreed that we’re going to use the principles laid out and traction and Eos, we know we’re gonna do

Clayton Stenson 16:30
it, this different steps and we know what we’re going to do. Yeah, because there, you know, there’s no disagreeing about the way we’re going to do it. If we agree, we’re going to do this. Yeah. So just you guys, unifies everybody. And if there’s a disagreement, you can go back to the book. Right? And, you know, being a Christian, I would say this, like, you know, if you’re married, and you’re both Christians, if there’s a disagreement that the Bible, right, yeah, you solve the disagreement. Right? So it gives you that common, that common ground to unify you. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 17:09
And I really enjoy when when, when you have a visionary that really understands, and Tom was talking about this a little bit to the construction company, and specific, when a visionary begins to realize their role as a visionary and how they, how they think and how it’s different from others, and they embrace it and really take off when the two the visionary and the integrator work together. Hmm.

Clayton Stenson 17:35
Yeah. So when he promoted me, I didn’t tell the whole story. He’s his words, were Clayton, when I touch operations, it blows up in my face, every time, right, and he said, I saw you work at the church for seven years. And now three years with us. I know you’ll be good at this. I know, you’ll be way better than me at this. And he let go. Right? He just, you know, and I think you know, because of our length of relationship and depth of trust, it’s not normal. It’s not normal for a visionary to let go the way that he did. Like, literally, he let go and let me run the company. And he was down to four to six hours a week at one point fairly quickly. Because he knew I would handle it, and I would handle it better than him. And I thrived, right? It’s like, this is my sweet spot. This is my unique ability. I love this. Right? Like, I’m nerding out doing this stuff. Like I just love it. And for him, he’s like, ah, freedom. I don’t have to do operations anymore. Right? He’s, he’d been doing it for 15 years, you know, and hating it. Right? So now he’s like, okay, now I can be an entrepreneur. Now I can go. And I can, you know, focus on business development, and he bought two other companies that year. And, you know, when chase something, something else, he bought another residential construction company. That was birch. totally bankrupt, and each round. He’s brilliant. He is brilliant at that stuff. But once it’s running, he’s bored. Right, like now I need to give me something else to do. This is this is boring. Can you run this for me so I can go chase the next opportunity. And well, I just had supper, dinner with him last Thursday, and now he owns four companies. And at one point, he had seven, but three went bankrupt. They were all fitness studios that he launched just before COVID. So that’s not really his fault. Yeah. But he loves that. Like he’s thriving. He’s loving that. Right. But he, he you know, it’s just that’s his unique ability, whereas mine was to run stuff.

Damon Pistulka 19:49
Yeah. Well, and it is you describe the way that like them, when they really understand getting the right People, the additional people on their team that a lot how that allows them to really flourish in their world and allows the other members of the team to really flourish. And when they see that, it’s almost it’s that thing for him. I’m sure it’s very satisfying, because he sees he’s really been able to build things now.

Clayton Stenson 20:20
In the long term. Yeah. Yeah, for sure.

Damon Pistulka 20:26
So, the, the Unity guy, now you you you like to help these visionaries and integrators work together? Where did the idea for that come from? That that, you know that it was something that that people actually needed?

Clayton Stenson 20:48
Well, it started with an implementer an EOS implementer, here in Alberta that I met, and we were having coffee or breakfast one day, and he said it somehow it came up and he said, Clayton, if you can solve this problem, because it’s a big problem, you’d be you’d be golden. Right? And that kind of planted a seed and got me thinking, Okay, how could I could I solve this problem? And then I started talking about it more of my business. And one of the guys in my BNI chapter, I used to be in BNI. I’m not anymore if you’re familiar. I was chatting with him about the visionary and integrator, and he’s like, his eyes open. And he’s like, oh, yeah, I’m the visionary. And I’m like, Yeah, I know. You could spot him a mile away, for sure. And he said, he said, and I just hired my girlfriend. And she’s my integrator. And I said, Okay, how’s it going? He’s like, if you don’t help us, we’re gonna kill each other. That this is where this started. And I was like, you mean? And he explained it? And I’m like, Okay, well, he’s like, can you help us? And I’m like, Well, I don’t have a program for that. And he’s like, make one. And I was like, okay, so I made one. And it was just a five week program. And the first session was one hour a week, the first session, they had a big fight. Like, it got really heated, and they’re yelling at each other. And I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, stop, timeout, Timeout, timeout, and they, they stopped. And I was like, Hey, this is what I see. You visionary. You have expectations up here for your integrator, but your communication to them is down here. Right? She has no idea what she’s doing. You’ve given her no structure, and she’s floundering. And you’re mad, because she’s not delivering. And I said, like, you need to be more clear about what you want and, and help her didn’t give her some structure on how to get there. Because integrators thrive in structure. And they wilt outside of it. And he was mad at me to be honest, because I put the blame on him. Right? Yeah. Yeah, he was not impressed. And I had a co facilitator in there, too. And we got they left the call. And he said to me, Clayton, I don’t I don’t know if we can help these guys. And I was like, well, let’s just stay the course complete the program. And the next week, the visionary came back and he apologized. He said, You know what? I thought about what you said, and I trust you, Clayton in any right. So, so then we spent the next four weeks building the structure. They weren’t running on Eos, just to be clear, right? But, but it still applies, right? Like, it doesn’t matter who I talk to about visionaries and integrators, whether they’re a visionary and integrator just on the team. I’ve talked to many people are just team members. And I explain this what I do to them, and they’re like, oh, yeah, this person is the visionary. And this person is the integrator. And yet there’s lots of conflict, and you know, different points of view. Right. So that’s where it all got started. It was just like a cry for help from somebody that I knew. And even now, that was two years ago. Every time I see her, she like, gives me a big hug. And she says, Thank you. They’re still together, the business is doing great. We’re going for coffee after Christmas, or breakfast. Awesome. So that was the first one. And then the second one was very different. It was a referral from an EOS implementer. And they were about six months into implementing Eos, and very different situation. The integrator was new, he’d never been in this kind of role. And he was really not stepping into it in owning it the way that he needed to. And I met with the visionary and the visionary said, I feel like I need to rip the band aid off and release control, but I just don’t trust him that he’s ready for it yet. And so then I ended up doing the same program with them. This is the same time and they were great, but they just needed to talk about some things they need to you know, to, to go a little deeper in their relationship and By the end, you know, they were, they were totally, you know, he had ripped the band aid off, Chris was owning it. And the leadership team commented to the implementer. Like, I don’t know, I don’t know what what happened. But it’s different now, like Chris is owning it, and the visionaries let go. And yeah, it’s so much better. So that’s awesome. That’s how it started. And that was two years ago. And now I’ve just two years, I’ve been spending a lot of time just thinking about how can I best set them up for success? You know, I’ve been building a framework, I’m starting to work on a book, been doing lots of webinars and trying to help change the way that they they think and embrace each other.

Damon Pistulka 25:41
Was it is so different, right? It’s so different in the business. And you see this, like you said, we’re talking about traction and EOS a lot in this but every business if they are a certain size, or they’re got employees, a few employees, and they’re doing you know, it doesn’t matter what it really is, there is a visionary and integrator whether they realize it or not one person is more the outgoing doing it, the other person is there making sure that they’re, you know, executing, making sure the trains run on time. And so what you’re saying and how you’re helping people is really universal in terms of if they’re using ers or not. It’s really getting that those two pieces of the business working together, right. We’re better? Yeah, better. Yeah.

Clayton Stenson 26:31
And if I was speaking to a visionary for visionaries, listening and thinking about this, yeah, stop, stop trying to do stuff, you’re not good at, like, just stop, like, your life is gonna be so much better. Right? When you have greater can do the stuff that you’re badass. Right? Like we all we all think, I think, especially when you start a business, you think, Well, I know I can I can do that. Right? Like, it’s not that hard. Right? But it’s not giving you energy, right? Like it’s not, you know, it’s not you don’t enjoy it, right? Like, imagine if all you had to do was the thing that you enjoyed, mostly like you never you never get out of, you know, you never get doing the things you don’t enjoy. But what if you were spending 80% of the time doing the things that you’re uniquely built to do? How much more would you enjoy your business? And not only that, but it’s the same for the integrator, right? Like, the things you don’t like they love. And so it’s win win. Right? Yeah. And your your business is going to operate much better and be more profitable with a good integrator running it. Right.

Damon Pistulka 27:36
So yes. It’s hard because Oh, yes, yes, it is. Because I don’t you made the key point there is that visionaries, yes, you can do those things. But they’re not the things that you really want to be doing or that you’re the best at or that bring you joy in your day or things like that. And when you get the integrator doing those things, and free to do those things and do those things in the best way possible, and not interfere with how they’re doing it. Other than, hey, the outcomes good or not, you know, that’s that’s what we’re doing there. What you see is that the visionary is like, Okay, now. And if they know where they’re going, right now, I can go work on this other stuff that I’ve I’ve wanted to work on forever. But I haven’t I didn’t have the time because I was always over here because I could do that stuff. Even though it doesn’t make me happy. I couldn’t do that stuff. Well, now that’s getting taken care of by someone that likes to do it. Now I can go off and like the construction example that you talked about, that person was able to go off and buy more companies and do what they needed to do. And how did that change their trajectory by allowing them to move into their real special skill set and move that forward faster?

Clayton Stenson 28:57
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So

Damon Pistulka 28:59
when you when you’re helping people going through the the EOS process, going through the structure going through the structure and helping people do this? What are some of the common things that you see as the visionary and integrator are setting there that they really start to start to realize?

Clayton Stenson 29:25
I think the biggest problem is not accepting the differences. So I always use marriage examples. You know, I’ve been married for 13 years. And we spent way too much energy the first 10 years trying to change each other. Surely the club and it doesn’t work? No. You can’t change someone. It’s impossible. All it does is create Eat bitterness and resentment and strife, right? And I find that this happens a lot with visionaries and integrators is that, yes. You know, rather than embrace the differences, they push against them and try to try to change each other. And it’s a big mistake. That’s a big mistake, because it’s your differences, not your similarities that that make it work. So I’ll give you an example. So I stopped working at that construction company. I was gone for about a year and a half. And he reached out to me, he saw that I was starting to coach integrators. And he reached out to me, so hey, Clayton, I think I have a, I think I might have a an integrator that could could step into your role. He said, we’ve really been missing you, you know, and what you did, and could you coach him? And I said, Yeah, I could, like, Do you think he’s, he’s the right guy for it? And he said, Well, I think so. My only problem is, he’s not visionary enough. And I started laughing, right. And I said, What are you talking about? I said, we didn’t work well together. Because I was like you. We worked well together, because we were different. I was different. Right? You don’t need another visionary. You need an integrator. Right? So it’s not, you know, yeah, yeah, I get it. Like, you’d have to have maybe a certain level of visionary Ness. But, you know, it’s, it’s the opposite that we really need. And I think one of the problems that most companies have and owners have, I think, is that they have a tendency to hire people just like them. And then they end up frustrated. Because they’re people like them are annoying them because they’re doing the same things that they’re doing right. And you don’t need that you need the opposite. Right? I met with somebody today for coffee. And they’re thinking about hiring an integrator, and she was telling you about who they’re thinking of hiring, and I’m like, I just hope they’re not, you know, like them, because they need they don’t need that they need they need somebody who’s going to challenge them, who’s going to push back? Who’s going to disagree, right? Like, that’s, that’s where the strength is, if you can do it respectfully, right? Yeah, so that’s, I think the biggest thing is that just, and that’s where I started as awareness, right? Like, we need to really start talking about awareness, like, what does this relationship look like? And what the impact can it have on your company, which I think the book rocket fuel is another book that the US put out is really good. But then I also like to talk about, what are the awareness? Let’s get aware of what the pitfalls are? Like, what are the things that are going to annoy you about each other? Right? And I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Colby assessment, or you? I’ve heard about it, yes, we’ll be assessment, you know, give scores even for things. And I use that in my coaching. And because it gives you a, you know, a score between one to 10 on each thing? And if, if so, I’ll give you an example. One of the the third one is called Quickstart. And what that measures is your risk aversion. Right? So if you’re high score, you’re you risk isn’t an issue for you, right? Like, you’re just you’re willing to just go for it and risk everything, and it doesn’t scare you. Right. But if you’re low, you your your are risk averse, you don’t like, you know, you don’t like risk, and you want to do the research and build a system, you can do all the stuff to avoid the risk. Right? So visionaries, typically high Quickstart, like risk isn’t a big deal. They love to, you know, to risk, right? Whereas integrators usually going to be low, they’re going to be risk averse, right? So if, if I’m if my visionary is rated at 10, and I’m a one, we’re gonna have conflict, yes. Right? It’s like, whoa, whoa, whoa, the integrators would be what will will slow down slow down, you know, we need to think about this. And he’s like, What, you’re just your governor on me, like, I can’t, you know, I can’t break through we, this is so amazing. You know, we need to go, we need to go and they’re gonna fight about it. Right? So if you’re not aware of that, it’s going to be worse. Right? But if you’re aware of it, then you can, you can compensate for it. You can meet in the middle somewhere. Right. And it’s a blessing for the visionary to have somebody think, help them think things through before they dive in. Yes,

Damon Pistulka 34:23
yes. Yes. And Heather said this earlier about something. Thanks for being here. Heather. In the comment. She said, This is so true when she was thought you were talking earlier about visionaries and integrators, and causing strife with each other. And when you talk, you said something in here, this awareness, then you’re talking about risk aversion, and that visionaries aren’t really that afraid of risk and they’ll take a risk that that integrator won’t. One of the things that just happened to me about a week ago is I was talking to someone in a business situation and they’re they’re like, visionary out of this world. Right. And I And it was finally he called me to ask my opinion about something and I was like, okay, okay, okay, well, this is, you know, you’re asking somebody that’s more towards the integrator side of it. I said, Well, these are the things and really, you know, you shouldn’t do it. And I finally I realized I said, but you’re gonna go ahead and do this, right? You’re just calling me to see what’s going on? Yes, I’ve got to go do it anyway. What do you what do you talk about that? You talked about that? And how it can really do that I think some of the integrators and the visionaries need to know that, hey, when I talk to somebody like this, that that, they will ask me some more questions. Because they say to them, it’s pretty risky. But to me, it’s not. But in the end, if that integrator really knows that, hey, it’s gonna happen no matter what we just need to, to make the best outcome of it possible. That’s one of the things that as an integrator, you can start to flex with that visionary, and really choose your, your, your time, your battles, I should say, because there are some things, working with a visionary, you’re gonna have to stop and say, Listen, this could really be a life changing thing that you’re doing, and you don’t want to do it. But on the other end of it, it’s like, Hey, if you’re willing to wear skirt, and it’s, you know, you, you’re gonna put 50 bucks there, and you don’t care if it’s gone tomorrow. Well, let’s, you know, let’s just try to make sure it doesn’t go too fast.

Clayton Stenson 36:28
Yeah, a couple of things. I’d like to say on that one. Because one of the things one of the central things to EOS Is that is that the integrator is supposed to be the tiebreaker. Yes, yeah. Right. So if you know, and I think the reason for that is, integrators tend to see downstream implications of things, much better than a visionary does. So I think like, if there’s a if there’s a stalemate in the leadership team, the integrator is supposed to make the call. Yeah. And to protect the organization. But then I have another story that I have to tell you this really funny. Oh, that’d be great. I was an implementer. Recently, and he’s an integrator. And he said, Oh, man, I had a great relationship with my visionary people. Before he became an implementer. We had so much trust for each other. And he told me the story. He said, he would come into my office, and he would spout off like 1520 ideas that he thought were just amazing. And he said, I would say to him, those ideas all suck, get out of my office. And I was like, what? You said that to him? And he’s like, yeah, and he would just leave. And I’m like, wow, why could you do that? Because that’s not normal. Right? Like most of the time, yeah. Are the challenges is usually the visionaries, the owner and the integrators, that employee? Not always, but quite often. So there’s an intimidation factor there where you wouldn’t risk, you wouldn’t risk like that, do you? originary because you probably lose your job. But I asked him, Why could you do that? And he said, Because if one of his ideas was good, I would say, Stop the presses. Everyone, we’re implementing this now. Right. So there was this high level of trust, that he had that gift of discernment to be able to tell when something was actionable and not impacting negatively on the organization. So he said that, you know, he had that high level of trust. But can you get to that level of trust? Yeah. But it takes time. Right. It takes, you know, getting to know each other. And probably some fights. Yeah. Right. Like, I believe intimacy is on the other side of fighting. You know what I mean? Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 38:33
well, in in to when we talk about quieting, complex, whatever you want to call it. It’s not like it’s ugly. It’s just this just, I mean, if you don’t have the trust, yeah, you’re just disagreeing with somebody, and you’re just trying to understand it when I mean, and really understand what the where their position is, until you go oh, yeah, it I’m not seeing it right. Or maybe I am seeing it right. And you’re not seeing what I’m seeing. Yeah, it’s, it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing. And I think that’s a great example. It sounds extreme to somebody that didn’t go through the process that had to take place before that. But when you said what you said at the end there, it’s like, good, good idea. Full Force, full force forward. Bad idea, throw it out the door quickly. That’s, that’s, I mean, the visionary in that, in that situation is charged to keep bringing those ideas. Don’t stop. Keep bringing them because the good ones are gonna get used. And the bad ones are the ones that probably don’t work so good. They’re gonna get shelved, but keep bringing more. I think that’s it. We really put that that visionary in into hyper mode and where you want them.

Clayton Stenson 39:45
Yeah, there’s a deep level of trust, like there has to be. Yeah, I guess I put it this way, like that willingness to be open to being wrong. Yeah, right. And that’s Where I think a lot of visionaries stall is they’re not they’re not willing to be open to being wrong, right? Like there’s pride there. And really leveraging that, you know, integrator and don’t get me wrong, it can be the other way around. I was a integrator, I wasn’t an integrator, the first time I was working with the visionary, but I was prideful about the process, and how important it was. And I was angry all the time, because people weren’t doing things the way I wanted them to do it. Right. So it’s, it goes both ways. But, you know, it’s really important, I think, to, to be open, you know, and to just trust that we’re going to fight this out, until we get the best path, right, but both of our perspectives are going to be shared. And we’re going to agree, in the end, what the best thing is, for the company and for each other.

Damon Pistulka 40:54
And when you see that work together, it’s a powerful thing. It’s beautiful. It is it is something when you get a visionary that says, hey, it would be cool, if we did this, and the visionary or the integrator goes, That’s a great idea. And you go go back a month or two later, and it’s happening, and you’re taking over a market or you’ve like you said, in the construction company, the profitability is starting to take off or whatever you’ve opened a new division, these kinds of things can, can literally happen in a very short timeframe, when you get these people working. I’ve

Clayton Stenson 41:29
experienced the beauty of it. And I’ve experienced the pain of it, right ups, you know, all all the, you know, the potential here and, and I would say like, you know, there’s a great example right here, where I live, Chris Jones is an EOS implementer in Calgary, and his is integrator was, is now an EOS implementer as well. And they have an incredible story of their journey, you know, of learning how to be if he I do it together. And and it’s an incredible, it’s incredible story. They had a fireside chat last summer that I was at. And it was hilarious, because they’re telling their stories. But also, you know, amazing to see what’s possible if you leverage both gifts together.

Damon Pistulka 42:16
It really is. It really is. Yeah. So if you’ve got if there are people listening today, and you know, you got could be a founder could be a visionary, if they’ve already identified themselves as that. And they are sitting there with this other person in their business, that is the one that’s supposed to be keeping the trains running on time supposed to be doing things, or what’s one bit of advice you could give them today?

Clayton Stenson 42:57
I would say enter the danger. That’s a term EOS term. But whatever scares you, like an issue that you feel like, you need to bring out, like, we all have blind spots. Right? So if if there’s a blind spot in, you know, your integrator or vice versa, right, that needs to be exposed, that’s holding the company back, run towards it, like address it Don’t, don’t pretend like it’s not there, because it is there, and it’s holding things up. And how how to do that, I would say is intent matters more than technique. So what I mean by that is, you know, if your intention when you bring it up, is to stop the other person from doing something that is a pain in your butt, and it’s making your life hard. It’s not gonna go well. Right. But if your intention is to bring, you know, to help them like to see them grow, and to see the company succeed, you know, in your heart is really to care for them. Like, this is how I this is how I manage my teams. I have a team, it’s like, if I’m going to correct somebody, I won’t correct them until I can come at it with the right intent. Right? Like, meaning, I’m, I’m going to correct you on this because I want you to be successful. I know it’s going to hold you back from success in your career. And you know, so I care about you, and I want you to win, then I’ll bring it out. Right. But if what if it’s just like you’re annoying me, please stop doing that. I won’t bring it up. Because they’ll sense the intent. Do you know, you know what I mean? Like, they’ll just see the 100% You’re just annoyed by me. So you’re calling. You’re calling me out because it’s an annoyance to you. Right? So it’s so important that we correct people because we care about them, and we care about the business. So yeah, don’t run don’t run from healthy conflict. But make sure you have Rate intent when you start the conversation

Damon Pistulka 45:05
that is so powerful. That it I mean, what you said there can change the way that that any any two people, right really it when you look at it when you’re in a business situation, I’ve i It’s so funny. It’s so interesting that you say that because I’m doing that with someone now that I’m coaching. And it’s it’s like, I have to check myself. And I have to really step back and go, Okay. I want them to succeed. I need them to feel that I want them to succeed. And then we talk about this talk about what what we how we could do this better. Yeah, you know, and it’s such it’s so much different a conversation. Yeah,

Clayton Stenson 45:49
it can’t be a selfish motivation that you’re doing it from otherwise. You know, you get defensive and it’s gonna blow up in your face. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 45:57
yeah. Good stuff, man. Well, Clayton, it’s been so much fun. I can’t read time. And it’s great talking to you. Because I think that the people listening in here today, if you if you came in here later, go back to the beginning. And I mean, Clayton, you really went through some good examples of yourself going through the visionary integrator process, seeing how it works, learn about traction, and EOS. And then some of the situations where you’ve been coaching these visionaries and integrators in companies, and really helping them to work together better so they can improve their organization. But thanks so much for being here today, man. For me, it was fun. Yeah, yeah. So if someone wants to get a hold of you, Clayton, what’s the best way to get ahold of you?

Clayton Stenson 46:38
I’m very active on LinkedIn. So if you reach out to me on LinkedIn to interact with you, or my website is the unity And there’s a there’s a link on there to book a 30 minute call free call if somebody’s good. And

Damon Pistulka 46:53
I’m going to click click your display name on so it’s Clayton Steads. And you can see how to spell it there everyone and, and reach out to him if you want to talk about this and or go to his website, the Unity guide, and learn more about his fractional work that he does and his coaching of visionaries and integrators. Thanks so much for being here today. Clayton.

Clayton Stenson 47:15
Thanks for having me.

Damon Pistulka 47:17
Yes. Well, everyone else thanks for all of you that comment today. We’ve got Dean and Heather and and Robbie, thanks so much for being here today and all you that were listening in and not commenting. We appreciate you being here. We will be back again next week. Yes, I believe I have some cotton next we’re getting close to Christmas. So I don’t know my holiday schedule. I decided because I decided about four months ago that but we’ll be back again. Clayton hang out for a moment and we’ll finish up

Schedule a call to discuss your business goals and answer your questions on growing business value, preparing for sale or selling your business.

Check Out Posts Talking About Sales.

Related content

These posts may also interest you

The Faces of Business Live Schedule

The Faces of business Livestream / Podcast episodes are conversations with interesting people sharing life and business experiences to entertain, engage, build community, & help others succeed.

Taking the Guesswork out of Business Growth

In this The Faces of Business episode, Jay Tinkler, Co-Founder, Remarkably, dives into “Taking the Guesswork Out of Business Growth.” sharing his insights on building trust and fostering community-driven growth strategies.

Common Mistakes When Selling a Business

In this episode of The Faces of Business, David Barnett, an experienced M&A professional, Author, Speaker, and Consultant, shares insights on the Common Mistakes When Selling a Business to help you navigate the complex process of selling a business and avoid costly errors.