Friday, October 9, 2009


Creating a better system

If Inventors need to have their head in the clouds, and then Integrators need to have their finger in the pie. While Inventors are great at starting things, Integrators are great at finishing things. They are perfectionists, which is why they cannot resist finding ways to do things better.

One of Henry Ford’s maxims was: “Everything can always be done better than it is being done.” While Handshakers twinkle, Integrators tinker. They get hands-on with their systems and prefer to study how to improve things with their hands dirty. As a result, they have little interest in impressing with or indulging in their appearance.

Bernard Marcus, chairman and Co-founder of Home Depot, recalled going out to lunch with Sam Walton – founder of Wal-Mart who became the richest man in the world in the 1980’s. “I hopped into Sam’s red pickup truck. No air-conditioning. Seats stained by coffee. And by the time I got to the restaurant, my shirt was soaked through and through. And that was Sam Walton – no airs, no pomposity.” Many Integrators have yet to get going because they are still trying to figure out what business to start. Ray Kroc was 52 before he realized he didn’t need to start his own business, he could take an existing business – McDonald’s – and make it better.

Many Integrators have companies with better systems than their competitors, but they have not leveraged these systems with stronger products produced by others, or their business is limited by their autocratic management style and high staff turnover.

Successful Integrators remain hands-on, fine-tuning their systems long after they have delegated many other areas of their business to others. This is where they see the greatest results, and where they gain the most satisfaction.

Successful Integrators include Treal City, Henry Ford, Ray Kroc, Sam Walton, Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA founder), and Michael Dell.

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