Book Review: Rocket Fuel

Book Review Rocket FuelIf you are the Executive Assistant to a Mega Agent, Rocket Fuel is for you AND your agent. It details that relationship and defines for both of you how you can use that relationship to fuel the business to higher levels.

Essentially, the authors Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters define the Mega Agent role as the Visionary and the Executive Assistant role as the Integrator. “Visionaries have groundbreaking ideas. Integrators make those ideas a reality. Without an Integrator, a Visionary is far less likely to succeed long-term and realize the company’s ultimate goals. Likewise, with no Visionary, an Integrator can’t rise to his or her full potential.”

As second in command, it is imperative that your relationship with your agent is rock solid. You have to be on the same page when it comes to running the business and moving it forward. If you are not taking ownership in that, then I have to say that you are not the right person for the job. An agent needs an assistant to take charge (whether he/she knows it or not).

Yes, in the beginning, you are an employee. If you are an agent’s first assistant, you have a way to go before you will be comfortable taking on the role of a true second in command. As the team grows, and you start making decisions with your agent, this gets easier.

Here are some takeaways and highlights from the book that I think apply specifically to the Executive Assistant position…

Defining the Integrator Role

From page 28…

An Integrator is a person who has the Unique Ability to harmoniously integrate the major functions of the business, run the organization, and manage the day-to-day issues that arise. The Integrator is the glue that holds the people, processes, systems, priorities, and strategy of the company together. We use the term “Integrator” to describe the role more accurately than other common external titles such as president, COO, general manager, or chief of staff. Integrator is simply the best word to describe this position.

In contrast to Visionaries, Integrators are typically very good at leading, managing, and holding people accountable. They love running the day-to-day aspects of the business. They enjoy being accountable for profit and loss, and for the execution of the business plan. They remove obstacles so that people can execute. Typically, they operate at a more detailed level than their Visionary counterparts. When a major initiative is undertaken, the Integrator will foresee the ripple of implications that will move across the organization as a result. Visionaries typically don’t even see, or will substantially underestimate, these ripple effects.

Doesn’t this sound exactly like you as an Executive Assistant?

I want to emphasize here how much of a partnership this Visionary/Integrator relationship is. If your agent has a hard time letting go of things that you think should be your responsibility, you need to read this book together. It details several of these types of relationships and how without giving over the daily operations of the business to the Integrator, the Visionary flounders and is otherwise held back from reaching his/her highest potential.

On page 38, the authors talk about some of the challenges of being an Integrator. This one spoke to me personally…

Not Superman. You see what needs to get done, and you wish it could all be done right now. You really want to bring order to the chaos. Lots of others are counting on you, and it hurts to think about letting them down. At times, these thoughts will blend together and convince you to rationalize some unreasonable expectations of yourself. Too much. Too soon. Too fast. You expect a lot from yourself–sometimes too much. And when you can’t deliver on it all, you beat yourself up.

Yes, it’s true. I stress myself out! So much so, that my husband says I need to “unclench”.

Have you been there?

At times it is feelings of perfectionism, but mostly it is a sense of urgency. Some urgency is a good thing as it leads to getting things done. Too much urgency though leads to overwhelm and stress which can lead to anxiety, shutting down, and then overlooking important details and dropping balls.

These feelings must be checked. As a problem-solver, this is something you can overcome. If it’s more than just a one-time project urgency, and more of a structural or organizational urgency that won’t go away without making changes to the team or to the systems, this is something you must discuss with your Mega Agent to get resolution. This kind of change is truly what drives the business forward.

A Note About the Integrator/Visionary Relationship

From page 57…

The polar differences between Visionaries and Integrators mean they are always driving each other a little bit crazy. This is normal–just not easy.

From page 59, talking about a Visionary trying to find an Integrator with whom he could work…

 Finally, he found the perfect yin to his yang. Not only did his new hire complement his unique style, this Integrator was tough enough to stand up to him.

Why would it be important for an Executive Assistant to be able to stand up to his/her Mega Agent?

In my experience, the Mega Agent has a lot of ideas. A few of them are gems, and the rest are pure crap. But they don’t see that. They think the vast majority of their ideas are viable. The Mega Agent goes to a national conference and comes home ready to start doing five new things because he/she is excited and ready to get going. Let’s face it; if agents truly chased every squirrel that came along, they would go broke.

That’s why it’s important to them to have an Executive Assistant to say no to them. Especially when sales are up and money is coming in. The agent thinks that now there is enough money to do all the things they’ve always wanted to do. But they are not all good things specifically for their business.

Saying no to your agent requires strength and confidence. And the agent is counting on you to keep them from going broke!

A Rare Find

I want you to know how special you truly are.

You’ve heard “good is help is hard to find?” Here’s some data to back that up.

From page 112…

Finding Integrators in the world of small businesses ($2-$50 million) is hard. One recruiter noted, “There’s a gap in the world.” According to one profiling expert, “Only about 22% of the world is even cut out to become a Visionary,” yet the real problem pops up when he explains that only 5.5% of the world is truly cut out to be an Integrator. That leaves us with a daunting 4:1 ratio of Visionaries to Integrators.

Wow! Just 5.5% of the world is truly cut out to be an Integrator? If you are an exceptional Executive Assistant, you truly were hard to find, and the agent who hired you should be damn glad to have you as his/her second in command.

I implore you to go out and get this book. In fact, get two copies; one for you and one for your agent. Read it and discuss it together. There is a plethora of good information, and I think you will each see yourself in the pages of this book. You will come to appreciate each other more. You will understand what it takes to run a business together, and you will make more plans to skyrocket your business to new heights!

As always, find me on Facebook to continue the conversation, or feel free to email me directly…egilbert AT kw DOT com.



1 Comment

  1. Courtney

    Ordered! Thank you for the tip!


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