Harnessing the Power of the Founder's Mentality
Most executives manage their companies as if the solution to that problem lies in the external environment—find an attractive market, formulate the right strategy, win new customers. Fact of the matter is that 90% of the challenges to growth are internal: increasing distance from the front lines, loss of accountability, and proliferating processes and bureaucracy, and many more. Also many companies experience a set of predictable internal crises, at predictable stages, as they grow.
The companies that surmount challenges of growth and demonstrate higher levels of business and ﬁnancial performance have maintained attitudes and behaviors most commonly found in young companies run by strong, successful founders. These attitudes and behaviors are speciﬁc and quantifiable, and is called the “Founder’s Mentality.” Companies that maintain these traits as they grow tend to move and adapt faster, be more open-minded, and anticipate and adapt to the future better than those that lose the Founder’s Mentality as they age.
The three primary traits of the Founder’s Mentality:
- Sense Of Insurgent Mission –
This is characterized by a sense of higher purpose, a long-term horizon, and a few spikes in capabilities and assets that make a company special and are the centerpiece of its business model.
- Obsession With The Front Line –
This is an intellectual curiosity about every detail of the customer experience and of how everything in the business works. Executives use instincts formed at the ground level to make every decision; frontline employees are empowered and are the heroes of the business; and the customer voice is central to all decisions.
- Owner’s Mindset –
This is driven by a powerful sense of responsibility for employees, customers, products and decisions; an antipathy to bureaucracy; and a bias toward speed in decisions and actions.
By cultivating these three traits, companies overcome the crises that can stifle even the healthiest company’s ability to grow further—and actively lead it into decline. Thus, by understanding and practicing the Founder’s Mentality, the leaders can be empowered to control the destiny of their companies.