May 6

Introducing the Bain Micro-battles System℠

By | May 6th, 2017|Founder's Mentality defined, Insurgency, Micro-battles, Net benefits of scale and scope, Southward winds, The Journey North, The path to Scale Insurgency, Westward winds|0 Comments

Micro-Battles-220x207

 We’ve been doing less blogging lately because this Founder’s Mentality® topic has become quite hot, and we’re working with a lot of business leaders on how to become scale insurgents. The biggest new developments involve micro-battles, and the purpose of this blog is to get you up to date. We’re also going to step back to provide context and lots of links to previous blogs if you’d like to explore further. […]

May 3

Build Learning Systems To Reconnect with Customers and the Front Line

By | May 3rd, 2017|Fragmentation of the customer experience, Frontline obsession, Lost voices from the front line, The path to Scale Insurgency|0 Comments

Learning-systems220x207For many people in business, the “experience curve” has become an artifact of the manufacturing age. While it explained a lot about market supremacy when huge, stable producers like General Motors and Caterpillar led the economy, it is less useful as a predictor of dominance in the digital world.

The concept is simple: The more a company does of something, the more it learns and the better it should get at doing it. The resulting efficiency becomes a major competitive advantage, which only increases as the company gets bigger and gains more experience. In modern industries characterized by turbulence and technological disruption, however, a feisty insurgent can very quickly render a company’s accumulated experience irrelevant. And with the global shift to services, where unit costs are less of an issue, the relationship between experience and efficiency is not so clear.

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Dec 29

State the Obvious

By | December 29th, 2016|Death of the nobler mission, Insurgency|0 Comments

switch-220x207I’ve just returned from Argentina where I had a chance to meet with the management team of Mercado Libre, Argentina’s largest company by market cap, and one of four Argentinian unicorns (insurgent companies valued at greater than $1 billion). As often happens in these meetings, I was able to see Founder’s Mentality in action: In this case, Marcos Galperin, the CEO and founder, explained that what really defines his team is its profound belief in technology and its ability to continually disrupt industries. The Mercado Libre story also provides a simple lesson: Talk about the obvious. More on that in a moment.

First, a bit of background on the company. A group of Stanford Business School students founded Mercado Libre in 1999 in a garage in Buenos Aires while finalizing their studies.  The founder, Marcos Galperin, is still the current CEO. The company has emerged as the largest online retailer in Latin America and Galperin is recognized as one of the world’s top entrepreneurs. In addition to being named Argentina’s Entrepreneur of the Year (2012), Fortune named him one of the top entrepreneurs under age 40 in 2010, an honor he shared with Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) and Marc Andreessen (Netscape co-founder).  […]

Dec 28

FxE=R: Finding the Right Balance

By | December 28th, 2016|Founder's Mentality defined, Frontline obsession, Net benefits of scale and scope, The curse of the matrix, The Journey North|0 Comments

Finding balanceEarlier this year, I used the fading summer months as an excuse to choose a nice pub in the bucolic London suburb of Richmond to meet with Richard Rose and Noel Collett, the respective chairman and chief executive of Crawshaws. What I didn’t expect in such leafy surroundings was a math tutorial, but I came away with a new understanding of a simple equation: FxE=R.

Let’s back up. I have long been fascinated by Crawshaws, which is essentially a company of local butchers. Using the language of the Founder’s Mentality, you can tell its story simply. Crawshaws’ insurgent mission is to redefine the fresh meat industry by combining the best of a local butcher shop (community orientation, entrepreneurship and devotion to serving local consumers) with the best of a chain grocer (size, sophistication and central buyers who can secure great prices on fresh meat). The franchise players—the people with the mission-critical roles in such a company—are the local butchers (who deliver intimacy) and the national buyers (who deliver scale). How you create a company that strikes the right balance between them was the key question on our agenda. […]

May 2

Reversing Stall-out

By | May 2nd, 2016|Southward winds, Video|0 Comments

fm-crisis-stallout-220x207The prospect of stalling out is frightening for executives. We define “stall-out” as the moment a growing company with a clear growth engine begins to show signs of slowing down amid increasing organizational complexity.

And that’s scary, because most companies falling victim to stall-out never fully recover. […]

Apr 8

How Micro-battles Can Restore the Customer-Led Growth Engine

By | April 8th, 2016|Fragmentation of the customer experience, Frontline obsession|1 Comment

fm-wheel-engine-customer-led-growth-220x207As an insurgent, your company declared war against your industry on behalf of underserved customers. What you lacked in size, you made up for in speed, with every function focused on customers and the front line, working together to tackle customer issues quickly. This relentless experimentation not only helped your customers, it also produced a constant stream of innovation that was a major engine of organic growth.

But as you grew bigger and more bureaucratic, internal issues stole attention from customers. You now spend more time optimizing functions (and negotiating among them) than you do with your customers. Innovation is handled by a centrally controlled pipeline far from the front line. Customers are neither involved… nor welcome. And growth grinds to a halt.

Sound familiar? […]

Jan 25

Starting the Founder’s Mentality revolution in a large company

By | January 25th, 2016|Insurgency, The curse of the matrix, Uncategorized|0 Comments

revolution-in-large-companyI love entrepreneur Steve Blank’s phrase “hacking the corporate culture.” While he focuses on how to increase agility and adaptability to increase innovation, I think the phrase applies more broadly. Over the past two weeks, I was at two workshops (one in Europe, the other in China) at the division level of huge multinational corporations. In both, the question discussed was: “How do we create change in a large organization were we are not at the top and don’t completely control our destiny?” Or, as Blank might ask, “How do we hack the corporate culture?” […]

Dec 15

The elements of Founder’s Mentality: Bold mission

By | December 15th, 2015|Death of the nobler mission, Founder's Mentality defined, Insurgency|0 Comments

FM-Wheel-Insurgency-bold-mission-220x207This is the first of nine blog posts examining the elements of Founder’s Mentality: Insurgency, frontline obsession and owner mindset. Here, we look at bold mission, one of the sub-elements of insurgency.

As 2015 draws to a close, we thought we’d offer you another round of lessons from the Founder’s Mentality 100 (FM100). The FM100 is Bain’s initiative to assemble some of the top insurgents in the world into a single forum to co-create solutions to what we call the growth paradox: Growth creates complexity, and complexity kills growth. […]

Nov 30

Bus No. 4: Keeping the insurgency alive

By | November 30th, 2015|Death of the nobler mission, Lost voices from the front line, The Journey North|0 Comments

BusHow do founders keep the insurgency alive in their organizations? This question was at the heart of our 19th Founder’s Mentality 100 (FM100) meeting, held in Johannesburg, and the conversation benefited from the experiences of two extraordinary former occupants of Bus No. 4.

It turns out that Adrian Gore, the founder and CEO of Discovery, and Robbie Brozin, the founder of Nando’s, shared the same bus to the King David School as kids. (For the record, both of them wanted to point out that Robbie was somewhat older!) Thank goodness for that bus driver—he had in his care the future founders of two South African companies that ultimately went global and illustrate how founders keep the insurgency alive as the company scales. […]

Nov 25

Where the heck are my seals?

By | November 25th, 2015|Death of the nobler mission, The erosion of accountability|0 Comments

FM-blog-post-11-24-15-220x207No, this isn’t a blog about careless trainers at SeaWorld. You are about to learn far more about splash-proof electrical sockets than you ever realized you needed to know.

But before we get into that, let’s start with a question that inevitably comes at the end of almost all conversations with CEOs on Founder’s Mentality: “OK, so if you were me, what would you do starting tomorrow?” […]

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