No matter what level of growth your business is in, knowing how to stay front and center on your business core while growing is crucial to your business legacy. "The Founder's Mentality" provides the key to why most businesses get it wrong and the mindset you need to get it right.
The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth attempts to fix the paradox of growth when it comes to business growth. That paradox starts off like this:
1. Business launches and survives the first year
2. Business starts getting bold and a little more complex
3. Business is blindsided by new business or loses touch with original customer base or the market
Think about Blockbuster, Kodak, or the Borders Group.
The book claims that not only is the cycle predictable. It’s also fixable if you have the right mindset.
The Founder’s Mentality: What is the Book About
The book clearly states its purpose and audience. The Founder’s Mentality is written for businesses (startup or mature) who need to get their internal resources (employees, leadership, and money, etc.) in shape before their profits and business takes a nosedive.
The Founder’s Mentality suggests that there are two categories of pressure any businesses faces, internal and external pressure. Most experts, newspaper articles, and blog posts focus on the “external pressure” category, or the need to get more. That “more” can be more customers, profits, more market share or whatever, but it’s the things you see most commonly in an annual report.
While external pressure is important, the authors argue that the “internal pressure” category is also just as important. Internal pressure is the need to keep your resources (employees, leadership, technology, planning) focused and productive to your core purpose. When one of these things is off, the chain reaction leading to collapse is imminent.
Keeping this collapse at bay, according to The Founder’s Mentality begins with maintaining a certain mindset (the “founder’s mentality”) while the business is growing and adapting. Businesses, the authors note, become more complex as they grow. The problem is that these businesses lose focus and energy as layers of bureaucracy, fixed processes, and “frozen thinking” leadership comes into the mix.
As explored in the book, maintaining the original mindset that started the business (curiosity, focus on productive budgets, ingenuity) is the key that keeps the business together. Businesses can and show grow, the authors argue, but they need to “keep their head in the game” to survive competition, unnecessary complexity, and getting out of touch with the very customers they set out to serve in the first place.
Chris Zook and James Allen both work for Bain and Company, a global business strategy and transformation. This the third book they have collaborated together in addition to global strategy projects.
What Was Best About The Founder’s Mentality
The best part of the book is the authors’ ability to break down the complex (but common) issue of business growth. There are plenty of books that provide advice on how businesses can start growth. There aren’t many books that provide advice on how to maintain growth in an unpredictable advice without losing the core of your business.
What Could Have Been Done Differently
The Founder’s Mentality provides a lot of much-needed advice for business strategy in the modern era of unpredictability. That advice, however, is rather broad and vague and could benefit from a little more specificity, especially from a small business perspective. It’s one thing to suggest that a company reduce obstacles to employee productivity, but more detail needs to be given to how this translates to day-to-day operations, particularly for a business that isn’t global in reach.
Why Read This Book
If you are a business in the early-growth stages or believe that having an “early-growth” mindset will be crucial to helping your business, then The Founder’s Mentality will provide the vision that you need to begin planning. The book ‘s authors conducted extensive research on companies in the U.S. and abroad and use that information to provide basic, down-to-Earth principles that can immediately shift your brain (and that of your employees) into a new way of thinking.