The Founder’s Mentality is Bain & Company’s latest book by Bain global strategists and New York Times bestselling authors Chris Zook and James Allen, published by Harvard Business Review Press.
Bain & Company’s research found that when companies fail to achieve their growth targets, 90% of the time the root causes are internal, not external – increasing distance from the front lines, loss of accountability, proliferating processes and bureaucracy, to name only a few. The book focuses on the barriers to profitable growth and identifies three internal crises that every company will go through at predictable stages as it grows.
Even for healthy companies, these crises, if not managed properly, stifle the ability to grow further – and can actively lead to decline. The key insight from Zook and Allen’s research is that managing these choke points requires a “founder’s mentality” – behaviours typically embodied by a bold, ambitious founder – to restore speed, focus, and connection to customers: an insurgent’s clear mission and purpose; an unambiguous owner mindset; a relentless obsession with the front line.
The Founder’s Mentality demonstrates the strong relationship between these three traits in companies of all kinds – not just start-ups – and their ability to sustain performance. Through rich analysis and inspiring examples, this book shows how any leader – not only a founder – can instil and leverage a founder’s mentality throughout their organisation and find lasting, profitable growth.
By Chris Zook and James Allen