Using Five Lenses to Restore Disruption-Led Growth

fm-wheel-engine-disruption-led-growth-220x207As an insurgent, you declared war on your industry on behalf of underserved or new customer segments. You were little, but you were the disrupter, ignoring industry boundaries or the rules of the game as defined by the industry incumbents. You thrived in the turbulence you created or exploited. Much of your growth came from the risks you took. You pushed your team to ignore conventional wisdom, and you argued, sometimes at the risk of strategic discipline, that your horizons were limitless. Continue reading

How Micro Battles Can Restore the Customer-Led Growth Engine

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? Continue reading

The Lost Engines of Growth

FM-Wheel-engine-v02All leaders constantly must address the growth paradox: Growth creates complexity, and complexity kills growth. In these blogs, we have talked a lot about the first half of that paradox—that is, how growth creates complexity. We’ve highlighted how companies gain from the benefits of their new size as they grow—including scale and scope advantage, market power and influence—but lose their Founder’s Mentality. And we’ve examined the organizational costs of this loss—namely, speed, employee engagement and clarity about which talent matters.

In the next couple blogs, though, we’re going to focus specifically on the second half of the paradox—that is, how complexity kills growth—by discussing what we call the “lost engines of growth.” Below are the three engines we see companies losing most often. Continue reading

Starting the Founder’s Mentality revolution in a large company

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?” Continue reading

Not so shocking

High VoltageI was pleased to learn recently that my blog post on “shock reports” was one of the five most popular small-business posts published in the Wall Street Journal’s The Experts blogs.

The term shock report, you may recall, was actually a garbled but evocative translation of rapport d’étonnement. It refers to a tool used by businesses, government and academia to tap the insights of new recruits or students by asking what most astonished them after joining the company or institution. The goal is to capture the collective wisdom of first impressions before the organization’s culture begins to shape the way new recruits see things. Continue reading

The elements of Founder’s Mentality: Aversion to bureaucracy

FM-Wheel-Owner-mindset-aversion-220x207This is the last of nine blog posts examining the elements of Founder’s Mentality: Insurgency, frontline obsession and owner mindset. Here, we look at aversion to bureaucracy, one of the sub-elements of owner mindset.

It is appropriate that we close our recent series of posts on the elements of Founder’s Mentality by examining the aversion to bureaucracy because celebrating the heroes in your company who fight bureaucracy every day is essential to maintaining Founder’s Mentality. Continue reading