What is Founder’s Mentality®?

Most fast-growing companies aspire to global leadership in their industries. They often start as insurgents: fast, agile and adaptable. They are focused on their customers and their local markets. They hate complexity.

But to win in the long term they need the cost advantages and scale of global incumbents.

In too many cases, they accept a troubling trade-off: In achieving scale, they lose what we call the Founder’s Mentality—the very core strengths and values that helped them succeed.

That isn’t surprising: In fact, it’s the history of many successful Western businesses. But it’s often where the growth story ends. For leaders of large incumbent companies, the dilemma is how to revive their original Founder’s Mentality before size and complexity drag them down. Leaders of insurgents, meanwhile, are searching for a different road to growth—one that rejects the missteps of the incumbents, yet delivers global scale. Both are possible.

For CEOs, the question is: Which path is my company on? Is it moving from insurgency to incumbency? Incumbency to bureaucracy? Or is it on one of the paths to a Great Repeatable Model?

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