When corporate executives talk about creeping bureaucracy they tend to sound like frustrated gardeners battling an infestation of kudzu—cut it back today and it will reappear tomorrow. We recently assembled some of Japan’s most successful corporate leaders in Tokyo for a discussion of the Founder’s Mentality and how companies can maintain it as they grow. All agreed that taming bureaucracy was one of their stiffest challenges.
“When you grow,” said Asahi Group CEO Naoki Izumiya, summing up the group’s common view, “you inevitably become bureaucratic, and it happens for all the familiar reasons while you are still growing.” Continue reading
Does it take the founder to maintain—or rediscover—the Founder‘s Mentality? The answer is no, but the question raises an important point about the challenge of sustaining the core strengths and values that power a company’s success as it grows to scale.
The truth is, professional managers run most large companies, not the original founder. Early leaders define a growing company’s bold mission, identify its most important markets and relentlessly focus the entire organization on delighting its most important customers. But very often, it falls to a successor to maintain the company’s true course as it matures and encounters the many forces that naturally threaten to slow its momentum. Continue reading