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

The elements of Founder’s Mentality: Relentless experimentation

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

Leaders of insurgent companies are endlessly restless. They are determined to shape the future and are committed to thrive in turbulence, not fall victim to it. This requires constant innovation around the customer and the customer offering and, more fundamentally, around the business. Continue reading

The elements of Founder’s Mentality: Frontline empowerment

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

As companies grow, one of the first casualties of the resulting complexity is the front line. But that doesn’t happen at companies with high Founder’s Mentality because one of their defining characteristics is a frontline obsession—along with an extraordinary sense of insurgency and an owner mindset (see the figure below for the sub-elements of each). Continue reading

The elements of Founder’s Mentality: Customer advocacy

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

Readers of this blog know that we define companies with high Founder’s Mentality as those with an extraordinary sense of insurgency, a frontline obsession and an owner mindset. Each of these characteristics contains its own sub-elements (see figure below), where we truly see the Founder’s Mentality come to life. Continue reading

Six lessons from the hardest job on the “court”

stopDuring our two months of workshops exploring how large, incumbent companies can regain their Founder’s Mentality, we spent a lot of time talking about the importance of defining your “kings” (those most accountable for delivering your customer promise) and the “court” (those whose primary goal should be to support the kings). As we’ve written many times in this blog, clarity of this sort ensures that the whole organization is customer focused, either directly or indirectly. Continue reading