The Importance of Founder’s Mentality

Michaela Weller

by Michaela Weller

16 March 2016

I was intrigued by a Tweet reading ‘Great Companies Stay True to the Spirit of Their Founders’ from Harvard Business Review. It piqued my interest as we’ve recently been reshaping our board and leadership team, with promotions and new team members joining us from outside Leading Edge.

Like all growing businesses with their founder still in a pivotal role, we’re challenging ourselves to retain the heart and soul of Leading Edge, but in a scalable, replicable form!
In the article, Allen and Zook have identified three components of what they’ve called Founder’s Mentality, stating ‘We believe that a company’s best hope to sustain profitable growth is to stay true to the characteristics that great founding management teams naturally possess.”

So what is the Founder’s Mentality?

  1. Companies should continue to view themselves as business insurgents, fighting on behalf of an underserved customer;
  2. They should have an obsession with the front line, where the business meets the customer;
  3. They should foster an owner’s mindset, which keeps them fast, bold, and infused with a deep sense of responsibility for long-term results.

I’d add to that a fourth aspect (or maybe it’s inherent in the third?) – harnessing the natural enthusiasm, belief or passion that drove the business inception in the first place. That’s not just about responsibility for results, but drives a desire for innovation, creativity, and a future based hunger and ambition for growth.

The concepts are tangible enough I think that most of us would be able to recognise them in leaders, businesses and organisation’s without too much research (you could probably litmus test your organisation right now!)

What could be the impact of engendering a Founder’s Mentality throughout the leadership team in your organisation?
How much more purposeful and motivated could your leaders be with this mindset?

M&S founders Michael Marks and Tom Spencer:

Michael Marks & Tom Spencer

Michael Marks & Tom Spencer

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