Summary of The Founder’s Mentality

How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth

Harvard Business Review Press, more...

The Founder’s Mentality book summary
Tales of visionary founders and their tactics offer lessons in growth and in avoiding its entrapments.


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Bain & Company partner Chris Zook, an expert in discovering sources of “profitable growth” for his clients, and James Allen, co-leader of Bain’s Global Strategy practice, are the best-selling co-authors of four books on “how to win the external strategy game.” Here, these forward thinkers address the fundamental conundrum of growth: In the process of growing, companies face proportionally increased “complexity,” which can stifle that growth. Zook and Allen describe three predictable crises related to growth. The first, “overload,” occurs when expanding organizations try to cope with scaling up but only generate internal strife. The second, “stall-out,” happens as “organizational complexity” increases rapidly, causing a sudden – and often permanent – slowdown in growth. And third, “free fall,” is an abrupt halt of primary market growth so sudden that management can’t cope with it. Companies that avoid or overcome these crises and embrace continued growth share one crucial commonality: a driven, visionary “founder” whose “mentality” permeates and shapes the organization’s culture.

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About the Authors

Bain & Company partner Chris Zook focuses on finding clients their next source of “profitable growth.” He co-authored the bestsellers Profit from the Core and Repeatability with James Allen, who co-leads Bain’s Global Strategy practice and founded Bain’s Founder’s Mentality 100, a worldwide network of high-growth firms led by their founders.

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