Founder's Mentality®

What we do

We work with insurgents, incumbents and companies in between to regain or retain their Founder's Mentality® as they seek scale and efficiency. For incumbent companies, our strategy consultants help leaders revive their original Founder's Mentality before size and complexity drag them down. On the other end of the spectrum, we help insurgents avoid the missteps of the incumbents while achieving global scale.

We offer tailored recommendations that depend on a company's particular path between insurgency, incumbency and bureaucracy:

  • The journey north: The company grows, but maintains a focus on Repeatable Models® that allows it to resist complexity and the forces that push it toward incumbency.
  • The path to renewal: Rediscovering the Repeatable Models behind their original success can help large incumbents sinking under the weight of their own complexity to regain their way.
  • Restoring Founder's Mentality through creative partnerships: Insurgents and incumbents can also find their way by joining forces, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of scale and scope while retaining Founder's Mentality.

Founder's Mentality® Video Library

Our Approach

Bain's Founder's Mentality 100 (FM100) initiative—a close partnership with high-growth companies—and our research on Repeatable Models® provide insights into how companies can maintain or restore their Founder's Mentality®.

For insurgent companies, this means avoiding the forces that push them west toward the incumbent quadrant. We call these forces the "westward winds" and they include leadership and talent challenges, losing touch with the front line and eroding accountability. The six steps on the journey north help incumbents achieve the benefits of scale without sacrificing their Founder’s Mentality.

Just as insurgent companies encounter a predictable set of forces that erode Founder's Mentality as they grow, companies that already have achieved scale and scope at the cost of their Founder's Mentality find themselves subject to forces that threaten to turn the power of incumbency into the pain of bureaucracy. We refer to these forces as the "southward winds", including unchecked complexity, losing a sense of mission, matrix challenges and a fragmented customer experience. The path for incumbents and struggling bureaucracies is clear: maintain, or recreate, the benefits of scale and rediscover the Founder’s Mentality. We think this is best done through Repeatable Models.

With more than 40 years of strategy experience and deep industry expertise, we help incumbents, insurgents and companies in between counteract the westward and southward winds and stay on the path to industry leadership and profitable, sustainable growth.

We develop insights that work for our clients. Our approach and recommendations are highly customized and lead to practical actions. Below is a selection of our experts' perspectives on important issues—for our clients and their industries. Visit Bain Insights and to read more, or stay current on the topics you care about most by downloading the Bain Insights app today.