Peter Slagt: How to Amplify Success in Micro-battles

In order for micro-battles to be effective, leaders need to ensure that micro-battle teams can flourish in their organizations.


Peter Slagt: How to Amplify Success in Micro-battles

One way to keep your organization's Founder's Mentality® active is to make sure that your micro-battle teams thrive. Peter Slagt, a partner with Bain's Results Delivery® practice, explains how company leadership can help these teams succeed.

Read the Bain Brief: Micro-battles and the Journey to Scale Insurgency

Read the transcript below.

PETER SLAGT: Growth creates complexity. And ultimately, that complexity kills the growth in organizations. So high-growth companies have that issue. How do I keep my founder's mentality vibrant in the organization, and not become this bureaucracy?

And so we've developed this micro-battle approach to enable our clients to regain that founder's mentality. Micro-battles are cross-functional teams that focus on your most important strategic priorities, and they are executing their tasks at pace.

The task is developing a prototype, a winning prototype in the marketplace, and then being able to scale that prototype throughout the organization. The scaling here is the biggest challenge. Not so much developing the prototype—that is the relatively easy part. The scaling part is a difficult one. You never have actually failed pilots. You always have failed rollouts 18 months down the road.

The biggest challenge in such a program is the leadership team, the amplifier team that actually needs to make sure that those micro-battle teams can really flourish. Three things that they need to do. First of all, they need to show leadership. And that means get out of the way, enable, empower your micro-battle teams to be really the best that they can be.

Secondly, they need to show learning behavior. Move from control to trust. Don't be in a protective state to actually say, "This will never work, I tried that in the past." But really be open for any possibilities and make sure that the micro-battle leaders are really the best that they can be in their organization.

Finally, scaling behaviors. How do you scale both the prototype in the organization, but also, how do you scale all the new ideas that are being developed throughout the micro-battles in your organization? Ultimately, this comes down to moving from what I call pyramids to pancakes. How do you move from a command-and-control hierarchy type organization to a fast-paced, flexible organization that ultimately helps you to regain your founder's mentality, and ultimately, helps to regain your insurgent mission in the industry?

Founder’s Mentality® is a registered trademark of Bain & Company, Inc.

Results Delivery® is a registered trademark of Bain & Company, Inc.

Read the Brief

Micro-battles and the Journey to Scale Insurgency

Discrete, fast-moving initiatives bring focus to strategic choices and help companies rediscover the art of getting stuff done.

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Founder's Mentality

Fast-growing companies can become global leaders without losing the values that helped them succeed. Bain’s research explores how large incumbents can also reignite their growth by recapturing their Founder’s Mentality®.


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Bain Micro-battles System® is a registered trademark of Bain & Company, Inc.