The Amplify Team: Key Skills

When we introduced the notion of micro-battles, we identified two teams. The first is the Win-Scale team. It’s in charge of running micro-battles on a daily basis. The second is the Leadership (Amplify) team. This is the senior leadership team. It’s charged with reviewing the progress of micro-battle teams regularly (every three to four weeks) and managing the portfolio of micro-battles. We also introduced five specific roles of the Amplify team (see Figure 1). We noted that across these five roles, the Amplify team should act as the role model for what it means to be a scale insurgent. The purpose of this blog is to go into more detail on what skills are required to play these roles.

The Amplify team as role model

Let’s tackle the role model bit first. As a senior leader on the Amplify team, your job is to role model the behaviors of a scale insurgent. This demands two things: that you enable the individual micro-battle teams to act like founders, and that you bring these founders the best of your company’s ecosystem, without letting the rest of the company slow them down. Simply put, your job is to “amplify” the results of the micro-battle teams. As a first step, don’t do the opposite of amplify—don’t reduce, slow, diminish or stop their efforts. As a second step, be conscious of what you communicate in review sessions. You should demonstrate that you’re there to increase the impact of the team. That’s your voice.

Let’s get more specific about the kind of role modeling that really helps. The exam question is, “How do a group of senior incumbent leaders help a micro-battle leader get on with it and win the battle without a lot of interference or second-guessing?” To get this right demands three sets of skills: listening, giving and coaching, and celebrating.

This ain’t that complicated, so we’ll get through it quickly.

Founder's Mentality®


Want to learn more about the journey to scale insurgency? Explore the Bain Micro-battles System℠, step by step.

Listen (or, less politely, get out of the way)

It’s really hard to identify the most important failure point in a strategic initiative and develop a prototype solution to test with target customers. You might be extremely good at this yourself, or you might be terrible. But it’s the Amplify team’s challenge to develop hypotheses about the failure point and the best prototype for each battle. Then the micro-battle leader will come back to you after each four-week cycle with an evolved hypothesis based on market tests, research and deeper learning. You’ve empowered the micro-battle teams to become the experts. Now your job is to:

  • Be in the moment. Listen to each team. Ask smart questions so you can better understand what they’ve learned.
  • Understand the facts. Probe on customer feedback. Focus on how the prototype performed against the “facts” you all agreed would best measure success. Encourage the team to deliver the bad news that will lead to the next pivot. Discourage the positive spin they’ll be tempted to give you.
  • Collect what you need for subsequent pattern recognition. We have a set of questions you’ll want to ask the teams during your learning sessions. The most important are:
    • Resources. Whom do you need in terms of talent? Are there multiple demands on each person’s time? There will be, because as we argue later, “everyone wants Brent.”
    • Timing. When will you be finished with prototyping and ready to move to testing on transferability and repeatability? When will you be ready for rollout? The answers to these questions will help you manage the portfolio.
    • Rollout. What’s your preferred rollout model?

Give and coach (or, less politely, do what they ask)

The overriding message here is to make it worth their while to meet with the Amplify team. Your job is to:

  • Respond to their specific requests with specific answers. Help make the micro-battle team’s problems smaller so you know you can deliver what they need. Setting up what we call a “learning center” is helpful here. If the micro-battle team asks for help on a pricing issue, resist the urge to talk about big problems with pricing decisions across the organization. Just work as a team to solve the specific issue, but track on a flip chart how you solved it. In learning, you can come back to patterns.
  • Give advice if they ask for advice. Deciding on the next pivot for the micro-battle prototype is hard. The team might have a strong hypothesis, but also be looking for feedback. If you can help, help. But if the team isn’t asking for help, don’t offer a lot of opinions about alternative solutions.
  • Speak with one voice. If you’re the sponsor for a particular micro-battle, it’s important that you’re on the same side of the table as the micro-battle team, not in opposition. “We” means you and the micro-battle leader, not “we the executive committee.” It’s “we’re all in this together,” not “we’re here to approve what you’re doing.”
  • Be quiet unless you’re in a unique position to help. In our winning skills blog post, we talk about the need for micro-battle team leaders to focus the group on “deep work” and avoid the distractions of organizational noise. Don’t be part of that noise. Short meetings are better than long meetings. Fewer voices are better than input from everybody on the executive committee. You’re not paid by the word.

Celebrate (or, less politely, clap a bit when all else fails)

Fight each micro-battle as a microcosm of the company you want to become. You’re trying to create teams of insurgents and have those teams influence everyone around them. You should be working hard to find examples (both positive and negative) of this in action. Your job is to:

  • Celebrate with the team. Each four-week cycle is a chance to learn. Most likely, the micro-battle team has failed to nail the prototype in a given round, but it has learned a lot. Celebrate the failure.
  • Single out role models within the team. Ask the team leader which team members are doing incredibly well and deserve thanks. Then thank them.
  • Find heroes outside the team. Ask the team leader who outside the team has done extraordinary things to make team members’ lives easier. Then thank those people, too.

The main thing that will go wrong is not that you can’t role model the behaviors of a scale insurgent, but that you fail to shed all of your old incumbent behaviors, especially when you let your guard down. Recognize that the biggest risk in a micro-battles review meeting is that you’ll be part of the problem. So, when in doubt, stay out of the way.

The skills of the Amplify team

Now let’s move from role modeling scale insurgency to the more specific skills you’ll need in order to play the five roles of the Amplify team. These roles and the skills required are summarized in Figure 2. Let’s review them in detail.

Role 1: Set strategic intent

There are three major skills you’ll need to help you translate strategy into a set of micro-battles and mobilize the right teams with the right mission.

  • Establish the right “choreography of transformation.” We use the word “transformation,” because that’s what you’re ultimately setting out to do—transform a struggling bureaucracy into a scale insurgent. We use the word “choreography,” because a great leader works out the “dance steps” required to transform the company. One of the most important questions to consider is, “How can you blend horizontal and vertical initiatives?” In a horizontal initiative, the value comes from working across one level of the organization. Designing a new operating model is horizontal; you need to rethink how the whole organization will work. Establishing a new strategy is mostly horizontal—you need to think about where to allocate resources across business units. In a vertical initiative, the value comes from connecting senior leadership directly to the front line and the customers it serves. An initiative to win 100% share of a customer’s wallet is vertical. An initiative to respond to a competitor’s promotion in a single channel is vertical.

    In our experience, business leaders overuse horizontal initiatives and underuse vertical ones. In the name of transformation, they launch a dozen horizontal initiatives, which tie up senior leadership in bureaucratic battles. Customers and the front line are seen as distractions. As you think about the dance steps, it’s important to launch horizontal and vertical initiatives. This ensures that you’re constantly dealing with frontline and customer issues. It ensures that you pursue revenue initiatives, not just cost ones. It brings new voices into your discussions and reconnects you to the front line of the business. Micro-battles are great vertical initiatives.

  • Move from strategy to first failure point. I was participating in a CEO panel a couple years back, and one CEO noted, “Isn’t it odd that the bigger you get as a company, the more a single rule applies: Every strategic initiative takes exactly 18 months … to fail.” He went on to say that executive teams can be strategically lazy. They create chapter headings for strategy, such as “win in China.” Then they throw the strategy over the wall to the rest of the organization and expect them to sort out what that actually means. Remember our Fred’s Grog example. Without guidance, the organization proceeds with the relatively easy part of strategy, buying brands for distribution scale or building out a salesforce. But they hold off on things where success is less clear, like figuring out how their premium beer brand, Fred’s Grog, can beat other imported beers in China’s most affluent bars. And so, 18 months into strategy implementation, they move on to the trade-promotion strategy for Fred’s Grog and face early failure. The whole organization begins to lose confidence in the “win in China” strategy.

    It’s hard to translate strategic intent into a first failure point. It takes a lot of industry experience and wisdom. And yet, isn’t this precisely the job of a senior executive? Isn’t this what years of experience are for? It’s the job of the senior team to define the first draft of the micro-battle mission. You must create a hypothesis for the first failure point and prototype. You must create a hypothesis for the repeatable model and the scaling model. This is hard to do, but consider this: It’s a lot harder if your most important strategies fail after 18 months.

  • Manage leadership supply and connect with your franchise players. In addition to defining the micro-battle mission, you need to form the micro-battle team. This demands that you identify your franchise players. These are the people in the organization who deliver the benefits of scale and intimacy to the customer. This demands that you identify the real stars among your franchise players, so they can lead your first battles. This also demands that you fight to free up their time, so they can run these battles. When you’re running micro-battles at scale, you’ll find that half the job of portfolio management is talent management. You’ll be constantly moving talent on and off battles as they progress from prototyping to scaling. You’ll need to know where your stars are, and you’ll need to motivate them to be on this journey with you.

Role 2: Double down on winners

Your second role is to review micro-battles at the end of each cycle and act like a venture capitalist. Like a venture capitalist, your job is to help the micro-battle teams get the resources they need and unblock obstacles to their success. And like a venture capitalist, you’re there to help the teams pivot when they’re stuck. You’re also there to double down and support winners, acting like a great founder. In working on our book The Founder’s Mentality, we met with one founder who talked about his use of the “Power of 10.” He argued that his ownership—it was his company and his money—separated him from a typical corporate CEO. When he found a winning idea in his company, his attitude was to go all in. He’d ask, “What could you do if I gave you 10 times the resources that you have now? What could we do if the executive team spent 10 times more time on this one initiative than any other?” The skill you want to develop is the skill of amplification. How can you help turn winning ideas into massive opportunities for the company?

Role 3: Accelerate cadence

Your third role is pattern recognition. You’re going to be working with a lot of micro-battle teams, struggling through winning and scaling. Along the way, you’re going to start identifying many common themes. As you address these patterns, you’ll develop six specific skills to accelerate the impact of your battles.

  • Manage the learning center. Elsewhere, we described the learning center, a single room where all micro-battle reviews take place. You record all the progress, issues, lessons and commitments that emerge from these reviews. You post these on the four walls so everyone knows them. You review these flip charts constantly with the teams, so they can learn from each other and track the commitments the Leadership team has made to each micro-battle team. Running a portfolio of micro-battles will create huge opportunities for the whole company to learn what it means to be a scale insurgent. You must record this journey so everyone benefits.
  • Facilitate peer-to-peer learning. Learning also happens outside the learning center. In fact, most of the learning will happen within micro-battle teams. During reviews, you may see two or three teams facing the same issue. Connect these teams and encourage them to sort out the issue and return with lessons for everyone. You want to avoid traditional “hub-and-spoke” learning systems. In these systems, multiple teams report to the center, then the center collects lessons and transmits them back out. Instead of that, help teams find one another and work together to solve problems.
  • Solve the “everyone wants Brent” issue. This is a concept coined by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford in their book The Phoenix Project. “Everyone wants Brent” is a problem that every organization faces. You start multiple projects and then find they’re all stalled because everyone wants Brent on their team. Brent has specific and detailed expertise on an issue, and only he can solve this issue for each team. Initially, you think of him as a “star”—he is obviously valuable to the company because everyone needs him. But, in fact, Brent has a performance issue. He hasn’t scaled his expertise to match the demand. He’s holding back the company by not sharing his knowledge. The Phoenix Project offers a solution to the Brent problem. Assign Brent two emerging stars—let’s call them Jane and Simon. From now on, Brent isn’t allowed to do anything by himself. He must tell Jane what to do, and Jane must do it. Simon is there to record Brent’s instructions to Jane, creating a playbook and training manual on Brent’s expertise so others can help do his job. You’ll encounter a lot of Brents on this journey, and you’ll need to find a lot of Janes and Simons to scale your Brents.
  • Enforce the “solve the specific 10 times” mantra. We ask leaders to impose a rule in the micro-battle review sessions: You must solve a specific issue 10 times before you’re allowed to debate the ideological. What do we mean by this? Elsewhere, we’ve pointed out that in insurgent organizations, the people who get ahead make problems smaller. In incumbent organizations, the people who get ahead make problems bigger.

    Here’s one example. Someone says, “We have a China pricing issue.” A founder would shout back, “We don’t have a China pricing issue, we have a problem with three products in four stores. I want everyone on the phone with our product leaders and store managers tonight until this problem is solved.” She made the problem smaller, and now it’s solvable. In an incumbent organization, someone might shout back, “We don’t have a China pricing issue, we have a big organizational problem in the way our product leaders and store managers make pricing decisions. We need an organizational review to sort this out.” Now, this may be right, but there’s an issue here. The one thing that won’t get solved soon is the pricing of three products in four stores.

    Let’s move from this example to your role in review meetings. You need to encourage your team to make the problems raised by the micro-battles team specific and solve them. You don’t want everyone to make the problem bigger, which adds to your to-do list and slows the teams. So, each time an issue comes up, log it on a flip chart. For example, you could have one flip chart called “Pricing.” The team comes in with a China pricing problem and you solve it by calling the product leaders and store managers. Record how you solved it. When you have solved pricing issues 10 times in the review session, you should say, “Folks, we’ve been dealing with pricing issues for a while now and we have a pretty good track record of solving them. But what can we do more broadly to stop this from happening again?” By the time you allow a broad debate, you’ve solved the issue 10 times. The team will be more informed. The team will have a good track record of solving problems. Now it’s time for broader action.

  • Learn to identify organizational bottlenecks. Here’s a good starting list of the common problems your teams will bring to you.
    • Insufficient resources. They can’t mobilize to deliver the win or to scale beyond the initial micro-battle. Micro-battles have simply been added to everything else the company is doing. No one is shifting funds to winning micro-battles that are ready to scale.
    • Inability to focus. They’ve got too many initiatives overwhelming mission-critical employees. They said they were going to refocus on micro-battles, but the same people still have to do their day jobs. They can’t seem to free up anyone.
    • Risk aversion. Micro-battles underwhelm because too often, teams trim their ambition to avoid failure or they aren’t empowered to think and act big. You say you want to tackle the hard things first, but you cling to old mindsets about failure. Your micro-battle teams feel this and start shrinking their ambition. They refocus on the easy things.
    • Organizational complexity. The company has too many nodes of decision making to really empower the leaders of individual micro-battles. As a result, micro-battle teams spend too much energy working the system. This robs them of the time they need to test real prototypes in the market with real customers.
    • Weak business plan. The teams tend to launch the wrong micro-battles and either overinvest or underinvest in them. The lack of strong results then undercuts momentum. They just aren’t very good at this.
    • Missing capabilities. They can’t mobilize the skills required for success (they don’t have the digital guru to deploy in China, for instance). Many battles require the same set of capabilities, and the company is simply missing them. No one is accelerating the recruitment of a new talent pool.
  • Celebrate doers. Finally, you need to identify the heroes who emerge from each micro-battle and celebrate their results. You’ll have many unsung heroes—the folks working behind the scenes to make things happen. There will be someone on your finance team who worked all night on a cash flow model. There will be someone in legal who helped sort through a regulatory hurdle. Or a salesperson who called in some competitive intel to help shape the next prototype. These are people using their precious discretionary energy to help your teams succeed. Find them and celebrate what they’ve done. One founder noted, “I am judged most by who I celebrate as the heroes of the company. I work tirelessly to identify the right people and tell their story. Their stories shape and enforce our culture.”

Role 4: Deploy scaling community

This might be your hardest role and will involve the most new skills. You’re being asked to build a scaling capability for the firm. You want the ability to scale any winning prototype across the enterprise. This demands four specific skills.

  • Identify members of the scaling community and bring them together. There are three communities that matter in scaling micro-battles. The first is the Agile/disruptive/innovator community that generates new products and services, new business processes or new business models. The second is the expert/execution community. It establishes playbooks and routines, and brings huge benefits to the company by flawlessly executing. The third is the scaling community. This community takes innovative solutions and turns them into something that the expert/execution community can roll out. It’s the bridge between innovation and execution, between winning and scaling. This community doesn’t get much attention, yet it’s critical to operating Agile methods at scale.

    We’re working with companies to identify members of their scaling community. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is most companies have a lot of people who could be part of the scaling community. They have the talent. The bad news is most companies don’t develop or nurture this talent. In fact, they often see these people as underperformers. Members of the scaling community are the ones who always try to figure out how to scale a good idea. Unfortunately, this means they ask the innovators the tough questions. They’re viewed as being difficult, when in fact they’re trying to help create a bridge from innovation to execution. Your job is to find these people and develop a community of like-minded talent. Deploy these folks onto micro-battles at the right time to help scale winning models.

  • Master the “three levels” of micro-battles. Increasingly, most scaling issues come down to technology. You’ll find that deployment works best if you can scale a technology solution rather than a paper system. You’ll find that many initiatives can’t scale because of an IT issue. It’s best to know this from the outset and get your micro-battle teams to solve technology issues early. We’ve borrowed an approach from our Innovation practice that we call the “three levels” of micro-battles. Level one is customer experience. Ultimately, every good micro-battle will improve some aspect of the customer experience. Be specific about what that is. Level two is asking, “To change this customer experience, what business processes must change?” Next ask, “To change this business process, what must happen with our IT systems and/or current technology offer?” Ask the teams to explore this on Day 1 and continuously revise their answers. This ensures that the team addresses technology issues early, but in a focused way. They’re not dealing with technology as a big theme. They’re working out which solutions need to be developed to improve specific business processes, which are critical to improving the customer experience.
  • Embrace Repeatable Models®. We’ve run hundreds of micro-battles, and one constant theme across companies is the difficulty of moving from prototype to repeatable model. Here’s the issue. A prototype is a very specific solution for a very specific customer. Your job is to make it simple and exact. We’re not trying to bring every bell and whistle to every customer need. We’re trying to bring the minimum necessary to solve a small group’s needs. This allows us to move fast, test, learn and adapt. But to scale a prototype, you must test for transferability (what works in one place can work in others) and for repeatability (the expert community can deploy the solution at normal resource levels). It’s the micro-battle leader’s job to help a team bridge from prototype to repeatable model. But, you can help too. As you review multiple micro-battles, you’ll start to see patterns of what works well and what doesn’t. Here are some tips to help you on this journey.
    • Understand the “unit of scaling” early. From Day 1, make sure the teams understand the unit of scaling, in other words, who will be rolling out the initiative. By understanding who will do the rollout, you can better understand the resource constraints. For example, we worked with an Asia consumer products company that had a new pricing proposition for one of its products. To roll it out, the sales team had to explain the initiative in some detail to store managers. Early on, the sales team saw a prototype, and the feedback was clear: “We do not have time in our day to meet with a store manager and spend five minutes describing a new pricing idea.” The team quickly realized that the unit of scaling needed to change. So it worked closely with the wholesalers, who were able to discuss the new proposal with their cash-and-carry customers.
    • Stick to first principles. It’s easy to overspecify as you move from prototype to repeatable model. You design a great winning prototype, so when you test for repeatability, you argue that every aspect of the prototype must be part of the repeatable model. In our experience, it’s better to return to first principles—what you’re trying to accomplish in all markets and how you can ensure that everyone adopts the broader goals. For example, we worked with a European company that developed a great prototype to manage its products online. It was a clear playbook that resulted in double-digit growth in each product area where it had been tested. The company wanted to roll the model out across all markets and all products. In the first rollout wave, executives quickly realized that the playbook was too specific. Not all steps applied to all products or markets. As users became frustrated with the details, they lost sight of the broader goals of the rollout—to improve the way they marketed products online. When they relaunched, they created a simpler playbook of core principles with several appendices of detailed best practices. The user had to adopt the core principles, and could opt in to the details if they applied. This second go at deployment was successful.
    • Involve other markets early. In general, you know from the outset where you’ll roll out a winning prototype in the next wave. If you’re developing the prototype for the UK, you can be pretty sure that the next wave will involve Germany and France. If you’re working in Florida, you’ll probably roll out next to a couple of other big states, like California or Texas. The lesson is simple: Involve the next wave of markets in the early prototyping. You’ll come up with better answers, and the subsequent rollout will be much easier if the next wave team feels it had some say.
    • Think about normal resourcing from Day 1. We all know what happens with bad pilots. They are overresourced, get loads of senior time and attention, and always succeed. Then they fail at rollout because you took a solution that worked with super resourcing and rolled it out with normal resourcing. “Normal” is a vague word, but we simply mean that ultimately, solutions will be handled by an average salesperson during an average working day. The average salesperson faces severe constraints and has a specific skill set. Consider these constraints and skills as you design the prototype and repeatable model.
  • Understand scaling models and how they apply. In our blog on scaling skills, we pointed out that the right rollout model depends on the nature of your repeatable model. In every learning center, we affix the rollout two-by-two chart on the wall and ask micro-battle leaders to mark the box that currently represents their view of the appropriate rollout solution (see Figure 3). As they do, you begin to see micro-battles clustering around certain solutions, which leads to a discussion about what you can do to facilitate those models or encourage others. In these moments, you need to consider three key things:
    • Selecting the right rollout model. You’ll begin to see clusters of micro-battles with same rollout model. Companies and micro-battle teams like to think that their initiatives lend themselves to solutions deployed through playbooks. But we believe the senior leadership team should work hard to challenge this assumption for a couple of reasons. First, a repeatable model usually demands a higher degree of tailoring than the playbook allows. Second, rolling out a playbook solution—even a fairly standard one—tends to require more buy-in than you’d think.

      The go viral rollout model relies on the buy-in of many and is significantly more flexible. And there’s another key benefit: It encourages folks within the organization to challenge initiatives and think of ways to improve them contextually. Companies become great scale insurgents because they’re filled with mavericks, not bureaucrats. So we like it when you have to win over advocates through the go viral model. It honors the maverick and says, “We get it. You need to be convinced.” This is by no means an invitation to lock up the initiative in endless rounds of debate. But it does mean the initiative must live on its merits, not a directive from above.

      The exception is when a micro-battle focuses on one of the company’s core capabilities. Then, a standard playbook or playbook plus model is often the best fit. We’re talking about situations where the micro-battle targets a critical repeatable model that will define a company’s competitiveness—making it essential that everybody approaches it the same way. Anheuser-Busch InBev, for instance, has Repeatable Models for the mission-critical capabilities of marketing, plant optimization and zero-based budgeting. Applying these models globally has been essential to transforming a long list of acquisition targets into the world’s lowest-cost brewing company. AB InBev wasn’t shy about building these models on a set of nonnegotiable behaviors and metrics and demanding that everybody get on board. But these processes were also designed to empower individuals and the front line by pushing accountability deep into the organization and rewarding those who take personal responsibility for results.

    • Defining freedom and framework. The phrase “freedom within a framework” is widely used in business these days. The idea is to empower people to make decisions and operate freely, as long they stay within the boundaries of a commonly accepted framework. The degree of freedom or the framework aren’t the issues. As the AB InBev example shows, you can have a high degree of freedom, even within a fairly rigid framework. The key is clarity.

      Most companies operate with an astounding lack of clarity about what constitutes freedom and framework in a given situation. Everyone knows the big things; the framework includes very clear guardrails around a global standard of legal conduct or very specific shared values. It might include things such as brand guidelines or product attributes. But once you go beneath the surface, it gets fuzzy. You may have the freedom to set prices at the store level within certain guidelines, but those guidelines aren’t clear or don’t anticipate the exceptions that always crop up. You may have freedom to solve a customer’s problem within a specific set of circumstances, but then a thousand other initiatives get in the way of doing so. What exactly are you allowed to break?

      The common pattern among micro-battle teams is to assume that the framework is much more defined than it is. It’s also common for one framework to collide with other frameworks that the micro-battle teams didn’t know about or anticipate. This is something the Leadership team should be ready to challenge. Clarity is essential to effective scaling.

    • Sequencing. While we talk a lot about empowering micro-battle leaders to run their initiatives as they see fit, only senior leadership at the center can form an integrated view of how to sequence the battles. Sometimes, it’s fine for each micro-battle to move at its own cadence. Other times, you’ll want to take control of the pace of rolling out battles. There are positive reasons for this; maybe you want to build the rollout of several battles around an upcoming leadership event. There are also negative reasons; you’re hitting the Christmas season, and your sales teams must focus on their day jobs of handling the rush. There are issues of momentum; you need some early wins, so it makes sense to bring an especially promising micro-battle forward. There are issues of managing the portfolio of leaders; you want to accelerate Freddie’s work on your current micro-battle because two months later, you’ll need him to shift to your China micro-battle. You’ll be constantly triaging battles and people in a world of scarce talent. This is the reality of running a micro-battle portfolio, so you need to have these discussions from Day 1.
Selecting the right rollout model can create pull for the initiative

Role 5: Unleash full potential

Your fifth role is using the lessons from micro-battles to unleash the full potential of the whole enterprise. This demands two skills.

  • Rethink the dance steps. In a sense, we’re back to the beginning. We asked you to consider the choreography of your transformation from the outset. We asked you to consider how micro-battles can fit into your overall strategy. We asked you to think of micro-battles as a set of vertical initiatives. These micro-battles are surgically focused on your most important customers. Your most important franchise players are leading these battles. By helping these teams, you’re working directly with the doers in your company, the stars who make things happen. Because you’re running micro-battles like a microcosm of the company you want to become, you’re learning how to act more like a scale insurgent. Inevitably, you’ll collect insights on what needs to happen next on your transformation. This might lead you to launch new micro-battles. This might lead you to pursue new horizontal initiatives—to rethink the strategy, to redesign the company’s operating model, to add new capabilities, and so on.
  • Become a scale insurgent. As you consider the next steps in your transformation, act like a scale insurgent. First, think about how you can give your people a sense of “being a founder.” Let them take full ownership for pieces of the puzzle and mobilize their teams like insurgents—those at war against their industry on behalf of underserved customers. But second, think about how you can bring these teams the benefits of your scale, market power and influence across the ecosystem. Think about what you can do to empower teams to win and scale. Think about what you can do to amplify their results. Ultimately, this is what the Bain Micro-battles SystemSM is all about—winning, scaling and amplifying. You’re critical to this journey. We hope we’ve convinced you that this journey will bring new challenges and ultimately new skills. These are the skills of the scale insurgent.

Micro-battles and the Learning Center

The learning center is the site of all Leadership meetings and the key symbol of your company’s commitment to micro-battles.

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