Chris Zook is co-author of “The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth.” The work leading to “the founder’s mentality” started for Chris about 5 years ago. It is predicated on, “What are the deep root causes that allow some companies to stay young, stay energetic, and be sustainable in their performance over time?”
Only 1 in 10 companies sustain a modest level of growth over a decade. Chris, and his co-author James Allen, found that when the founder of a company was still evolved and their presence was still looming, companies had about three times higher performance than other companies where the founder had stepped away. Chris elaborates on their research process and the steps he and James took in writing “The Founder’s Mentality”.
A deep sense of insurgency, frontline obsession, and an owner’s mindset are the three characteristics that make up the founder’s mentality. Keeping an open mind at all times and willingness to adapt to your company’s growth is key. When companies fail to be open minded, they become short term minded. Chris has found a great response from this way of thinking. He has now written 5 books over the last 12 years on this topic and all have been extremely well received, especially his latest work, “The Founder’s Mentality”.
People are searching for happiness in their work and Chris is helping outline how to get there. He helps people own the customer service experience in their company. Chris and Michael use Nokia as a great example of an industry leader that failed to adapt. Nokia was the first to use email on phones, they were huge in cameras, and had the first smart phone but they failed to be innovative enough and became institutionally closed minded. Ultimately what looked like a tech company that could not have died, ended up committing suicide.
Chris uses Starbucks as another example of a company that started something special, but as soon as the company moved away from what Howard Schultz, the founder, had started they began to crumble. After profits started to take a hit, Howard Schultz was asked to come out of retirement and revive the company. Starbucks was self inflicting wounds that were unraveling the core of the Starbucks experience. Michael and Chris wrap up the podcast giving a few more examples of companies that caught what he calls the “founders disease” or lost the owners mindset.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio: