Large enterprises have been responding to developments for some time, mainly by applying the methods of startups such as lean experimentation, design thinking, and agile development. While these tactics are necessary and useful, when used alone they serve as Band-Aids to the problem.

The change that enterprises need to undergo in order to regain their growth trajectories is more profound, and it must start at the very top. To generate new growth, CEOs must stop thinking of themselves as chief managers and start thinking of themselves as refounders.

Refounders are leaders who, despite having started the company, think with the mindset of a founder. They do not focus their energies on incremental growth through endless optimization, but instead leverage their company's assets to build new offerings, move into new markets, and create next-generation solutions.

Shift Your Mindset

Strategists in mature businesses think in terms of total addressable markets (TAM), which allows them to do business and plan accordingly; refounders think in terms of total addressable problems (TAP). They ask, How many people have a problem that this solution could address? Besides exposing existing markets, a TAP mindset uncovers potential opportunities before there's a market for them.

For example, in the 1980s a standard TAM view of cell phones would have been a modest market consisting of mainly lawyers, business leaders, and doctors - after all, they were the demographic using the first generation of phones. A TAP view, by comparison - asking "Who has problems that could have an address?" - would have been suggesting more potential markets, from one country to another. connections. A TAP worldview allows you to discover future markets instead of developed ones.

Do not Seek Consensus

When it comes to decision making, big-to-be-sized enterprises look to gain consensus as a way of minimizing the risk of failure; in contrast, refounders recognize that new opportunities outside of the realm of consensus. As Marc Andreessen, or venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, says, "If something is already consensus, then money will have already been flooded and the profit opportunity is gone."

Knowing that, refounders seek, as Jeff Bezos says, to disagree and commit - acknowledge differences of opinion and move forward together. Grounding decisions in evidence-based conviction allows them to move faster while at the same time for the consensus-driven world.

Embrace Productive Failure

The mantra "fail fast" is everywhere. But this mantra misses the point entirely: Failure is not something to be aimed for or celebrated; it's a tool for getting to the truth.

Refounders who think in terms of TAP and who bet on their convictions use productive failure to guide them to the right solutions. As Eric Ries teaches in his books The Lean Startup and The Startup Way, productive failure, and moving forward quickly, understanding that you are moving forward. success.


With a productive failure approach, making decisions about the right path forward - as quickly as possible. And refounders understand that whoever learns the fastest wins. (Refounders also reward those who learn fast through productive failure, rather than firing them and letting those learnings walk out the door.)

Use New Metrics

A typical way that mature companies are new initiatives. But new, growth-minded initiatives are fundamentally different from big businesses trying to get bigger. New initiatives are not businesses per se; they're hypotheses about future businesses. As such, it is deadly to hold them to standard big-to-bigger growth metrics. They require their own set of metrics that will enable them to grow and flourish.

Metrics for new businesses should focus on growth, user engagement and user satisfaction. As Nadella says, customer love is the leading indicator of success. Refounders grasp their growth strategies from core business metrics until the time is right.

Develop a Portfolio Strategy

Finally, in contrast to the typical big-company "Hail Mary" approach to new growth, in which all hopes are pinned to a single initiative, refounders apply a portfolio strategy. This involves thinking as a venture capitalist more than a builder, by articulating a solid growth thesis. For example, they ask what the future looks like and what their business should thrive in that future. Then, after answering those questions, they are a number of simultaneous bets, which leads to deep and rapid learning.

As their learnings multiply, refounders are able to make better-informed bets. When applied continually, the approach and the once-in-a-decade miracle success and supplies a pipeline of regular, sustained successes.

In order to refound their organizations, CEOs should be strong and bold. Without these changes, efforts to achieve growth capabilities at large companies will ultimately break into big-company thinking and consensus-driven risk aversion.


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