Why Lean Management and the Founder Mentality are the Future of Leadership

5 minutes read

More and more companies are beginning to embrace concepts such as lean management and "act like a founder" - here's why.

The business landscape is undoubtedly changing for every company. Over a year or two, a company may fundamentally look and operate entirely differently. More often than not, this amount of change calls for a change in leadership style. Trends point towards the fact that a future leader will need to possess a new set of skills and mindset to lead effectively. That is why many are pointing to lean management and the founder mentality that comes with it as the future of leadership.


What's The Fuzz?

The lean management concept is a popular term used for leaders as its core values positively impact companies' overall performance. However, with popularity comes vague definitions. Put simply, lean methodology consists of 3 very straightforward ideas:

1. Deliver value from your customer's perspective

2. Eliminate waste (things that don't bring value to the end product)

3. Continuous improvement

By implementing the lean methodology, you will get the opportunity to improve your company's performance and align with the output's quality and profitability. With this approach, the essential responsibility for a leader is to serve as a role model for finding new ways of working. The leader needs a perspective that lets them see improvement opportunities for the organization and the entire range of innovations that people are starting to apply both inside and outside the organization. The leader's task is to bring those insights together so the system can keep improving.

In addition to lean management, there is the idea of maintaining a founder's mentality even when you keep growing. A leader doesn't necessarily need to be one of the leaders in the first place. The founder's mentality is not about the individual founders per se but rather about the attitude and behavior typically found in today's sustainably successful companies (think Google and its notorious loyal and high-energy employees). Many believe that having a company-wide founders mentality will help you keep teams and individuals focused on what made the company successful in the first place.


Lead Management

Having the Right Mindset

There are no right or wrong answers to what we should be teaching leaders to prepare for the future. But lean management and having a founder's mentality is certainly a step in the right direction. Let's take a look at why.

With lean management, you optimize the process by reducing time spent on non-value-added tasks, causes of poor quality, and complications. As a result, you will be able to see what's worth your while and what's not. What's necessary to remember is the significant keyword "Lean," which means "no frills." At first glance, this raises the idea of removing an unnecessary feature or embellishment (reducing something to the essential), which forms the basis of this method. However, it is also important for a leader to remember that lean does not mean cutting back everywhere. For example, it is crucial to ensure optimal employee working conditions, as this helps support the success of each employee. Additionally, leaders should not cut back on value-adding initiatives that help foster customer satisfaction.

In short, lean management focuses on and invests in value-adding activities while cutting through the noise. So how does this complement the founder's mentality? There are three key traits of a founder's mentality that help clarify this link: An insurgent mission, frontline obsession, and owner's mindset.


Meeting with 4

The Benefits

Let's investigate what you gain from operating with a founder's mentality. First and foremost, it provides you with the opportunity to take ownership over your tasks and instill equal ownership within your team. As a result, your organization can increase productivity to move projects forward and benefit customers. This ownership provides a foundation for accountability, leading to better brand and internal relationships. A founder's mentality also helps you benefit from the economies of scope. For example, dispersed yet accountable teams can learn from each other's skillsets and experiences. By having team members act as founders for your projects, you not only learn from each other but you may also eliminate bottlenecks due to increased autonomy. This increased autonomy may result in faster product and service rollouts. While you may gain scale and scope within your team, be aware that scope may do more harm than good if you lack awareness. Therefore, do your best to be mindful of your wins and learnings through monthly or quarterly reflections with your team.

Now, what are the benefits of implementing lean management methods? First, you will focus more on concentration by prioritizing what brings value and what can wait - hopefully, this becomes team culture, meaning your team can do the same. Since employees who focus on creating value will be more productive and efficient because they are not distracted by unclear tasks, team productivity and efficiency lever will be higher. Lastly, basing your production on actual demand allows you to use only the resources you need to tackle the task at hand.

To Wrap Up

By implementing both lean management and the idea of maintaining a founder's mentality, your company and staff will become much more efficient, flexible, and able to respond to customers' demands more quickly. Furthermore, the principles from both methodologies will enable you to create a stable production system, which will improve the overall performance of your company. We hope this article helps you on the way, and if you have any inquiries, you can always start a conversation with us!