We live in a world where our work is a core pillar of our lives. Because firstly, it gives your life purpose and meaning and secondly, everyone needs to make a living.
So where does work actually come from? Companies, projects, and institutions that provide jobs have people behind them that took risks and keep taking risks by founding these organizations and therefore enable others to work with them and for them on their visions: Their founders.
These founders hire teams that then come to work everyday to strive sometimes hard, sometimes less hard to achieve set goals, come up with ideas, execute campaigns, and overall help those organizations grow. If founders are smart, they split the cake as fairly as possible and draft good ESOP programs to enable their teams to participate in the outcomes in case the organization is successful.
I am one of these founders. I was lucky enough to have had an idea on how I want to see the world changed for the better, and somehow managed to assemble a team and enable them to create and execute (albeit sometimes more and sometimes less smooth so).
Founder mindset is a state of mind, not a title
Anyways, when thinking about my team's impact and participation in our outcomes as a business, I realized something: despite having a flat hierarchy and striving to be humble I still felt like something’s not right. Like why am I the “founder” while the others are “team members”. Because we are hiring people that have an entrepreneurial mindset and have either found something in the past or are striving to do so in the future, to me, we all felt equal and the same.
So it always felt a bit odd to me and almost exclusive to the “founder” while the rest of the team that I rely on in order to co-create our vision, our strategy, and our products are “non-founders”. Of course, I understand that I am the last in line and in charge, that’s all good, but I still expect loads from my colleagues and I believe that’s one of the reasons why they work with me. I expect them to grow. I expect more of them that they thought they could deliver and because of that they stretch and push and go beyond their own limits and become stronger.
What people with a founder mindset do differently
Basically I expect the same of them as I would expect of myself, just maybe in not as many roles and not at the same time. I expect them to:
⁃ Own their results
⁃ Find solutions to the problems they see
⁃ Pull in other people that can help them
⁃ Develop their own ideas and pitch them to the team
⁃ Step up w/o being afraid they step on someone toes
⁃ Pickup shit that falls down
⁃ Develop their own voice and use it to fight for things they believe in
⁃ Commit to goals that feel and look fucking scary
⁃ Push themselves harder to overcome their own fears and boundaries
⁃ Does not wait till someone designs their role for them, but proactively lead that process and build the understanding of the team of how they contribute
⁃ Take responsibility for their own lives, when it comes to development and growth, as well as health and well-being and protect their boundaries
⁃ Create the vision of their ideal job and role and adjust it over time, as well as be bold and transparent about it
This made me realize:
If they do all these things, there is literally no difference between me, the ‘founder’, and the rest of the team. If they do all these things, they become founders of their part of the whole. They are the founders of their campaigns, their projects, their designs, their features, and their products. We are a collective of creators that are aligned around a shared vision: to create a future in which we are all leaders and every team is a great team to work in and a shared mission: to help everyone to develop the mindset to make that happen: the founder mindset.
Develop your founder mindset and success will follow
So: everyone can be the founder of their lives, their projects their hobbies their jobs. Whatever it may be, you can be the last in line, and in fact, you already are. Once you realize this power, the world becomes your playing field and you play the game to win, instead of waiting until someone else leads you to success.
Does this mean that you should not work for someone else ever again? Well maybe :) but maybe you meet another founder that is building a beautiful product that helps us to create a better world and maybe you will want to join their tribe and become a founder with them, contribute your ideas and hard work, and then benefit from the fruits of your Labour.
More practically this means that every time you take a job, you are actually choosing to support a cause, a vision, and if you are intentional about it, you will potentially contribute to something in the world, that you don’t want to happen.
So in that sense, you transcend the concept of a ‘job’ and by joining someone else you actually become the co-founder of their mission, product, and team.
Enter your founder mindset. When you are in a founder mindset, you are in control.
Instead of worrying about getting a job, you worry about finding the right problem to work on. Instead of stressing about how your boss sees you, you stress about getting the results for your team, because you know that nothing speaks louder than the impact of our work.
Instead of playing politics, you focus on your users and customers because you know that only when you solve their problems will you be successful.
Approaching your role with this mindset (instead of an employee mindset) will help you to achieve more than you ever imagined.
Pick the pack you want to run with and push with all your strength for something you believe in. And make sure to negotiate a good ESOP package ;)
I’m the co-founder and CEO of Bunch — an AI leadership coach that helps you to become a great leader by developing a Founder Mindset. You can get it on your iPhone and soon on your android device as well!