Why The Founder, the story behind McDonald’s, should be mandatory in every organisation

Door: Joost de Wit
Archive | Highlighted
Gepubliceerd: 22-07-2022
The Founder is the movie about the story behind McDonald’s and is full of inspiring scenes. A very nice one is the one with the tennis court, where the concept method in the kitchen is thought out, practised and adjusted. And this happens until everything is just right. Wonderful! The principles of this “tennis court scene” are inspiring and still applicable today, especially for organisations with ambition. Well, which organisation doesn’t have that? The “tennis court scene” alone should make The Founder mandatory for all employees.
For me, The Founder in general and the “tennis court scene” in particular are very recognisable and inspiring. The essence of our SixBlocks digital platform is based on modelling a sustainable product, customer and process model. This means that every organisation plays its own “tennis court scene”, as it were, in our platform. The result is the balance between a lean and mean change management solution for all future changes and an agile organisation where creativity, freedom and responsibility are key.



The Founder


The movie The Founder tells the true story of McDonald’s in the middle of the last century. Ray Kroc, a milkshake machine salesman, is totally surprised when an order comes in for six machines. Impossible, he thinks, it’s hard enough to sell just one. Ray calls the restaurant that placed the order to check if a mistake has been made. He gets Dick McDonald on the line. He runs the restaurant together with his brother Mac. A mistake has indeed been made. They do not want to order six, but ask for eight milkshake machines. Ray Kroc is totally baffled.



Ray doesn’t understand it at all and can’t believe it; eight milkshake machines with one order. Something very special must be happening in that restaurant. Ray would like to see this with his own eyes and decides to travel to San Bernardino where the McDonald’s restaurant is located. It changed his life. Ray is fascinated by the concept and starts talking to the brothers. Eventually, Dick and Mac join forces with Ray to do business together. It all goes slightly differently.

The film is full of wonderfully inspiring scenes such as “watch out…burgers crossing”, “the golden arches”, “franchising…franchising…franchising…franchising”, “a cross, a flag, and arches…please, do it for America”, “McDonald’s is family”, “it’s called a milkshake Ray…with real milk…now and forever”, “you don’t understand what business you are in”, “even you still don’t understand it…it’s the name”, “one word: persistence”. And I could go on like this for a while. In my opinion, the best scene in the movie is the one on the tennis court. Huh, a tennis court and McDonald’s, how about that?


The “tennis court scene”

At one point, Dick and Mac McDonald tell their back story to Ray Kroc, who is extremely enthusiastic about the McDonald’s concept. The brothers talk proudly about their start with hot dogs, the move to San Bernardino with the whole building over the road and the choice for a small menu with products that sold well: frech fries, hamburgers and soft drinks. The decisive factor was their concept of speed in preparing orders. Ray Kroc listens, becomes increasingly enthusiastic and wants to know everything about it.

Speed becomes the strength of McDonald’s. That was the idea of brothers Dick and Mac. An order must be ready in 30 seconds. To achieve this, the McDonald brothers devised a completely new concept, because everything in the kitchen has to be right. The hamburgers have to be cooked just right, two slices of cucumber, onions, the right amount of sauce, french fries, milkshakes and so on. And the staff, too, must be perfectly attuned to each other, the procedures must be right and the employees must work together in a powerful way. Otherwise, of course, it won’t work. It all has to be exactly right, and all in 30 seconds.



To test this out, they came up with the idea of sketching the kitchen with chalk on a tennis court and practising with the staff there. Where it still doesn’t go well, adjustments are made and it is practised again. And then again, again and again. They keep doing this until everything is right and the entire staff understands all the procedures.

A system is created in which the organisation, the procedures and the machines are precisely balanced to deliver an order to the customer in 30 seconds: the “Speedee Service System”. The question we have as viewers is how the principle of the “tennis court scene” can be applied in the present day, where the balance between optimal digitalisation and an agile organisation is essential. And then SixBlocks comes into the picture.



From McDonald’s to any organisation with ambition

As far as I am convinced, the McDonald’s “tennis court scene” does not stand alone. It is the symbol for the realisation of a strategic development and/or growth ambition for any organisation. It does not matter what that ambition is. Whether it is more customers, a more professional service, new products, adapted services or a combination of several aspects; it does not matter. In practice, a situation arises that is recognisable in almost all organisations.

The ICT landscape in organisations is often very complex, with inflexible systems and fragmented knowledge among employees. Implementing changes costs far too much money and takes far too much time. The existing balance between the organisation and the systems is not sufficient to achieve the strategic development and/or growth ambitions. The foundation is not right. This must change.

Therefore, in my opinion, it is essential that organisations with a strategic development and/or growth ambition play the McDonald’s “tennis court scene” themselves. They must go back to basics and be prepared to invest in creating a sustainable foundation from the roots. This will create the right balance between the right systems and the right organisation, a foundation that is ready to realise the strategic development and/or growth ambition.

Well, actually, every organisation has an ambition. At least, if they don’t want to succumb to the clinging to the current way of working based on the “because that’s how we always do it” principle. Therefore, in my opinion, the movie The Founder is valuable for all employees in every organisation and should be compulsory. Absolutely!

Still, it is easy to say that the “tennis court scene” in an organisation with ambition is in these times. It is a time when everything moves very quickly, digitalisation plays an essential role and employees want to be inspired by impactful, cool and achievable challenges. Precisely for these reasons, it is interesting to take a closer look at SixBlocks. In fact, the chances of achieving more than just the strategic development and/or growth ambition are very realistic.


From organisations with ambition to SixBlocks

Sustainable and extreme simplification of business processes, that is what the SixBlocks platform does. With the aim that customers are proud because they themselves exceed expectations. In the platform, organisations themselves realise their sustainable foundation from the roots up. Therefore, it can be compared to the “tennis court scene” of McDonald’s and we use this metaphor in our market approach for the definition of the ideal target group.




The unique feature of the SixBlocks platform is the Business Rules Canvas section. In it, organisations create their own sustainable foundation from the roots on three levels:

  1. the floor plan – with the overview of the product, customer and process model plus the existing systems on one A4 sheet
  2. the memo board – with the visualisation of the functionality from the floor plan in six blocks
  3. the details rules – with the coloured details for each memo



Around it, the relevant context is provided, the foundation can be changed in the past, present and future, and the total overview is available via SixBlocks Maps. This means that the foundation is continuously adaptable, is completely transparent and can therefore be viewed by the entire organisation. Moreover, the connection between the three levels and the six blocks is very easy to understand for all employees in the organisation. The foundation from the roots is therefore sustainable and simple. Because it is simple, the Business Rules Canvas also ensures speed. Changes are solved with significantly smaller teams and with significantly more speed than in the current ICT landscape. This makes the philosophy of our platform comparable to the 30-second philosophy of McDonald’s “Speedee Service System”.


Ecosystem with agile change management

The result is an inspiring ecosystem with lean and mean agile change management for all future changes and an organisation where creativity, freedom and responsibility are central. In this way, the “tennis court scene” of McDonald’s becomes the standard in every organisation, because changes are nowadays the order of the day and follow each other faster and faster. With the SixBlocks “tennis court” …uuhh platform…a sustainable strategic development and/or growth ambition is realised.

Finally, The Founder is simply a very fun and (de)exciting movie full of surprising twists. Of course, this is also a very good reason to watch the film with family and friends and enjoy it.

If you want to brainstorm with me about The Founder, McDonald’s, the “tennis court scene” or maybe you are curious how you can realise the ambition in your organisation with SixBlocks, you can always e-mail me.



This article is written by:

Arvind Jagesser
Chief Executive Officer (Milvum)
Joost de Wit
Architect in combining human creativity and AI for sustainable business transformation.