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The Agency of Purpose: Catalyst of Cultural Transformation

The Gallup State of the Global Workplace 2023 report reveals that a significant majority of the global workforce feels disconnected from their jobs, highlighting the urgency for organizations to address this issue or risk losing top talent to more purpose-driven companies.

Luca Leonardini
Luca Leonardini

People expect their jobs to bring a meaningful sense of purpose to their lives.
However, the Gallup State of the Global Workplace 2023 annual report reveals that 60 to 80% of the global workforce feels disconnected from their current job or even uncomfortable.

Organizations need to help their employees meet the need to bring meaning to people’s lives or be prepared to lose the best talent to companies that will.
However, so many organizations seem incapable of leveraging the cultural transformation triggered by the ever-faster development of accelerating technologies, and their average lifespan is rapidly dropping to 12-10 years.

To me, if this is not the perfect time to act for individual and organizational purposes, I am clueless about when it will be.

Evidence shows that creating strong links to individual purpose benefits people and organizations alike—and it will be vital for both towards learning to thrive in a VUCA world.

Purpose acts as the North Star, and during tough times, it helps people and organizations face up to uncertainties and navigate them better. This is why getting them to think about their “purpose in life” today is more important than ever.

After all, if we don’t reflect on life’s direction and meaning when life as we know it feels so threatened, when will we?

This is the reason I was compelled to write “Codify Your Purpose.”

I wanted to help people understand that authentic individual purpose is foundational to identifying and enabling an organization’s purpose.

I wanted to share what I learned from my discovery journey with simple tools to help people on their path to codify individual purpose.

"Codify Your Purpose" is endorsed by Salim Ismail and 7 other world-class business leaders who acknowledge the need to bridge the gap between personal and organizational purpose.

I cannot help but think about the OpenExO global community.

The reason to exist of the OpenExO community is to build a better future together, leveraging the power of the ExO Model, a cultural transformation model designed to change the way people think and work in an organization.

In our global community, the Massive Transformative Purpose is the first and only mandatory exponential leverage and the gateway to becoming an Exponential Organization. (“The Exponential Organization is a purpose-driven, agile, and scalable organization that uses accelerating technologies to digitize, dematerialize, democratize, demonetize its products or services, resulting in a 10x performance increase over its non-ExO peers.” - from Exponential Organizations 2.0, by Salim Ismail and Peter Diamandis)

Therefore, the MTP must never be a quick-fix solution in the ExO model. At least, it shouldn’t.

However, in my experience in the OpenExO community, it’s not uncommon to hear talking or reading about the MTP as a quick-fix solution. People skip the topic to jump to the other exponential leverages of the ExO Canvas.

It’s safer and easier to play with technology than with people.

On the marketplace, you read about projects with “a fairly generic MTP” or with “a temporary MTP”. Almost all new opportunities are about finding tech experts or implementing technologies with clearly no roots in a defined MTP, let alone in the organization’s culture.

The MTP is seen too often as a transactional effort – something to uncheck from a to-do list. As a result, these purpose statements feel unauthentic, with no roots in the organizational culture.

As an OpenExO community-certified member, this concerns me for two main reasons:

  1. When the MTP is underestimated, the successful implementation of the whole ExO Model is at risk, and as a global community, we have the obligation to make sure the ExO Model delivers on its promise.
  2. Most importantly, not giving the MTP its natural importance shows it’s still alive, a dangerous connection with the old mindset that we want to change as a global community.

This raises an even deeper concern: I wonder what kind of meaningful digital transformation we can deliver without acknowledging the need for a cultural change first, even within our community.

What kind of meaningful transformation can bring to the world projects with “a temporary MTP” or with “a fairly generic MTP”? Are we doing storytelling for internal use, or are we making a dent in the universe?

Let's pause for a moment: so far, I first framed the problem I want to solve, highlighted the solution I designed, and defined a few concerns. Now, I want to go deeper.

What if I ask for your individual purpose statement?

You probably have already codified your individual purpose statement. Still, many people are not familiar with it.

What if I add a second question: “What is your vision?”

I hope you know it. But I bet almost everyone is going to be puzzled by that because they miss the boundary between these two very different concepts.

And what if I add a third question: “What is your mission?”

How many people do you think can answer these three questions? I mean, can clearly articulate the three concepts (purpose, vision, mission) without overlapping the different meanings?

Very few, for sure. The good news is that’s fine.

Purpose, vision, and mission are three very different concepts that define who we are as individuals and as organizations in the most authentic and accurate way.

Not everybody is supposed to know the difference between them. And that’s OK.

To give you an example, a friend of mine, founder and CEO of a creative agency in my hometown, when asked for his company's purpose, started answering: “Our vision is …” And when at the end I reminded him I was asking explicitly for the purpose, he stared at me and told me: “You’re right. They are not the same. I’ve never figured out the difference between them, until now. Thank you.”

Not knowing the difference between these concepts is okay. You just need a tool to learn and figure it out. This is what the Purpose-Driven Business Canvas is all about: it does that, and it does it beautifully.

The Purpose-Driven Business Canvas is a visual thinking tool.

Let’s go back to OpenExO.

In our global community, we know the ExO Model is meant to transform the way people think and work in the organization, so before anything else, it's a cultural transformation model, and without cultural change, there won’t be any meaningful digital transformation.

How can we make sure that the members of our community are the catalysts, the “Agents” of the cultural transformation organizations so desperately needed around the globe to thrive in an ever-faster VUCA world?

What makes our global community so special and so unique in relation to the many existing communities that, in one way or another, want to contribute to building a better future?

I don’t believe “leveraged assets”, “algorithms”, “engagement”, “dashboards” or other exponential leverages (from SCALE + IDEAS) are what makes us, “US”.

I believe purpose does and that the Massive Transformative Purpose is the ultimate differentiator of our global community if all members are aware of being the “Agents” of an epic global cultural transformation.


OpenExO, as a purpose-driven global community, can bring cultural transformation to organizations like no one else is capable of.
We need people with a clear sense of agency of purpose.

We need “Agents” of the ExO Model who spread their emotional energy that irradiates from living intentionally and meaningfully with their purpose instead of working with “interfaces”, “staff on demand,” or “autonomy” unrelated to MTP and organizational culture.

Two years ago, I founded the Purpose-Driven Academy, an open project designed to help people and organizations clarify purpose and walk them along a natural path to understanding that individual purpose is the prerequisite to identifying and enabling organizational purpose. (McKinsey - Help your employees codify individual purpose, or watch them leave)

“Codify Your Purpose” is the first foundational block of our cultural transformation projects, and we use it to help people, teams, and organizations understand that the MTP is the cornerstone of the cultural transformation we want to bring to the world and the gateway to build an exponential organization.

We just need to get the discovery journey started with its simple approach based on the iteration of a natural discovery path.

The natural path to purpose at Purpose-Driven Academy.
The blueprint of each cultural transformation project at Purpose-Driven Academy.

The second foundational block of our cultural transformation projects is the Purpose-Driven Business Canvas, the visual thinking tool designed to help people or teams clarify five basic concepts and their individual or organizational manifesto.

Mission44 is the charity foundation created by Sir Lewis Hamilton, F1 driver.
Purpose is the gateway to becoming an exponential individual or an exponential organization.

And I am here to awaken that sense of agency around purpose within our community. To support members in getting their purpose right, preparing for the future, and living intentionally and meaningfully with it.

I am also here to drive teams and organizations of the OpenExO Marketplace through their purpose discovery path.

Ultimately and most importantly, I am here to spread the sense of agency of purpose to support the catalysts of the ExO Model cultural transformation to build Exponential Organizations starting from well-rooted and defined MTPs.

Uri Levine, entrepreneur, founder and CEO @ Waze.

#WorkplacePurpose #EmployeeEngagement #GlobalWorkforce #CulturalTransformation #ExponentialOrganization #MeaningfulWork #PurposeDriven #AgentsofChange #OpenExOCommunity #IndividualPurpose #OrganizationalPurpose #CulturalChange

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Luca Leonardini Twitter

ExO Certified Sprint Coach, Consultant, Trainer & Ambassador. Business Innovation Architect, Culture Design. My purpose is: "Accelerating the business mindset's change globally."