Purpose or Principles?
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Purpose or Principles?

But what I am now considering is the MTP´s, the Massive Transformative Purposes could be even more effective if formulated not as a final state or utopia, (the transformation you would like to participate in) but as a principle to base all decisions on.

Diego SOROA

"Leave no child behind," what a beautiful purpose for an organization!

This statement can be traced back to the Latin phrase “Nemo resideo" and to the Greek Mythology, where rescuers of those captured by the enemy were considered heroes. "Leave no one behind," is also the sacred rule of the Marine Corps' Personnel Retrieval and Processing Company. In 2001 the US Congress tweaked it to name the "No Child Left Behind" ACT, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Whatever shape it takes, it is undoubtedly a universal message anyone can understand and align with.

The message is emotional, straightforward, and easy to remember, and it has this meme-like quality that does not wear out. It is also a universal call to action and a guiding star for all decisions. That is what we at #ExO refer to as an #MTP or a Massive Transformative Purpose. It is the fundamental attribute of the organizations redefining the rules of the game because it allows them to leverage the abundances of talent and resources out there.

“Zero Collisions” my team and I proposed for a car company. It set the final objective, the utopia that we believed was worth pursuing. “We are in business to save our home planet” is Patagonia´s MTP, and you will find a fantastic consistency on everything they do with that MTP. The word is out there the new "raison d´être" of the organizations is no longer solely the economic benefit of the few, but the purpose and the positive impact on the many.

MTP´s are essential precisely because they are a call to action, that helps the crowds, communities, or ecosystems identify themselves, align and aggregate around a shared purpose. It is not a marketing slogan, and it is not even about your organization, but about the positive changes, you sincerely want to bring to society. Does your organization have an MTP? If you're going to become or to remain relevant, you better start thinking about your company´s MTP and about how to communicate appropriately. Also, as you do, make sure to walk the talk.

Richard Barton, an American entrepreneur, founder of Expedia, Zillow, and Glassdoor is a perfect example of systematic consistency with an MTP. He explains all of his ventures have shared principle, to maximize transparency.

But what I am now considering is the MTP´s, the Massive Transformative Purposes could be even more effective if formulated not as a final state or utopia,   (the transformation you would like to participate in) but as a principle to base all decisions on. “No child left behind” is not as much a final state, as a principle that brings absolute clarity for each step and decision.

I recently ran a workshop together with my friend and colleague @Dea Frankó Csuba with a C02 trading company in Hungary, called Vertis. The objective of the workshop was to introduce the company to the attributes of the Exponential Transformation and to understand how they could apply them to their business model. I was delighted to hear this company had just launched their “WMKP” program. “Would my Kids be Proud” program. This program was meant to set a new sacred rule, a principle ruling their activities. “Ask this question for every decision and investment to be made.” What an amazing policy! I don´t know what the resulting state will be, but I am sure it would be massive and transformative.

“To accelerate the transition towards a sustainable energetic model” is Tesla´s and Elon Musk´s MTP. It is a perfect example of a Massive Transformative Purpose, and arguably it explains a good number of his ventures. However, "to create conditions conducive to live" could be even more comprehensive and more massively transformative than the proposed final state. It still includes his vision of a sustainable energetic model, but also, his efforts to terraform Mars.

This whole idea of the principles vs. the final states made me think of Michael Puett, celebrated Harvard professor of Chinese history and Anthropology. In his book “The Path,” he explains how the final destination is irrelevant compared to the path itself, and the decisions you make along the way. Then I thought of Spanish poet, Antonio Machado: 'Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more".

I am starting to believe the Massive Transformative Principles we choose to shape our journeys are just as crucial as our Purposes. Maybe it is the principles guiding our footsteps; perhaps it is the road and nothing more.

This article was originally featured on LinkedIn on September 10, 2019.

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Diego SOROA

Spanish award-winning innovator, board member, and entrepreneur. He is an adjunct professor at IE and a recognized speaker on disruption and exponential transformation.