In the ever-evolving landscape of business and organizational growth, the concept of a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) stands as the cornerstone for exponential success. MTP is not merely a statement of intent but the very essence of an organization's existence. It is the beacon that illuminates the path and fuels every decision, every action, and every aspiration of the company. MTP has the power to elevate organizations from mediocrity to greatness. Yet, at the heart of MTP lies a significant paradox.
The central dilemma revolves around distinguishing between two facets within us: the small self and the Higher SELF. The small self is often preoccupied with immediate concerns – survival, public image, personal preferences – and is entangled in the world of opinions, judgments, cynicism, and fear. External influences easily sway this self, and as a result, the MTP it conceives can be tainted by negative forces.
In contrast, the Higher SELF embodies our loftier potential, harmoniously aligned with our purpose for being on this planet. We are not here solely to manage bills and consume pills, though many of us find ourselves trapped in this cycle. An MTP originating from the Higher SELF is less susceptible to external influences and negativity.
Let's explore a couple of real-life examples that illustrate the distinction between MTP driven by the small self and that powered by the Higher SELF:
- Small Self MTP - Enron's Downfall: Enron's former slogan, "Respect, Integrity, Communication, and Excellence," appeared to be a Massive Transformative Purpose. However, this MTP was largely driven by the small self and a fixation on profit at any cost. Enron's leaders, driven by greed and unethical practices, neglected their ethical obligations, ultimately leading to one of the most infamous corporate collapses in history.
- Higher SELF MTP - Patagonia's Commitment to the Environment: Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company, operates from a Higher SELF consciousness. Their MTP is clear - "We're in business to save our home planet." This profound purpose goes beyond profit. Patagonia has consistently demonstrated its commitment by using sustainable materials, reducing its environmental footprint, and actively advocating for environmental causes. This MTP reflects a higher calling that extends beyond the balance sheet.
The Choice of the Organization
Every organization faces a crucial choice: to be a company driven by the small self or a company of Higher SELVES. The former operates in a disconnected state from the Higher Self, often prioritizing profit over purpose and being confined within the boundaries of immediate concerns. The latter thrives in a world of co-creation, holistic thinking, inclusiveness, and impactful business that transcends corporate social responsibility (CSR), becoming an integral part of their core operations. For these organizations, the game is Purpose + Profit, where profit is a natural byproduct of serving a higher calling.
- Small Self Company - Short-Term Profit Maximization: A corporation focused solely on quarterly profits and shareholder value is an example of an organization operating from the small self. These entities often make decisions based on immediate financial gains, neglecting long-term sustainability and ethical considerations.
- Higher SELF Company - Tesla's Vision for Sustainable Transportation: Tesla, led by Elon Musk, operates from the Higher SELF consciousness. Their MTP is "to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy." This MTP is deeply rooted in a vision for a sustainable and environmentally conscious future. Tesla's commitment to electric vehicles and renewable energy solutions is a testament to their Higher SELF-driven purpose.
- Higher SELF Company - Warby Parker's Vision for Affordable Eyewear: Warby Parker, an eyeglass company, is driven by a Higher SELF purpose - "To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses." Their innovative approach to delivering affordable eyewear and their commitment to providing eyeglasses to those in need showcase a purpose-driven approach that transcends the conventional eyewear industry.
Companies that might have Operated Inconsistent with Their Stated Mission or Purpose:
- Wells Fargo (USA): Faced a scandal involving fraudulent account openings and questionable practices, inconsistent with its mission of "helping our customers succeed financially."
- Volkswagen (Germany): Admitted to cheating on emissions tests, violating their mission to be a sustainable and environmentally responsible company.
- Facebook (USA): Despite a mission to "give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together," faced criticism for privacy violations and the spread of misinformation.
- Nestlé (Switzerland): Despite a mission to "enhance the quality of life and contribute to a healthier future," faced controversy over issues like water bottling and baby formula marketing practices.
- McDonald's (USA): Despite a mission to "be our customers' favorite place and a way to eat," faced criticism for contributing to health issues and environmental problems.
- BP (United Kingdom): Despite a mission emphasizing being a responsible energy company, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was a major environmental disaster.
- ICICI Bank (India): Faced allegations of fraudulent practices and misleading customers, inconsistent with their mission to "be the most preferred and trusted financial institution."
- ZTE Corporation (China): Faced controversies over violating U.S. sanctions, contradicting their mission of being "a provider of advanced telecommunications systems."
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Australia): Faced regulatory violations, including money laundering, which goes against their mission to "enhance the financial wellbeing of their customers."
- SNC-Lavalin (Canada): Faced corruption allegations inconsistent with their mission to "provide world-class expertise."
Companies that seem to have been Operating from Their Higher Purpose:
- Patagonia (USA): The mission is to "build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." Actively contributes to environmental causes.
- Unilever (Netherlands/UK): The mission is "making sustainable living commonplace," reflected in their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.
- Tesla (USA): The mission is to "accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy," aligning with their electric vehicle and renewable energy efforts.
- Warby Parker (USA): The "One for One" model combines business success with providing eyeglasses to those in need, aligning with their higher purpose.
- TOMS (USA): The mission is to "improve lives through business." Gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold.
- Danone (France): The mission is "bringing health through food to as many people as possible," supported by their commitment to nutrition and sustainability.
- Tata Group (India): The mission includes "improving the quality of life of the communities we serve." Numerous social initiatives, from education to healthcare, aligned with this purpose.
- Alibaba Group (China): Initiates programs to alleviate poverty and promote e-commerce in rural areas, aligning with their mission to "make it easy to do business anywhere."
- Atlassian (Australia): The mission is to "unleash the potential of every team." Prioritizes corporate social responsibility and gives back to various causes.
- TELUS (Canada): Focuses on giving back to communities and has been recognized for philanthropic efforts, aligning with their mission to "improve the lives of Canadians."
There will be 100s of companies on the 1st list and a good number of companies on the 2nd list.
The Theory U Transformations
Dr. Otto Scharmer of MIT's Theory U provides guidance on three profound transformations crucial for creating and living an MTP:
1. Sensing: Transforming Perception
This transformation commences with cultivating an expanded worldview. It involves the ability to perceive the world, situations, people, and oneself from diverse perspectives, especially those of various visible and less apparent stakeholders. This expanded perception opens the door to a more comprehensive understanding of the world.
- Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan: Unilever's MTP is "to make sustainable living commonplace." This vision reflects a Higher SELF consciousness. They transformed their perception by realizing that their products impact the environment and society. As a result, they've committed to reducing their environmental footprint and improving people's well-being, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of their role in the world.
2. Presencing: Transforming Self and Will
The journey towards MTP starts with introspection. It's about transcending the voices of judgment, cynicism, and fear that often shackle us. Connecting with the Higher Self reveals that the small self is an illusion that traps us, obscuring boundless possibilities. This transformation applies to individuals and to core teams, sparking a transformative ripple effect.
- Microsoft's Transformation under Satya Nadella: Microsoft's transformation under CEO Satya Nadella demonstrates a Higher SELF approach. Their MTP shifted from merely selling software to "empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more." This transformation involved transcending the constraints of the past and embracing a new vision that extended beyond the traditional boundaries of a tech company.
3. Realizing: Transforming Action
This final transformation propels us beyond mere strategy and sheer willpower. It's about co-creating with various stakeholders and going beyond traditional business practices. It's the ability to move from co-initiation to co-evolving, where business merges with societal impact, seamlessly woven into the fabric of an organization.
- Tom's "One for One" Model: Tom's, the shoe company, operates from a Higher SELF consciousness, with an MTP rooted in the idea of giving back. Their "One for One" model is a testament to co-creating with stakeholders for societal impact. For every pair of shoes sold, they provide a pair to a child in need. This approach has revolutionized how a company can be a force for good while maintaining a successful business model.
The Characteristics of an MTP
A critical characteristic of an MTP is that it must be grand enough and impactful enough to inspire the team to reinvent themselves repeatedly in pursuit of its fulfillment. It serves as the source behind all actions, decisions, and priorities within the organization. It breathes life into the purpose-driven engine of the enterprise.
- The Transformation of IBM: IBM, once primarily a hardware company, transformed to become a global technology and consulting leader. Their MTP is "To be essential to our clients." This transformation was not merely about profit but a redefinition of their purpose, shifting the focus from hardware sales to providing critical solutions and services to clients worldwide.
The Bridge to Exponential Organizations
To transform a conventional organization into an Exponential Organization (ExO), the ten characteristics encapsulated by the acronym I D E A S (Interfaces, Dashboards, Experimentation, Autonomous Units, and Social Technologies) and S C A L E (Staff on Demand, Community and Crowd, Algorithms, Leveraged Assets, and Engagement) become crucial. These elements provide the scaffolding for a business to scale exponentially, powered by a formidable MTP.
- Airbnb's Disruption of the Hospitality Industry: Airbnb's MTP, "Belong Anywhere," emerged from the Higher SELF consciousness. It's a testament to the power of connecting individuals with unique, meaningful experiences. Airbnb disrupted the hospitality industry, demonstrating that you can redefine how people travel and experience the world by creating a global community of hosts and guests.
In conclusion, the creation of MTP should be rooted in the consciousness of the Higher SELF. It is the cornerstone of an organization's journey toward exponential growth and purpose-driven success. The choice between the small self and the Higher SELF plays a defining role in shaping the organization's destiny. By embracing the Theory U transformations and weaving an MTP into the very core of business, companies can scale exponentially and contribute positively to the broader societal tapestry. The path to Purpose + Profit is the blueprint for success in the world of exponential organizations, and the time to embark on this transformative journey is now.
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