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Redefining Success: How Evolving Values Shape Leaders and Exponential Organizations

Values are the compass by which we navigate our lives, guiding our decisions, shaping our behaviors, and defining our priorities.

Mike Sainz
Mike Sainz
"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." – Leo Tolstoy

Values are the compass by which we navigate our lives. They guide our decisions, shape our behaviors, and define our priorities. Yet, a paradox often goes unexamined: while values serve as our guiding stars, they can anchor us too firmly to the past, limiting our growth and the broader impact we aspire to make. This realization dawned on me through a series of personal reflections and observations — notably, the realization that despite valuing family above all, my actions often painted a different picture, with work invariably taking precedence.

In the OpenExO community, we're no strangers to the Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) concept. Pioneered by visionary thinkers like Salim Ismail and Peter Diamandis, the MTP isn’t just about societal transformation; it’s a call to personal evolution. It's about aligning our deepest values with the exponential potential of our actions — to not only transform ourselves but to contribute to a future that’s vastly better than today.

This journey begins with a critical, often uncomfortable question: Are my current values serving my future, or are they relics of a past that no longer fits the person I am becoming? This question forced me to confront a truth I had long ignored: my professed values of family and work conflicted, not harmony, reflecting a discrepancy between what I believed and how I acted.

"Your core values are the deep-seated beliefs that authentically describe your soul." - John C. Maxwell

The Limitations of Static Values

As we journey through life, our experiences, challenges, and triumphs continually shape us. However, our values, often acquired early in life, might not evolve simultaneously. This misalignment becomes evident when we find ourselves at a crossroads, facing decisions that our longstanding values seem ill-equipped to guide us through. The stark realization that hit me was the dichotomy between valuing family and work. Despite my belief in prioritizing family, my actions—constant travel and absence from home—told a different story. This discrepancy was a personal conflict and a vivid illustration of how static values can mislead us, creating a facade of living by principles our actions betray. The most heartrending of these indications came from an unexpected source: my youngest son's school drawings.

Little Mike's drawing (2015). Illustrating smaller dad and away.

For years, the family was my proclaimed top priority, yet my actions painted a starkly different picture. My career, with its demands of constant travel and long hours, meant my physical presence in my family's life was minimal. This dissonance between my values and actions was brought into sharp relief not through words but through the innocent drawings of my son. In these colorful portrayals of family life, I was almost always depicted on the back of the page, a distant figure, separate from the vibrant scenes of togetherness that filled the rest of the space. This powerful imagery, a visual testament to my physical and emotional absence, struck a chord deep within me.

It was a realization that shook me to my core. A teacher, noticing my absence from the family tableau, once inquired if my wife was raising our children alone. My family, too, felt the brunt of my absence, describing me as detached despite my internal justification that my relentless work was for their future prosperity.

This period of introspection revealed a profound truth: my adherence to a static value system that prioritized work under the guise of family prosperity was a misalignment of epic proportions. It wasn't merely a personal oversight but a foundational flaw, a discrepancy between who I wanted to be and who I was. The realization that my youngest son's depictions of our family consistently relegated me to the background was more than symbolic; it was a direct reflection of the choices I had made choices that prioritized my career over the fleeting, irreplaceable moments of family life.

This awakening was the catalyst for a transformative journey. It illuminated the need to shift from static to dynamic values — values that could adapt to the complexities of life and the myriad roles I wished to fulfill. The path to aligning my actions with values that indeed mirrored my aspirations was fraught with challenges, requiring introspection and the courage to redefine my identity.

By sharing this story, I aim to underscore a critical insight: our values are not just abstract ideals but the very principles by which we live our daily lives. When there is a misalignment between these values and our actions, the repercussions ripple through the lives of those we hold dear. The journey of realigning our values is not one of mere adjustment but of profound transformation, ensuring that the guiding stars of our lives lead us not just forward but toward a future that resonates with our deepest aspirations and honors those we love.

This conflict is not unique to me; it's a widespread phenomenon in a fast-paced, ever-changing world. Individuals clinging to static values may need help adapting to new opportunities or challenges. Like wearing outdated glasses, we struggle to see the present and future clearly, guided by a vision calibrated for a past that no longer exists.

The Power of Dynamic Values

"Anything that changes your values will change your behavior."
- George Sheehan

In the wake of my realization, adopting a new, dynamic set of values became imperative. Unlike static values, which remain unyielding despite changing circumstances, dynamic values are fluid, evolving with us as we grow and face new challenges. The values I chose—Wisdom, Equanimity, Courage, Justice, Temperance, and Discipline—serve not as rigid directives but as guiding principles that adapt to the complex reality of balancing family, work, and community engagement.

Wisdom guides me to learn from my past, applying those lessons to make more informed decisions that consider the well-being of my family alongside professional ambitions. Equanimity allows me to approach life's inevitable ups and downs with calmness and balance, ensuring that my response to professional challenges does not disproportionately impact my personal life. Courage empowers me to pursue ambitious goals and speak out for what is right, even when difficult, ensuring that my actions align with my values. Justice reminds me to strive for fairness and equality, influencing my decisions within my family and professional endeavors. Temperance teaches me the value of moderation, helping me find a harmonious balance between work and family life. Lastly, Discipline acts as the bedrock for all other values, encouraging consistency and dedication in pursuing my goals while remaining present and engaged with my family.

These dynamic values do not dictate specific actions but rather frame my decision-making process, allowing me to navigate the complexities of modern life in a way that aligns with my evolving goals. By embracing these principles, I ensure that my actions reflect a balance of personal, professional, and societal responsibilities, fostering a life that is not only successful but also meaningful and fulfilling.

Image generated with AI support, Technology DALL-E 3II

Connecting Personal Transformation to MTP

The concept of Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) extends beyond the realm of organizations and innovations; it is deeply personal. Aligning our evolution with an MTP requires refining our values, ensuring they empower us to contribute to societal transformation. This alignment is not just about ambition or success; it's about leveraging our personal growth to fuel exponential thinking and actions that have a broad, positive impact.

Salim Ismail's insights on exponential organizations highlight the power of leveraging technology and community to drive unprecedented change. This philosophy resonates with personal transformation as well. By adopting dynamic values, we position ourselves as catalysts for change, embodying the principles of exponential growth in our lives. Our transformation, guided by adaptable and forward-thinking values, becomes a microcosm of the societal transformation we aspire to achieve.

"Your values create your internal compass that guides how you make decisions in your life." - Roy T. Bennett

The interplay between personal values and the MTP becomes clear in this context. Our values shape our actions, and our actions, when aligned with a purpose that transcends our aspirations, contribute to a collective force capable of transforming the world. This is the essence of living an exponential life, where personal growth and societal transformation are intimately connected.

Practical Steps for Reevaluating Your Values

Reevaluating and realigning your values is a profound process that requires introspection, honesty, and a willingness to embrace change. Here are practical steps to guide you through this transformative journey:

Reflect on Your Current Values:

Begin by identifying the values that currently guide your decisions and actions. Reflect on how these values have influenced your life and whether they still serve your evolving goals and aspirations.

Assess Alignment with Actions:

Examine the alignment between your professed values and your actions. Are there discrepancies? What do these discrepancies reveal about your true priorities?

Envision Your Ideal Self:

Consider the person you aspire to be and the life you wish to lead. What values would this ideal version of yourself hold? How would they navigate the complexities of life?

Define Dynamic Values:

Based on your reflections, identify a set of dynamic values that resonate with your goals, aspirations, and the roles you play in your family, work, and community. Ensure these values are adaptable and aligned with the broader impact you wish to make.

Implement and Review:

Integrate your new values into daily life to guide your decisions and actions. Regularly review and adjust these values as you grow and your circumstances change, ensuring they reflect your evolving self and aspirations.

"Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win." – Max McKeown

Exponential Organizations: Values and MTP

Exponential Organizations (ExOs) are entities characterized by their ability to scale far more rapidly than traditional organizations, thanks to leveraging new technologies, innovative organizational structures, and a culture of adaptability. At the heart of every ExO lies a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) — a bold and aspirational mission that serves as a guiding star for the organization and a call to action for anyone who aligns with its vision. However, these organizations’ success isn't driven by technology and innovation alone. Still, it is deeply rooted in dynamic values that promote continuous growth, adaptability, and alignment with their MTP.

Integrating Values with MTP: A Strategic Imperative

For ExOs, integrating values with their MTP is not optional; it's a strategic imperative. This alignment ensures that as the organization scales, it does so in a way that is consistent with its core mission and the broader impact it aims to achieve. Values in this context act as the organizational DNA, influencing decision-making processes, shaping culture, and guiding the organization through periods of rapid change and uncertainty.

The Role of Dynamic Values in ExOs

Dynamic values are particularly crucial for ExOs. As these organizations are at the forefront of innovation and change, their values must adapt to new challenges, opportunities, and societal norms and expectations shifts. Dynamic values allow ExOs to remain agile, responsive to change, and steadfast in their commitment to their MTP, even as they navigate the complexities of exponential growth.

ExOs as Catalysts for Societal Transformation

By aligning their dynamic values with their MTP, ExOs position themselves as catalysts for societal transformation. They demonstrate how organizations can achieve unprecedented growth and do so ethically, sustainably, and beneficially to society. This alignment is a powerful example of how exponential growth and transformation principles can be applied to technology, business models, organizational culture, and values.


mage generated with AI support, Technology DALL-E 3

The journey of aligning our values with a Massive Transformative Purpose is not merely an individual endeavor but a reflection of a more significant societal transformation. This continuous reflection, adaptation, and growth process mirrors the ethos of Exponential Organizations (ExOs) ethically, sustainably, and beneficially, which leverage dynamic values and an unwavering commitment to their MTP to scale and innovate at unprecedented rates. Just as these organizations embody principles of exponential growth and impact, individuals, too, can embrace these principles, transforming their lives and contributing to a broader societal evolution.

"To be successful in the world of business, it is essential to embrace change with grace and enthusiasm." – Richard Branson

Integrating dynamic values within personal lives and ExOs illustrates a powerful synergy: aligning individual aspirations with organizational missions capable of driving exponential societal progress. By adopting values that encourage adaptability, ethical decision-making, and a balance between ambition and sustainability, we pave the way for personal fulfillment and contribute to the flourishing of organizations and communities aligned with our vision of a better future.

As members of the OpenExO community and individuals committed to exponential thinking and transformation, our challenge is continuously evaluating and realigning our values with our aspirations to contribute to a better future. This journey transcends the personal and impacts organizations and society at large. By embracing dynamic values and aligning them with a Massive Transformative Purpose, we become catalysts for change, embodying the exponential potential in our actions and the legacy we choose to build.

This narrative of personal and organizational transformation underscores the essence of living an exponential life, where the pursuit of dynamic values and alignment with MTP isn't just a pathway to individual growth but a contribution to the collective mission of

transforming the world for a better future

Let us embrace this journey, recognizing that our transformations are integral to society’s exponential progress.


"Exponential Organizations 2.0: The New Playbook for 10x Growth and Impact. Salim Ismail, Peter H. Diamandis, Michael S. Malone, Kindle Edition. 2023.

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Leading Business Growth and Innovation | Entrepreneur | CEO | Expert in Business Dynamics and Corporate Finance | ExO Business Builder | Mentor, Coach | Author, Inspirational Speaker | Sommelier