Becoming Purpose-Driven

en Jul 07, 2021


2020/2021 will be remembered for decades to come. The year in which leaders, whether global or business leaders, faced unprecedented challenges.

No one was spared. No country, no global leader, no business leader. From large corporations to small family run businesses.

One thing though became apparent – the need for collective leadership.

Instead of looking to that one leader, the hero(ine), the complexity of the challenges revealed the need for everyone to come together to solve the most pressing challenges, whether global or local.

Organizations were forced to rethink their business models, their hierarchical structures, and their digital transformation programs.

Even the position that they were prepared to take on high-profile political and social issues, became an issue. Something they had previously steered clear of.

Whether the organization is adapting to the new remote and hybrid workplace; redesigning the products and services offered, to adapt to new consumer behaviours, or deciding whether and how to react to clear global moral issues, one thing is certain.

Organizations need to clearly align their constituents – employees, customers, and community. In the past, legacy or traditional organizations, developed and communicated, their vision statement. That which they desired to become in the future. We call that, the what. They also included a mission statement, which is how they believed they would make their vision come to life.

One thing though that was always absent in the majority of the organizations, was the why. And this, is the most powerful of drivers of human behaviours, habits, and mindsets.

The why is what separates the doers from the dreamers. It’s what defines whether your goals in life are achieved or not. Organizations of the present and future also need to create their reason for existence.

Their why. On top of their vision and mission.

Much like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the vision and mission are critical for existence whilst purpose is what will align the whole organization, permitting a culture of collective responsibility and leadership.

It’s what Singularity University coined as the Massive Transformative Purpose. But that was just the starting point.

It’s great to create your purpose.

But how do you implement it into your culture? Into your human resources? Into your products? And into the community?

This MTP has evolved through the Purpose Alliance into a fully-fledged purpose launchpad methodology.

More than processes and tools, the purpose launchpad requires us to acquire a specific mindset that will allow us to successfully build purpose-driven organizations, whether startups, corporates, NGOs or any other types of organizations.

At its core is the shift in mindset to exploration. To discovery. And to experimentation.

Guiding us on the path to adapting legacy organizations, creating new organizations, businesses, products or services that make a positive impact on the world.

One of the questions that has recently come up the most is “How do I become a better leader?

The question is in fact a little different. How do we become a purpose driven leader?

There are three elements we need to integrate to become a purpose driven leader:

  1. The first is understanding the power of technology.
    With over 20 exponential technologies that are simultaneously driving change in the world, we have never lived in a more complex, challenging yet opportunity filled world. Ever.

    If the exponential growth of each of these technologies was already powerful, individually, the fact that so many of them are occurring at the same time is unique in our history.

    Understanding these shifts from scarcity to abundance, from expensive to cheaper, from slower to faster and large to small, we can begin to project into the future. Not in a linear, iterative manner. But exponentially.

    Suddenly everything and anything becomes possible. Not through mere optimism but instead following the science, or in this case, the data.
  1. The second is learning and using the power of methodologies.
    The last decade has seen the mainstream use of powerful methodologies such as the lean startup, customer development, business model innovation, along with others such as agile methodology.

    These have changed our focus from searching for problems and solutions to learning what customer needs first.

    We’ve gone from linear processes that created a finished product, marketed to the masses, based not what on customer needs and desires were, but instead on market research.

    Interviewing people is very different from polling them. Running interviews reveals what we know, don’t know, and never imagined to be.

    Polling or surveying almost always plays to our biased thoughts – validation of what we believe to be true. But we shouldn’t be validating. We should be evaluating which adds another layer to the equation. We validate but also invalidate ideas.

    Everything we believe to be true is no more than a set of hypotheses. Without testing them, we run the risk of creating something we believe consumers want that then turns out to be flawed.
  1. The third and final element to becoming a purpose driven leaders is the Power of mindset. This is perhaps the most important of the three elements.

    Developing the right innovative organization, that can make a positive impact on the world, is not about technology. It’s not even about applying the right methodologies. It’s instead, about the mindset we operate in.

So how do we change, or evolve, our mindsets?

  1. Firstly, we need to accept that our thinking needs adjusting.

    As we navigate our skillset-driven society, we engrave the need for constantly upskilling yet as important that might be, the secret is in adjusting our mindsets – our behaviours and habits.
  1. Secondly, we need to identify our counter-mindsets.

    Our mindsets are formed through experiences and emotion. When they don’t produce results, we create counter-mindsets such as self-doubt and limiting beliefs.

    We are in fact our biggest critic and often the biggest chokehold in reaching success.

    With around 65,000 thoughts going through our mind every day, it’s unfortunate that most of them are negative.

    You need to start paying attention to them. Now.
  1. Thirdly, we need to change our state.

    The state we are in is not just mental. Our body accompanies our state by reacting to it and reinforcing. Such as tense shoulders or arched backs. This is not how we learnt to fend off attackers when out in the wild.

    This is a passive stance reinforced through passive thoughts. Try standing up straight, smiling and looking slight up. Shoulders back. Can you already feel the difference? And you’ve done very little.

    Once you begin to identify these negative patterns and physical stances. Switch gears. Do something immediate to change your state.

    If you are feeling lazy, take a quick positive step towards your positive goal. Get up and walk. Breath in and visualize your most favourite of things – feel your body posture change, your smile.

    You have just changed your state.

    This changes your inner story, or narrative, which effectively redefines your strategy – what you are about to do. That’s why working in bed, or in pajamas, or in the middle of your chaotic household, will inevitably deliver the same poor results.
  1. Fourthly, understand your “why”.

    Changing a mindset is hard because formed habits aren’t easy to break. This is especially hard as most of the harmful habits were cemented when we were younger. If the word “no” is the one you heard most growing up, you are unlikely to be an explorer.

    But you can change that. It’s not a rule. It’s not a genetic malfunction. Understanding your “why” is about starting fresh and deciding on one goal or dream that, when you achieve it, will mean a transformational change.

Successful organizations have their principles, or values, clearly visible for everyone to see – its a public manifestation of why they exist, and it provides a true North Star for everyone.

Once you identify your principles, you begin to develop your culture, which can sometimes take months as everyone in the organization should be involved, they’ll look something like the Purpose Launchpad’s Principles:

  • Purpose over problem, and problem over solution – you always start with the why. Only then can you begin to search to identify the real problem and hence the solution.

  • Exploration over optimization. Ever think how it is possible that our biggest feats occurred within the first 3 years of life. We learnt to walk. Not by reading or through some course. But by exploring and experimentation. We learnt to communicate with others and our lives have seen been shaped by the amount of exploration we were permitted to indulge in.

  • Talking to customers over market research. As we navigate through the exploration phase, interviewing customers, we begin with values and the purpose. Interviewing people reveals so much more than problems or solutions.

    When observed correctly, it tells us how people feel and act, what they see and hear and say and do. It’s a phase of divergence. When everything and anything is possible.

  • Abundance over scarcity. We keep hearing this repeatedly. We live in an interconnected, intertwined world that has evolved digitally. We now have access to a near infinite world of opportunities. Don’t confuse this with simple or easy. Complexity has also increased.

    Gone are the days in which we were limited by brick and mortar, production limits, physical confines, and expensive and time-consuming distribution channels.

    Our business models must now reflect this change, from scarcity to abundance.

  • Meaningful incomes over investment. It’s not that profits, and revenues aren’t important anymore. They are. They just mustn’t be the driver. An organization’s success comes from alignment resulting from clearly designed and articulated values and purpose.
  • Mindset over processes and tools. Technology should only be adopted once you have figured out what it is you are trying to accomplish and why. Once you have your purpose clearly defined, supported by your values, you can then create the processes and chose the tools you will need.

  • Learning over building. Your focus shouldn’t be solely on building your product. It should sit squarely on learning and initiating an iterative and agile process. Learn, build, test and learn and rebuild. Start off slowly, learn. Once you have identified who your customer really is and the value proposition, you can begin to test your hypotheses out. Make sure you pick up the speed and iterate the process to learn and rebuild fast and in the knowledge of what is truly important to your customers.

  • Qualitative metrics over quantitative metrics. Qualitative data is so much more revealing than quantitative data, especially during the exploration phase. We are multi-dimensional human beings and the richness from our interactions is only truly revealed when we learn the art of listening, seeing, and feeling.

How does this resonate with you? Have you created a set of principles for your organization? Can you share them?  Do you have a Massive Transformative Purpose? Can you share it? Do you share it?

Do you want to find out more about the Exponential Leadership Certification Program? We cover everything at the intersection of technology, leadership and personal development.

Learn more about the purpose launchpad here. Photo by Aron Van de Pol on Unsplash  

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