Issue #78
#78 - What Was I Made For?
August 11, 2023


"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."
โ€“ Mark Twain

Every year, the kids and I anoint an official "song of summer". ๐ŸŽต A tune whose timing, catchiness, and quality lands it on repeat at home and in the car, and somehow winds up defining the summer for us.

But this year, going into the final weeks, we had yet to ID our tune. Then -- decked out in our pinkest of pink -- we loaded the kids and cousins into the car, and went to see "Barbie".

The lights went down. The previews ended. I hit recline in that plush theater seat.

And I took a 25-minute dad-nap. ๐Ÿคฃ

Alas, I won't weigh in on a flick you've probably seen more of than I have. But I was wide awake for the end of the movie, when Billie Eilish's touching song, "What Was I Made For?", hit the screen.

It's possible that riffing on "meaning" in issue #77 had already put "the why" on my mind. But once we saw the movie, and heard Billie's song, we had found our summer jam:

So this week, we dig into purpose. Not Barbie's, or yours, or Usman's, or mine -- not individual purpose. But the role of a shared, collective purpose at work: why it's crucial for organizations to define a clear -- and ambitious -- purpose for their employees, and how and why expectations of purpose are shifting over time and across generations.

๐ŸŽฏ Story #1 - Do you have an MTP? You know, a "Massive Transformational Purpose"? Because three thinkers on the cutting edge of work -- and eight years of research -- suggest that the shared trait of organizations that are thriving in this climate of constant change is an MTP. We explain, via our first Story. โœŒ๏ธ
๐ŸŽฏ Story #2 -
Our need to understand the why behind what we do is far from new. But for a number of reasons, that need is now more pronounced than ever. And corporations are being held to account for it by their employees. We look at how and why.
๐ŸŽฏ Story #3 - Our last Story reminds us how much attention is being paid right now to where we work. And suggests we place our focus on a different question instead: why we work. ๐Ÿค”

Thanks for reading and exploring with us -- and have a fantastic week!

Aki + Usman




#MTP #MassiveTransformativePurpose #Vocab

We shared the definition of an "Exponential Organization", from the book of the same name, in issue 71:

An Exponential Organization is a purpose-driven, agile, and scalable organization that uses accelerating technologies to digitize, dematerialize, democratize, and demonetize its products and services, resulting in a 10x performance increase over its non-Exponential peers.

Today, we zoom in on the notion of an MTP, or Massive Transformative Purpose, and the role it plays in the outsized success of an Exponential Org. The authors explain that an MTP serves as a guide or "north star" for the interactions between and across employees and customers. And that eight years of research have made them more convinced than ever that "the MTP is the single most important attribute of a true Exponential Organization".

But why is this such an important trait? And why does having such a massively transformative purpose "punch above its weight"?

Most people spend the majority of their waking hours working. Sadly, much of that work is not connected to something meaningfulโ€”and thus, it is often unfulfilling in the long run. MTPs are transformative because they connect work to a broader sense of meaning and purpose.
We live in an increasingly secular age in which emerging generations want more meaning in their work lives. Today, this desire remains largely unfulfilled. We believe being part of an organization or enterprise driven by an MTP can help fill that void by providing all-important context and meaning. We further believe this trend will only accelerate.

This idea of a "vacuum" -- that work (and leaders at work) are increasingly asked to replace more traditional sources of meaning and purpose in our lives such as religion, civic duty and community -- segues us nicely to our next story.




#Purpose #ShiftingExpectations #GenerationalAwareness

This quote ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿป is from an article by Elizabeth Faber, but she's not a journalist: she leads the People function at consulting giant Deloitte, which employs some 330,000 people worldwide.

It's worth noting, by the way, that Elizabeth's official title is "Chief People and Purpose Officer", and that she is based in Singapore ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ .

Deloitte has tracked and surveyed its youngest employees for 12 years running, and its most recent survey of Gen Zers and millennials, which make up more than 80% of its workforce, led to meaty observations like these:

๐ŸŽฏ More so than generations past, Gen Z and millennial workers want to work for employers whose values align with theirs, and they are keen to drive societal change -- through purposeful work.

๐ŸŽฏ Younger generations also expect more from businesses in terms of embedding purpose in their work, specifically. Faber explains:

For many young employees, working for a purpose-driven organization is not enough. Gen Zers and millennials want to take part in driving change through their individual work-and they are more likely to stay in their current organization when they feel empowered to do so.

According to Faber, these generations hold companies to higher standards, and they vote with their feet, deciding to join firms based on the promise of purposeful work, and deciding to leave if that doesn't materialize.




#Purpose #WhyNotWhere

What makes this quote so poignant is how it highlights, on the one hand, our collective fixation on where we work. While pointing out in the same breath that it's short-sighted of us to neglect why we work.

After all, the attention we give these topics -- like all our attention -- is zero-sum. So obsessing over "the where" distracts us from reflecting upon "the why". ๐Ÿค”

Thanks for reading. ๐Ÿ™

Work moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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