Be Exponential and Ignite an MTP

Abundance Organizational leadership Transformation


Key Point: Todays leading and often disruptive organizations have a Massive Transformative Purpose or MTP! They are indeed exponential organizations. The term “Exponential Organization” was first introduced and defined in 2014 by Salim Ismail, Michael S. Malone and Yuri van Geest in their book Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, Cheaper Than Yours (and What to Do About It). They define it as:

“An Exponential Organization is one whose impact (or output) is disproportionally large—at least 10x larger—compared to its peers because of the use of new organizational techniques that leverage accelerating technologies.”

Some real examples of Exponential Organizations that have successfully increased their results, at least 10x with respect to their competitors or other reference companies are: Google, Valve, Github, Netflix, Tesla, Airbnb, Uber, etc. These companies have not only achieved unbelievable growth ratios, they are also transforming the industries in which they are positioned and are forcing their competitors to completely reinvent themselves. Every industry is vulnerable. Look out, banks! And as a leader in one, I feel this sense of incredible responsibility and urgency to become part of an Exponential Organization than to be replaced by one. 

So what kind of leadership is required in these types of companies? According to the authors, one needs to embrace all the classic and expected elements we’ve learned about leadership to date, plus the following traits:

  1. “Be a visionary customer advocate; become totally involved in every aspect of the customer experience.
  1. Be a data driven experimentalist; apply the lean startup approach to everything and use of data to create order out high-speed chaos.
  1. Be an optimistic realist: Recognize that most people find transformation disconcerting, and build confidence through recognizing reality with optimism.
  1. Be extremely adaptable; you better be continuously reinventing yourself as a leader. You first, before anyone else. 
  1. Be radically open; invite channels of transparency and openness to and from everywhere. Learn how to differentiate important signals from noise.
  1. Be hyper-confident; have the courage to always do what you believe is the best for the organization over oneself; must be willing to be fired, have the ability to disrupt yourself and the organization continuously.”

Character Moves:

  1. Learn about Exponential Organizations (ExOs), study what they do, how they did it and how it might apply to you personally. Both mature companies and startups are capable of being ExO disrupters! Everything is a process, including becoming an ExO! 
  1. Explore the behaviors underlying the six leadership traits above. Learn about the leaders of these ExO companies. They have a personal leadership process too. What is it? And, know they can’t do it alone! 
  1. Learn about the craft of developing an MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose). It is much more than a vision and simple mission. It’s bigger than an audacious goal.

Exponential in The Triangle,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: I love the Gary Vaynerchuk quote that says, “The thought, and nature of people saying, ‘Well America is an entrepreneurial paradise,’ is the same conversation that’s happening within America of like, ‘to be great in tech, you need to be in San Francisco.’ And let me just remind everybody, that Facebook was invented in Boston.” It’s common for kids to grow up wanting to be superstars on an athletic field. Those dreams can die with an injury, or the inability to sink a basketball shot. But who really says you can’t make up your own rules and your own scoreboard to win big in your own industry? That seems like a playbook everyone has access to at least open.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis