CEO BrainFood

019 Purpose is Central to Strategy

Episode Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses. In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael talks about the importance of finding your purpose and making that purpose a key driver in strategy. Michael discusses the rise in popularity of entrepreneurship and suggests that a key reason for this phenomenon is that individuals are yearning to find a sense of purpose. Michael touches on the concept of Massive Transformational Purpose, or MTPs, which are big, ambitious grand challenges. They serve as the directional compass for organizations such as Disney, Google, Apple, and Coca-Cola. Finally, Michael shares the story of how he found his own purpose and leaves the audience with a self-inquiry question to consider.

Episode Notes

00:58 – Michael introduces today’s topic, making purpose central to strategy

02:00 – Michael recalls working for an absent manager whose purpose and values were misaligned 

04:07 – Why making money should not be the sole purpose of an organization 

05:46 – How the CEO of Michelin incorporated purpose into strategy 

07:40 – The rise of entrepreneurship 

10:03 – The pursuit of purpose crisis that our society is facing today

11:14 – Risks we face when we do not have a purpose 

11:45 – Identifying your quest 

12:58 – Attributes of exponential organizations 

14:41 – The Massive Transformational Purpose (MTP) 

15:31 – Examples of great MTPs 

16:06 – The Disney Example 

16:56 – What makes Massive Transformational Purposes so powerful and impactful 

18:30 – The benefits of capitalism 

19:13 – Michael recalls his past interest in starting a medical technology company 

21:10 – How Michael found his own purpose 

21:55 – Michael leaves the audience with a self-inquiry question to consider 

22:08 – Where to find Michael’s Functional Team Scorecard 


“In recent years, purpose has become something that we’re all focused on. But once it’s discovered and articulated, oftentimes it gets relegated to the periphery of the business.” (01:35) 

“The idea that making money as a primary goal or purpose, in and of itself, is good and worth pursuing has proven to be man’s downfall since biblical times.” (04:07)  

“Purpose is no longer just the foundation stone or integral part of the DNA of your company. Today, purpose is becoming central to strategy.” (05:35)  

“Today, the facts are, seventy-five new businesses start every hour, unbelievably. And eight out of ten of them fail in the first eighteen months.” (08:15)  

“Many aspiring entrepreneurs are leaving the so called ‘security’ of their jobs – and I say that in quotes – in favor of working for themselves in pursuit of a dream. People are attracted to the idea of becoming an entrepreneur because of a deeper yearning for a sense of purpose.” (10:08)  

“The truth is we all have a desire for purpose. It’s that thirst for a mission, a yearning for a quest, and then to fulfill it. Having a sense of purpose gives us a better chance at having a longer life than almost anything else.” (11:27)  

“A Massive Transformative Purpose…is bigger than a mission statement. It’s why you do what you do, why you get up in the morning, and why your organization exists. It’s a higher aspirational purpose and it’s about thinking big.” (14:42)  

“‘Delivering Happiness’ as a purpose for Disney at the central of strategy in that company has allowed that company to branch out from cartoons and animations all the way through to theme parks, animated movies, film, and many other divisions and revenue streams.” (16:10)  

“The MTP acts as a guiding compass when decisions get made. It actually helps to lower transaction costs. And, this is critical to culture and I have to really emphasize this, it depoliticizes the organization.” (18:14)  

“I would quote Sir Richard [Branson] by saying that, ‘When the dreams don’t scare you, then your dreams are too small.’” (21:45)  


Michael’s LinkedIn

Michael’s Website

The Functional Team Scorecard

Strategy + Business Article featuring Jean-Dominique Senard

TEDx Video on Entrepreneurship featuring Mark Leruste

Entrepreneur Magazine Article featuring Salim Ismail


Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it)

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies