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December 1, 2023

How to Transform with Purpose

Ryan Mascarenhas, a former Executive Director of Business Planning at Tenneco, shares his insights on purpose, motivation, and transformation.

He talks about the importance of understanding context and culture, and how it has shaped his personal framework for intentional living. Ryan also discusses digital transformation, disruptions, and the exciting innovations emerging in AI and quantum computing. He concludes by sharing his personal strategy for goal-setting, emphasizing the importance of purpose, motivation, mastery, and joy.

Defining Your Purpose

According to Mascarenhas, one of the most important things a leader can do is to step back and ask themselves if their purpose is still relevant in uncertain times. The purpose should not only be clear, but it should also aim to benefit the customer. Clarifying the purpose helps leaders to be intentional about the outcome.

"Step back, confirm that your purpose makes sense, and you can still be intentional about it even in uncertain times."

Ryan Mascarenhas -
Former Executive Director of Business Planning at Tenneco

Mascarenhas believes that it is crucial to define your purpose as a means to transform yourself, not just as a way to invest and install tools. He suggests four things organizations should focus on when embarking on digital transformation.

1. Define Your Purpose

Identify your purpose and be intentional about it. A simple way to start is to ask what your purpose is for the transformation, and more importantly, how it will benefit the customer. When you can connect the dots directly from what you want to achieve, how you want to transform, and how it's going to help your customer, your purpose gets defined, and you can be intentional about the outcome.

2. Find What Matters

Identify the few things that will create a big change for your organization and focus on them. There are several tools that can be used to achieve this. Essentially, what you're trying to do is identify the few things that can effectively test your value logic first, get a quick return on your investment or learn fast, and then go build that out and scale it to the larger mass.

"Think about the few things that are going to create a big change for yourself, and more importantly, learn fast. That learning fast piece is really, really important."

3. Build Capabilities

Don't use digital only as a means to invest and install tools. Think about how you're going to build capabilities. The question to ask here is, what behaviors will need to change on the way to achieving your purpose? This is where you observe your teams and see how they work. Ask yourself what behaviors you'll have to change to achieve your purpose. That allows you to think about the underlying capabilities you need to build, and the tools will only help you make them more effective.

"Think about building capabilities, don't use digital only as a means to invest and install tools."

4. Test, Learn, and Do

Test your hypothesis, learn from it, and adapt the plan. The plan is the starting point. There's a fallacy that once you write a plan, it has to be successful. Actually, a plan is important, but what is even more important is to be able to test that your hypothesis makes sense, do that quickly, learn from it, and adapt the plan. Don't hesitate to have the perfect plan. Instead, look at it as an approach to test, learn, and do.

"The plan is important, but what is even more important is to be able to test that your hypothesis makes sense, do that quickly, learn from it, and adapt the plan."

Finding Purpose in Personal and Professional Lives

Mascarenhas believes that purpose should drive personal and professional lives. He suggests that individuals should break their goals down into smaller pieces and celebrate small wins. Celebrating small wins creates more instances of joy that fuel your purpose. He compares achieving goals to playing Mario, where the purpose is to save the princess. Breaking goals down into smaller parts allows individuals to get more chances to celebrate.

"When you celebrate small wins, you actually create more instances of joy that fuel your purpose."

Mascarenhas believes that video games are a great example of the purpose, motivation, mastery, and joy framework. When playing games, one has the power to own their purpose. The purpose does not need to be grand, but it needs to be visible. At the same time, it does not have to be easy. Motivation comes when there's a little bit of uncertainty. Mascarenhas believes that it is also okay to fail. What is not okay is not getting a lesson from that failure. Individuals should use failure as a mechanism to learn.

"The purpose does not need to be grand, but it needs to be visible. At the same time, it does not have to be easy. Motivation comes when there's a little bit of uncertainty."

Innovation and Transformation

Mascarenhas believes that digital transformation is a means of transformation, not the purpose of transformation. Digital transformation is a way to transform oneself. It is important to understand that digital is not the purpose of transformation. According to Mascarenhas, companies should focus on defining their purpose and building capabilities when embarking on digital transformation. Companies should also find what matters most to achieve their purpose and have an open-mindedness to test, learn, and do.

"Think about the few things that are going to create a big change for yourself, and more importantly, learn fast. That learning fast piece is really, really important."

Mascarenhas concluded the interview by sharing his excitement about the confluence of AI and quantum computing. He believes that it will take all the horsepower we can get to complement our creativity and solve some of the big problems. However, companies need to invest in educating the talent pool so that they have the knowledge to quickly adopt and implement these tools when they become available.

"We're going to need all the horsepower we can get to complement our creativity and solve some of the big problems."

The Takeaways

  • 1.

    Leaders should step back and ask themselves if their purpose is still relevant in uncertain times.

  • 2.

    Organizations embarking on digital transformation should focus on defining their purpose, identifying what matters most, building capabilities, and testing, learning, and doing.

  • 3.

    Purpose should drive personal and professional lives, and individuals should break their goals down into smaller pieces and celebrate small wins.

  • 4.

    Digital transformation is a means of transformation, not the purpose of transformation.

  • 5.

    Companies need to invest in educating the talent pool to quickly adopt and implement new tools.

  • 6.

    The confluence of AI and quantum computing will complement creativity and help solve big problems.

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