Unlocking Business Potential: Top 5 Takeaways from a Conversation Between Kevin Lawrence & Salim Ismail

Recently, Kevin Lawrence got together with long-time collaborator Salim Ismail to celebrate his new book Exponential Organizations 2.0. In the interview, Kevin mentions that he had a lot of success applying the principles of the first book to his clients. 2.0 is 90% new material backed by 10 years of data and anecdotes to validate the game changing hypothesis of the original book. If you’re driven to achieve growth, but you’re not sure where to start, follow along as Kevin unpacks the five central themes of 2.0.

1. Understanding Exponential Thinking:

To watch clip 1:56 of the interview, click here.

Whether you’re new to exponential thinking, or an old hand, the premise is relatable—every organization has an immune system. And the study of the immune system is the exact dilemma that has occupied Salim for the last decade. The immune system is the immediate barrier of defense against change. So, if you try to disrupt a company, the immune system goes on attack. This is especially true because human beings and organizations alike are built to resist change and withstand risk. But pivoting can be critical to the growth of an organization, whether it’s adopting new technology, changing up the key seats, or adopting a different financial strategy. Bridging this gap is the work of exponential thinking.

2. A Framework for Transformation:

To watch clip 4:42 of the interview, click here.

It all starts with ExO. This framework is the blueprint for organizations to become more agile, innovative, and scalable. And at the base of it is your MTP or Massive Transformative Purpose. This is where you’ll want to start, if you want to drive transformative change. The MTP is derived from the BHAG principles of Jim Collins, combined with a purpose. So, let’s dig into it.

3. More about the MTP

To watch clip 3:05 of the interview, click here.

An MTP is a tagline that states the fundamental problem that you’re trying to solve like—TED (ideas worth spreading), Google (organizing the world’s information), and Uber (everybody needs a private driver). There are five externalities that play into your MTP:

  1. Staff on demand
  2. Community and crowd
  3. Algorithms
  4. Leveraged assets
  5. Engagement

Combined, these externalities facilitate your MTP and allow you to scale very quickly. Let’s put these categories to work:

  1. Uber doesn’t hire its own staff
  2. TED uses community
  3. Google is now using AI and algorithms
  4. AirBnB doesn’t own its own rooms
  5. Xiaomi is building product through community engagement

Leaning into a pillar of the externalities can help you realize your MTP.

4. Case Studies and Real-World Examples:

To watch clip 10:21 of the interview, click here.

Salim has plenty of compelling stories about organizations and leaders up his sleeve but there are two that stood out. 

The first is the story of a guy named Robert Goldberg and after hearing his story, Kevin quickly coined him the guy who can turn the sun on and off on command. He has been applying exponential thinking to mid-market industrial firms in the U.S and getting venture style returns—we’re talking 10-30X. The key? He de-risks innovation. It enables him to unlock a massive amount of latent innovation and then the company soars. Fittingly, his moniker or MTP is to reinvent American exceptionalism. 

Next up is the story of a phone company in China called Xiaomi, the second biggest one, in fact. The core of the Xiaomi story is how a community can be put to work in an organization. According to Salim, this is one of the most underutilized tools in medium to large size organizations. Xiaomi created a community of 1,000 super-users. These folks vote on the features that go into the next phone. They get the phone three months in advance and then they can boast to their friends about the features they weighed in on. This endorsement alone means that Xiaomi is launching phones solely off the force of community—no PR, no product development, no marketing, which means they can keep costs low.

5. Practical Implementation Guidance:

To watch clip 11:32 of the interview, click here.

Salim’s book is different because he departs from the theoretical to offer practical advice about how to put these ideas to work in an organization. Maybe you’re looking for a roadmap, a way to assess where you’re at, and then to create a transformation. If that’s the case, this book is your tool. For the whole interview watch below or click here. 


Looking for your Co-pilot?

Sometimes, what’s needed most is a co-pilot. We’re always here to assist. If we can help you with your growth strategy, or exponential thinking, connect with kevin@lawrenceandco.com.