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Daniel Martinez-Valle is the CEO of Orbia, a global leader in polymers, materials and infrastructure. Orbia has over 22,000 employees in 41 countries around the world. They are committed to “help the world take shape and create a more livable, lovable planet for everyone”.

The company has been undergoing a major transformation, including a recent name change, from Mexichem to Orbia. There are three main components to the transformation they are going through, when explaining them Daniel says, “The first one has to do with articulating a very clear purpose, that people in our organization and our stakeholders can really understand and connect to. The second one, our values, which is very important as we move along, and as people make daily choices within our organization and within our extended organizations. And then the third one is to really transform our company and to become truly, a customer-centric organization.” They are changing to be a more human company, one that cares about the world, the environment, people and society.

Orbia’s transformation is holistic, it is not just about a name change or a website update or a change in strategy, every single aspect of the organization has been affected by this transformation. So why are they going through this change? As an organization Orbia wants to make sure that they are impacting the world around them in a positive way. There are many world issues that need to be addressed, including food and water shortages and pollution.

As they go through this transformation one of the fundamental steps is articulating a very clear company purpose that employees and stakeholders can connect to. Daniel says, “For us purpose means what is the fundamental reason why we exist, and why we come to work every day, beyond sort of generating profits, generating dividends or having the ability to pay bi-weekly, or weekly wages. Why would people care if Orbia ceases to exist five years from now, or 20 years from now? Why do we matter, why do we exist? And it’s a combination of a number of individual reflections in terms of, how can we transcend in life, why are we here and how can we make sure that in our final hours we can look back and say, at least one life could breathe easier because we lived. And when we combine that as a collective, and when we move from a ‘Me’ mentality to a ‘We’ mentality, that’s what purpose means.”

And they don’t just put values and mission statements up on the walls of their organization and hope that it will inspire employees. They are backing up their values and purpose with action in every aspect of the organization. From incentives, to training programs, to the way they onboard new employees, everything inside of the organization stems from the purpose of why the company exists.

“I think the very basic analogy that I give very colloquially to people is if this were acupuncture, we have to insert a needle in every single pore of the skin. And if this is not sort of a truly holistic process, then the transformation will not be effective down the road. So, in everything that people see and every interaction, they need to feel that they need to see this transformation in order for this to be real. And at the end of the day, it has to transform itself into a social movement. It’s not something that people in corporate offices can say, “This will happen.” People have to embrace: What are our values? What is our purpose? Where do wanna take the company? How do we define success? How are we gonna make sure that we are making the right choices? How are we gonna embrace failure? And how are we gonna change the culture in order to make this transformation happen? And if I am one of those 22,000 employees, how do I need to understand my role in this transformation journey, and then that’s when it becomes a social movement.”

What You Will Learn In This Episode:
What it is like to work at Orbia
Why the company is going through a transformation
How you can help employees find their purpose
How to change corporate culture
How purpose and profits can be fully aligned
Daniel’s advice for people who want to be better leaders

Huge thanks to VMware for sponsoring this episode! If you want a free copy of my upcoming book ‘The Future Leader’, go here.