Suppose we have a compound, say copper sulfate. I know that sulfate is a poly-atomic ion, having valency 2. And, in this case, copper also has valency 2. So, to fullfill their 'octet' requirements, they both react. The problem is: Suppose we take the metal zinc and bring it in contact with copper sulfate. Now, a displacement reaction occurs, in which zinc replaces copper because of its higher reactivity.
Copper sulfate is a compound that is neutral; both the cation and anion have completed their octets; why then does zinc replace copper? Or, in other words, after completing the octet, why it is necessary for sulfate to leave copper and react with zinc?