Dee Hock on the organisation of the future

Dee Hock, founder of VISA

Dee Hock founded the Visa credit card using an organisation structure he called chaordic: a mixture of chaos and order that has performed extremely well.

In a recent article he talked about how he sees the organisation of the future.

He said:

“The organization of the future will be the embodiment of community based on shared purpose calling to the higher aspirations of people.”

Let’s unpack this.

“The organisation of the future will call to the higher aspirations of people.”
Gallup research has found that companies with highly engaged workforces “outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.”
“A highly engaged work-force,” Gallup says, “means the difference between a company that outperforms its competitors and one that fails to grow.”

“The organisation of the future will be based on shared purpose.”
Shared purpose increases motivation, job satisfaction, and productivity. A 2016 survey of technology companies showed that employees at Tesla and SpaceX had the lowest paid and most stressful jobs but also the most meaningful and inspiring: their shared purpose outweighed the higher stress and lower pay.

“The organisation of the future will be the embodiment of community.”
The success of a company depends on the contributions its people make. An organisation that behaves as a community and maximises the contribution each person makes, aligning those contributions around an evolving, shared purpose, will generate and coordinate the maximum contributions.

This is the final end point of Inner Leadership: a community of people who all understand their own purpose and values, know how to turn a crisis into an opportunity, and can then inspire themselves and each other to want to make it happen.

This is the organisation of the future: an organisation filled with people who have the skills of Inner Leadership.

And as Dee Hock then says:

“I know it can happen. I’ve been there — or at least gone part of the way… It’s very difficult to put in words, for in truly chaordic organization there is no destination. There is no ultimate being. There is only becoming

“And what about profit? Well, from my experience, profit becomes a barking dog begging to be let in.”

Do you work in an organisation like this? Would you like to? Is your next step to continue as you are, change your organisation, or change yourself?


Inner Leadership is a framework and a set of tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo courtesy of The Systems Thinker

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