Dee Hock on the organisation of the future

Dee Hock, founder of VISA

When Dee Hock founded the Visa credit card company he created a new type of organisation structure. He called this new structure chaordic: a mixture of chaos and order that has proved extremely successful over the years.

In a recent article Dee 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 what this means.

  • “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 inspirational: their shared purpose outweighed the higher stress and lower pay.
    .
  • “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 workforce,” 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 the embodiment of community.”
    A company’s results depend on the contributions of its people. An organisation that acts as a community and maximises the contribution of each person while aligning them around an evolving shared purpose will maximise its results.

All this is the ultimate outcome of the Inner Leadership framework and tools.

First, Inner Leadership creates people who understand their own purpose, values, and unique contribution. Second, it enables those people to calmly convert any challenges they face into opportunities to achieve more of their purpose and values — and inspire themselves and the people around them to make that happen. And third, when a community of such people come together in an organisation built around shared purpose and values, not only do they increase their motivation, job satisfaction, and productivity but by working together in this organisation they also maximise their ability to express themselves most fully in the world, to self-actualise.

This is the organisation of the future: an organisation filled with people with the skills of Inner Leadership, who know who they are and who they want to become, and who know that they can best do so by helping the ‘community’ that shares their shared purpose and values to succeed.

As Dee Hock 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.”

Would you like to work in an organisation like this? Do you already? 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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(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also need to practice.)


Photo courtesy of The Systems Thinker

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