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 calls chaordic: a mixture of chaos and order that has performed extremely well over the years.

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 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 inspiring: 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 behaves as a community and so maximises the contribution of each person while aligning them around an evolving, shared purpose, will maximise its results.

This is the ultimate outcome of the Inner Leadership framework and tools: a community of people who understand their own purpose and values, know how this aligns with the purpose and values of the organisation they work in, understand the unique contribution they make, know how to turn a crisis into an opportunity to grow themselves and their organisation, and inspire themselves and each other to do what needs to be done.

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

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.”

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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