Dee Hock on the organisation of the future

Dee HockDee Hock founded the Visa credit card association.

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.”

At first sight this seems surprising: a community? Based on purpose? Calling to people’s higher aspirations?

Let’s unpack what he said:

  1. “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.”
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  2. “The organisation of the future will be based on shared purpose.”
    Shared purpose creates higher 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.
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  3. “The organisation of the future will be the embodiment of community.”
    The success of a company depends on the contributions its people make. Having a shared purpose increases that contribution. An organisation that then encourages each person to understand and develop their individual contribution will be even more successful. Such an organisation becomes a ‘community’ of people, each playing their role as part of something greater, according to their unique talents and aspirations, and developing the contribution that is theirs alone to make.

The organisation of the future will be the embodiment of community, based on shared purpose, calling to the higher aspirations of people.

This is the end-point that the tools of Inner Leadership take us to, one person at a time. Inner Leadership enables anyone to get clearer on their higher aspirations and purpose, find more ways of putting these into practice, and inspire others to want to join. The more people can do this, the larger the organisation can grow.

Dee goes on to say:

“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 [a] 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.”

The organisation of the future will be a community of people, aligned around a shared purpose, working together to increase their abilities to achieve whatever matters most to them.

Does your organisation have a shared purpose? Does your organisation operate as a community? Is your organisation helping you to achieve your highest aspirations?


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

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Photo courtesy of The Systems Thinker

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