— Dee Hock, founder, and CEO emeritus, Visa
There’s no shortage of advice on being an effective leader today. Social media and the business press are filled with a constant stream of articles and new books on how to be a better leader.
In his article, The leadership illusion, Dan Howden, VP at Workable, asks, “What would you say about a global industry worth $45 billion annually that was delivering no apparent value?”
Today’s prevailing wisdom is that leadership is all about focusing on others — inspiring, serving, and making better people of others. However, given the apparent lack of leadership in the world today, maybe it’s time for new questions and new thinking.
Dee Hock, founder and CEO emeritus of Visa, clearly believes it’s time for new thinking on leadership and offers a contrarian view.
We were all born leaders; that is until we were sent to school and taught to be managed and to manage.— Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus, Visa
Hock believes that in today’s complex world, the first and most important responsibility of a leader is to lead oneself by focusing on our “own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words, and acts.”
According to Hock, traditional Industrial-Age thinking and practices on leadership are no longer adequate in an increasingly complex and chaotic world. He believes such a world requires a much different consciousness.
It was Dee Hock who first introduced the world to chaordic leadership. He invented the word when he founded Visa. Chaordic leadership blends chaos and order into a more effective response in a world that’s moving faster and faster every day.
In 1968, Hock convinced BankAmericard to give up ownership and control of their credit card business to form what eventually became known as Visa in 1996.
We take for granted what it might have taken to bring together hundreds of competing bank cards to work together as one. Today, Visa is an almost invisible trillion-dollar entity with thousands of competitors that seamlessly work together to provide a valuable service to businesses and consumers worldwide.
We are all leaders
Earlier this year, I submitted final edits to Cutter for my article, The 21st-Century Team Member Is a Leader of One: Themselves. It will be published in Cutter’s Amplify journal.
After finishing the article, I discovered an essay by Dee Hock on Leadership in Today’s World. In his article, Hock shares what he learned about leadership in a middle-of-the-night encounter with a one-horned mother cow.
You might say it’s an example of the challenges we are all facing today. It’s a fascinating story, so I hope you will take a few minutes to read it.
In my writing and experience, and likewise in Hock’s article, we both believe everyone is a leader. “We were all born leaders; that is until we were sent to school and taught to be managed and to manage.”
The Cutter article makes a case for why it’s time for everyone to rise to the times and express their inherent leadership and why it’s becoming a necessity in today’s chaotic and fast-changing world. I also share how we can awaken this capacity in everyone.