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Dee Hock- Insights from a Visionary

Dee Hock is a visionary. He is most well known as the founder and head of VISA from 1970 to 1984. He is also an amazing thinker and writer. Over the last few months, I buckled down and read all his essays at http://www.deewhock.com/essays Heavy stuff!

Here are points he made that most resonated for me. Which ones resonate with you?

  • Today’s immense change requires chaotic concepts of organization that can more equitably distribute power and wealth, unshackle human ingenuity, and restore harmony between societal organizations, the human spirit, and the biosphere.
  • Leader and follower imply the continual freedom and independence of judgment of both. A leader cannot be bound to lead. A true follower cannot be bound to follow. The moment they are bound, they are no longer leader and follower.
  • The best definition of lead is to “go before and show the way”.
  • The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who reports to manage is to manage one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, temperament, words, and acts. This is much more difficult than prescribing and controlling the behavior of others.
  • Without exceptional management of self, no one is fit for authority, no matter how much they acquire. In fact, the more authority they acquire the more dangerous they become.
  • We should spend 35% of our time managing ourselves. We should devote 25% of our time and ability to managing those with authority over us. We should devote 25% of our time and energy to management of peers. Of course, this leaves very little time for managing subordinates, which is how it should be.
  • Forget management. Lead yourself, lead your superiors, lead your peers, employ good people and give them the freedom to do the same. All else is trivia!
  • Don’t live how you think you “ought to live “, be authentic and lead the way.
  • The only place where there is absolute, perfect control, is in the coffin.
  • Tyranny is tyranny, no matter how well intended, cleverly rationalized, or unconsciously perpetrated.
  • Corporations want to socialize their costs and capitalize their profits.
  • To call large agglomerations of people, places and things a community, where proximity is impossible, is to rob the word of all meaning. A community requires proximity, non-material value, and non-monetary exchange of value.
  • Life is a gift that comes bearing a gift which is the art of giving.
  • All knowledge is an approximation.
  • “Taking a new step, ordering a new word, is what people fear most. “ quoting Dostoevsky
  • Giving up any part of our internal model of reality is as bad as losing a finger or an eye. Part of us no longer exists. Oh, how we hate to give it up!
  • The speed of change also means we can fix problems faster.
  • Only a few generations ago, the present stretched relatively unaltered from a distant past into a dim future. Today, the past is ever less predictable, the future ever less predictable, and the present scarcely exists at all!
  • When things are moving fast, what do you hold onto?
  • “They that reference to much the old times are but a scorn to the new.” quoting Sir Francis Bacon
  • “Come full circle to the place from which we set out and see it for the first time. “ quoting TS Elliot
  • We are not helpless victims in the grasp of some supernatural force. We are active participants in the creation of our present consciousness.