Rewire Yourself to Dig Deeper

The late Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus of Visa, shares how a habit to dig deeper into things led to rethinking banking and money by asking new questions.

Rewire Yourself to Dig Deeper
I just had a mental habit from years of debating in high school and college to dig deeper into things, to try to get at the essence of them and not the bells and whistles. So, I started saying: What is a bank, and what is money?
— Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus, Visa

In memoriam

Most people have never heard of Dee Hock, but in a recent memoriam, Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Visa, had this to say:

Dee Hock, Visa’s Founder and CEO Emeritus, is not a household name beyond the world of financial services. Yet, in many ways, his impact and influence surpass that of almost any other leader in the last half-century.

That's quite a statement about someone relatively unknown to most people. However, having heard of Dee Hock for the first time only two years ago, I would agree with Kelly's statement on the significance and influence that Hock has had over the last half-century.

Interestingly, I discovered Dee Hock just two years ago after the pandemic led me to dig deeper into one of my favorite books, Synchronicity by Joesph Jaworski. Read my interview with Joseph here.

Rarely do I spend much time reading the list of praise statements that fill the first few pages of so many books. But this time, I took the time to read through them.

And that's how I discovered Dee Hock.

Written from the heart as well as the head, Synchronicity is the story of one man’s journey toward the place we all must go in the century ahead. Jaworski’s life demonstrates that the immense cultural and institutional change that a livable future demands can begin anytime, anywhere, in anyone, even those who have benefited greatly from the old order of things. — Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus, Visa

Today, we take what Visa and other competing brands do for us for granted and probably don't have an appreciation of how much they impact us and contribute to our lives and world commerce.

We also don't think about or realize the enormous obstacles that need to be overcome to have so many competitive banks give up their brands and come together to operate seamlessly as one entity.

Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus, Visa (Source: Visa)

Ask New Questions to Get at the Essence of Things

In a recent interview, Two Powerful Questions at the Heart of Change with Erika Andersen, author of Change from the Inside Out, Erika shared how asking powerful questions were at the heart of the books she writes:

I write books because I get curious about something. I feel if I could answer whatever I'm curious about, the answers I find would be helpful for people because they are questions about things that are important—for example, the topics of leadership, management, and organizational development.

A key turning point in my work was a decision in 2009 to dig deeper into workplace transformation.

Instead of advocating or associating myself with the latest workplace improvement or transformation trend, I started asking new questions.

  • What is the best improvement strategy?
  • How can we make workplace improvement better?
  • How can we change the recurring failure rate that so many organizations experience with their improvement projects?
  • What are the most important questions we should be asking each other at work?
  • How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?

Those questions led to the creation of 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success in 2010, Forward Thinking Workplaces in 2016, Space Beyond Boundaries in 2020, and many collaborations, interviews, and articles along the way.

What has been the most intriguing lesson I've learned along the way?

We seek to change the world around us and make a better world, but real and lasting change begins with each of us.

This is the same message that Dee Hock, Joseph Jaworski, Stephen Covey, and many others have to share too.

I believe the inner path is the way forward in the 21st century and if you are a human, you are a leader.

How can we make this message more real in the world? This is the key question I'm asking today to dig deeper.

How can you rewire yourself to dig deeper?

— Bill

Bill Fox ⏐Reimagining you + leadership + workplaces
When we enhance our ability to look and listen within, we express our authentic greatness and truth and shift our world from the inside out.