Archive for July, 2006

Birth of the Chaordic Age

July 15th, 2006

It was never my intention to make this Blog a weekly book review.  In fact, it was inconceivable to me that there would be two books that I’d even want to write about, but here goes.  Birth of the Chaordic Age by Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus of VISA was recommended to me, and actually sent to me by a very brilliant guy a few days after I had attempted to explain my philosophy of management to him.

If you are a student of management, or a front line manager, or one of those people about whom I wrote in an earlier blog: They are the BULLIES. You will see that there is hope.  At least one CEO in the country (besides me) gets it.

Dee_hock Dee is a very smart guy and, according to the book jacket, is currently founder and CEO of the Chaordic Alliance, a nonprofit committed to the formation of practical, innovative, organizations that blend competition and cooperation to address critical societal issues, and to the development of new organizational concepts that more equitably distribute power and wealth and are more compatible with the human spirit and biosphere.

Dee says plenty of things that absolutely nail it for me.  “Forming a chaordic organization begins with an intensive search for PURPOSE, then proceeds to PRINCIPLES, PEOPLE and CONCEPT and only then to STRUCTURE and PRACTICE.”

One of my favorite sections, too long for this blog, involves the reality quoted earlier:

“The Industrial Age, hierarchical, command-and-control institutions that, over the past four hundred years, have grown to dominate our commercial, political and social lives are increasingly irrelevant . . . They are failing . . .organizations increasingly unable to achieve the purpose for which they were created, yet continuing to expand as they devour resources, decimate the earth and demean humanity.”

Willis Harman, former President, Institute of Noetic Sciences, writes: “Dee Hock describes a new organizational culture that might well spell the difference between a smooth, orderly transition to a more salubrious, sustainable society and the chaos and anarchy that some see in our near-term future.”

So, as Paul Harvey said when he described us on his radio program, “And now for the rest of the story.”

My entire professional career has been dedicated to attempting to create an environment that was not like the hierarchical organizations where I had previously been employed.  Unfortunately, the bullies live on, and the world is under attack in every way by their greed and their egos.

So, think about buying Birth of the Chaordic Age.  For some of you, life may change.  For others of you, there may be a rebirth of your spirit, and for the rest of you, understand that there is a movement to unseat your archaic beliefs, those beliefs that currently feed our wars, our pollution and our failed systems.


From the Beach to the Beach

July 9th, 2006

Voorhaven_in_rotterdam4 It’s 5:48 PM and my last meeting is over for the day. That’s actually not a bad time to begin the evening, but it’s not a normal Sunday evening because I’m in the Netherlands looking out over the North Sea. (At least that’s what they tell me this beautiful body of water is outside my window.)

Actually, the meetings started as soon as we landed on Friday morning and, except for some down time yesterday, will be nonstop until we fly home Tuesday morning. (This was one of those week-ends where it was great to be me.)

For those of you who are younger, this date may not be particularly meaningful, but my last trip here was in 1969. In fact, it was December of 1969, and we actually stayed on The Continent to celebrate the beginning of the 1970’s. Who could have known that it would take this long to get back to the Netherlands, but it has been well worth the wait.


I liked the Netherlands on my first trip, in fact, it was F-U-N for a 22 year old recent college graduate, but this time, I can honestly say that I have loved it here. The people have been wonderful. They are honest, straightforward, and very accommodating, and the towns: Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague have all been absolutely charming.

We are here to consummate our research partnerships with the various medical centers, and to establish a foot-hold in Europe.

In the past 50 hours, I have been exposed to art, antiques, museums, music and business as casually as I’m normally exposed to fresh air and mountain breezes back home. Each city has produced a special type of “drive by” entertainment that only a native of Western Pennsylvania can truly appreciate. The parks are filled with incredible musicians and the galleries are bursting with challenging new exhibits. The canals are lined with the most interesting and creative sculptures, and there is live music everywhere. The real beauty of it all is that it is just part of the landscape here, not a special event or a special week-end.

Erasmusmclogo_1We’ve been meeting with our representatives from Taskforce Europe, with members of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, with leadership from Erasmus Medical Center, and TNO. So, Ron, Steef, Conchita, Emmie, Ronald, et al… thanks for the beginning of a wonderful scientific and business relationship.

And Jude and Nina, if you’re reading this, I’ve got the “magic shoes.”