INsight/ Two Things Matter

Sydney, 22 February 2017 — I saw it on the flight to Australia, in a front-page story of the Wall Street Journal. Unusually, the business-focused newspaper highlighted the importance of "worldview." In our fast changing world, the worldview of leaders matters. So does yours, together with your attitude as a leader.

Worldview and attitude are two things that matter to leaders at all levels.

Executives of successful businesses will tell you that they recruit staff based on attitude. If new staff lacks in necessary skills, the company can invest to train them. Not so with attitude.

If someone lacks a positive and engaged attitude, it is difficult for employers to change that. Attitude is a choice you make in your personal development, in your self-leadership.

With a positive attitude, it is easier to engage yourself fully in the work you do, to recognize the work of others, and to partner with people around you to achieve a better result together.

What about worldview?

The way you see the world around you is a reflection of how you are coping with your life conditions, according to Professor Clare W. Graves, the father of the bio-socio-psychological method that is known nowadays as Spiral Dynamics.

All of us start life with a narrow worldview, focused on mother and family, followed by our growing sense of self. Through education and life experiences, our worldview grows wider, as we learn to partner in work and life relationships.

Our worldview will change as we learn to cope with changes in our life conditions, said Professor Graves, adding that it takes time, and that the change can go in both directions, wider or narrower.

This week, the BBC reported how Germany's leader Angela Merkel cautioned against a narrower worldview in political and economic relations in Europe and across the Atlantic. 

"Will we be able," she asked, "to act in concert together or (will we) fall back into parochial policies?"

We can observe that the worldviews of leaders seem to be growing more diverse at this time when economies are growing more connected across boundaries than ever before in history.

It seems a good moment, therefore, to reflect that narrow parochial and partisan worldviews will not help to build a connected and inclusive world with sustainable economies. Neither will presumptuous worldviews advocated from towers of power.

What we need to see more of is leaders embracing a worldview that is focused on partnering for results, by building bridges, and with an attitude of positive engagement. Angela Merkel and several other leaders in the West and the East keep underlining this point.

The Four Ps – Worldview & Attitude Model shows in visual form that the green quadrant is what we can choose to aim for as leaders, in whatever level and situation we find ourselves in.

Let us keep our focus on building bridges, with as much persistence as the situation demands. As leaders, our worldview and our attitude matter, and they are ours to choose.

Will we be able to act in concert together or (will we) fall back into parochial policies?
— Angela Merkel