What it takes to be a world changer

Posted 8.2.2016

Clasped hands with satellite image of Earth superimposed

Classes at the Weatherhead School of Management are made of individual relationships – student-student and professor-student. While the Fowler Center’s core concept of Business as an Agent of World Benefit works toward empowering entire enterprises to benefit the world, it starts with the inspiration and education of individual world changers.

What do we encourage our students to learn and embody on their path to becoming world changers? They must have firm core values that are visible through clear action. Ask yourself if you have mastered these areas, and choose something to focus on for the next few months as you inspire the people and organizations around you toward world change:

1. Commitment to success through integrity

Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and fair” and “the state of being complete or whole.” Without thorough honesty and a consistent desire to understand and act on what’s fair, it’s impossible to become a true world changer. Actions that appear to benefit others must derive from an honest motivation to help; otherwise, the real beneficiary, however hidden, becomes the individual.

2. Desire to see results

Many individuals are naturally honest and fair, and they must ensure these characteristics can be witnessed by others through their actions. A bias for action can be learned as peers and leaders build confidence and provide feedback. By beginning to show others their character through frequent and decisive action, professionals can build trust and inspire those who are looking for leadership.

3. Aversion to control

World changers have big goals that require concentrated action plans. A tendency toward controlling the execution of these action plans breaks trust and builds resentment among teammates. Instead, take note from The Wiseman Group’s research around an approach to leadership: the concept of multipliers. According to multipliersbooks.com, multipliers “are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. When these leaders walk into a room, light bulbs go on; ideas flow and problems get solved.” Rather than taking control to ensure people finish the work, these leaders communicate and manage in a way that “inspires…people…to stretch themselves and surpass expectations.”

4. Genuine passion for a cause

It may not be something you’ve always been passionate about. It may not be considered by all the most important need in the world. But you must find your greater purpose for becoming a world changer. Such a task is overwhelming without a driving force larger than yourself, or even the enterprises you work with.

According to Weatherhead’s Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior Chris Laszlo, “Recent research has been focused on going beyond the business case, looking at how individual flourishing – based on what we’re terming spiritual experience through a greater sense of connectedness that people have, to their own purpose, to community, and to the larger environment – is helping them to make decisions that support sustainability in everything they do.”



So what’s your greater sense of connectedness? How can you inspire rather than control those around you to experience a similar connection to purpose, the community and the environment? Multiplying your colleagues into flourishing individuals can create even more world changers – and ultimately enterprises that can become agents of world benefit.

Interested in learning more about Weatherhead programs? Request more information or apply now, or register for one of over 70 open enrollment courses through Executive Education.

Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University cultivates creativity, innovation, and purpose-driven leadership to design a better world.