Worldviews: What They Are and Why They Matter

The word “worldview” has infiltrated our lexicons around the world. It has moved out of philosophy, Christian writing and science into common usage. There is an assumption of common understanding about what a worldview is and what it means, but is that true?

Our Worldview Intelligence work, naturally, centers around worldviews – overarching collective worldviews and individual worldviews. Before you can become Worldview Intelligent, you must be worldview aware and have an understanding of what worldviews are, how they are formed and why it matters.

The Lenses Through Which We See and Experience the World

Camera lenses of different sizes, scopes and magnification.

Worldviews are the lenses through which we see and experience the world. They are different for each of us. Individuals, families, communities, teams, companies, countries, cultures all have worldviews. This can be a surprise to many people as it is common to carry an assumption that others see and experience the world in similar ways. This is also why it can be so challenging to understand someone with very different perspectives or beliefs. This awareness is often the first point of expansion.

Worldviews are socially and locally constructed. This means they are formed in relationship to other people and they are shaped by where we grow up and where we live.

Influencing Communication, Relationship and Conflict

Worldviews influence communication, relationship and tension or conflict, usually without us being aware of how that is happening since they operate largely in our unawareness. Simply illuminating worldviews can improve communication and reduce conflict.

A starting point in developing Worldview Awareness:

  1. Ask yourself, what is your day-to-day reality or lived experience? How is that different from someone you know or work with? How might that influence your communication?
  2. For issues you are passionate about or believe in strongly, how did you come to see and understand that issue the way you do? If you are in conflict with someone about this issue, ask yourself, how did they come to see or understand that issue the way they do. If you can do this with compassion and curiosity, you may find an exploratory space opening up.

Worldview Intelligence Competence is a Game Changer

Developing competency in Worldview Intelligence and the skill to work with worldviews in all domains can be a game changer and, for an organization, a competitive advantage.