What Kind of World Are You Building?

Jim and Michele McCarthy are the authors of SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HEAD, a book about structuring essential interactions inside great teams. There is one piece of this book, the chapter on the FarVision Protocol, which is very interesting.


It is as follows:

You work hard, burn out, and wonder why you bother.

You always play a role in creating the future, whether you choose to manage that role or not. Perhaps it is true of you that you can see no greater purpose to your work than supplying your own material needs and those of your company. Without purpose, you have a random effect on the future. That is, the world that results from your efforts is an accidental world.

Your team’s FarVision must answer this question:

What kind of world are you building?

The initial answers to this question are not always satisfying, because you don’t usually think of your daily activities as world building. When suddenly faced with such a question, you feel unprepared. You might avoid a direct answer. You might ask for clarification of the question. You might try to talk away the emptiness of your preliminary answer. Regardless of the response triggered by this query, there is real value in asking and answering the question, because it focuses the mind on the larger opportunities available.

If you are unable to directly and unself-consciously answer this question, you may want to examine why you don’t see the significance of your daily grind. Of course, the question of what kind of world you are building makes no sense at all unless you accept the implication that you are, in fact, building a world. Most of the time, of course, you may not consciously engage in the task of world building.

Nevertheless, your engagement in world building is a simple truth. You have beliefs. Every day you act on those beliefs. Your actions have external effects, and ultimately they cause your beliefs to materialize in the world. In essence, you change the world to look more like your beliefs. You build a world.

If you really are building a world, and if you are doing so unconsciously, you literally don’t know what you are doing. While you might not identify your purpose as the creation of a world, having a larger motivating purpose gives you a frame of reference for choosing alternatives. It is difficult to see how you can truly meet your daily challenges unless you bring a sense of purpose to each moment. Maintaining a broader purpose seems a necessary precondition of enjoying the highest levels of personal integrity.

To have integrity, your intention, your words, and your actions must be aligned. If you know what kind of world someone is building, and you are building the same kind of world, then you can work together on this goal, with much less noise and wasted effort cluttering the environment between you.

Like other team qualities, team integrity is the aggregate of the personal integrities of each team member, enhanced or diminished however much by the effects of the interpersonal synergy. The aggregate level of integrity has a positive correlation with desirable results.

Without a central purpose, an individual or team finds it impossible to make enlightened choices. Each day you make many choices. Before doing so, you check the alternatives against your larger purpose and envision how the alternatives might play out in the world you want to create. Wise choices, those that promote your world’s completion at reduced cost or in nearer time frames, are maximally useful to your purpose.

Even without the context of a larger purpose, you still must select from alternatives. Without an organizing purpose, however, your choices will be made according to whim and spontaneous, sometimes bizarre, and usually inconsistent motives. Inefficiency, apathy, premature cynicism, and failure result when individuals or teams make product design decisions in this way. The Core, on the other hand, provides you with a purpose template: to build a world.

Individuals, teams, and institutions have found that the most challenging, useful, and satisfying task is world building.


Many worlds and many kinds of worlds are possible.



SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HEAD is a book. It’s available as a free PDF via the this link:  Free PDF Book. The aim of the book is to focus your attention on techniques for structuring great interactions…in pursuit of creating great teams.