By Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup
More and more often, global leaders are asking us the same simple, yet colossal, question: "Does anyone know for sure what the world is thinking?"
There is a great deal of classic economic data that records an infinite amount of human transactions, from CDP to unemployment to birth and death rates, that indicate what man and woman are doing, but there is no ongoing, infinite, systematic account of what man and woman are thinking.
Global leaders are right to wonder. To know what the whole world is thinking - not just what people in their own countries are thinking - on almost al1 issues all the time would certainly make their jobs a lot easier at the very least. .At most, 1inowi.ng what the world is thinking would create newfound precision in world leadership. Leaders wouldn't make mistakes and miss opportunities because they misjudge the hearts and minds of heir constituencies, and the other 6 billion with whom those constituencies interact.
We think we have found a very good answer to that very good question. We created a new body of behavioural economic data for world leaders that represents the opinion of all 6 billion inhabitants, reported by country and almost all demographics and sociographics imaginable.
We call it the World Poll. We've committed to doing it for 100 years
The World Poll
We knew the whole project hung on the questionnaire. It needed to cover almost every issue in, the world, be translated accurately into dozens of languages, and be meaningful in every culture. Even more difficult was engineering consistent sampling frames in more than 100 countries from Ecuador to Rwanda, Iran, Russia, Afghanistan, Ireland, Cuba, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Venezuela, Honduras, China…
Having constructed the questionnaire, our team of experts found its next biggest challenge was choosing a methodology to ensure consistent data collection so the whole set is comparable. For instance, when we ask about the life satisfaction, everyone from a Manhattan socialite to a Masai mother has to be asked the same question every time in the same way with the same meaning and their own language so the answers could be statistically comparable. If the meaning of the questions isn’t identical from language to language, culture to culture, year to year, the data are useless.
Furthermore, we needed to create the first-ever reliable and consistent benchmarks so leaders can see the trends and patterns. So we benchmarked well-being, war and peace, law and order, hopes and dreams, healthcare, suffering and striving, personal economics, poverty, environmental issues, workplaces, and on and on.
We have now completed the design, engineering, and first year of global data collection. The first-ever world poll on almost everything is done when our Gallup scientists, affiliated academics, and colleagues from around the world who helped us make the poll got busy. They counted and sorted and used every statistical technique known to man to analyze exactly what the world is thinking. The conclusions are complex. This may be the great understatement in Gallup's history, but it's true.
For instance, when you dig deeply into the hopes, fears, motivations, and satisfactions of 1 billion Muslims, the more you learn, the more you realize how little the world knows, how wrong people are, and how much more complicated Muslim attitudes and opinions are than conventional wisdom would lead us to believe. Western leaders tell us religion drives Muslims to war. But Muslim extremists tell the World Poll their anger is not about religion, it's about politics.
It's the same with the 3 billion people who live on $2 a day or less - the hungry half of the world's population. What they're thinking is very different from what most government agencies arid NGOs understand and report. While we're rushing them food and medicine, most of them feel the only real solution is jobs.
The great global goal
Gallup is committed to conducting the World Poll for 100; years, but we may have already found the single most world-altering fact. If used appropriately, it may change how every leader runs his or her country. But all leaders - policy- and lawmakers, presidents and prime ministers, parents, judges, priests, pastors, imams, teachers, managers, and CEOs – need to consider it every day in everything they do:
What the whole world wants is a good job.
That is one of the single biggest discoveries Gallup has ever made. It is as simple and as straightforward an explanation of the data as we can give. Humans used to desire love, money, food, shelter, safety, and/or peace more than anything else. The last 25 years have changed us. Now we want to have a good job. This changes everything for world leaders. Everything they do - from waging war to building societies - will need to be done within the new context of the human need for a "good job."
How does this change everything? The leaders of countries and cities must make creating good jobs their No. 1 mission and primary purpose cause securing good jobs is becoming the new currency for leadership. Everything leaders do must consider this new global state of mind, lest they put their cities and countries at risk.
The evolution of the great global dream is going to be the material of a million Ph.D. dissertations. But it's only the beginning of the story. The shift in importance to "a good job" leads to a significant change in the evolution of civilizations. There are endless indicators, but the most evident change is in global migration patterns.
Today's explorers migrate to the cities that are most likely to maximize innovation, and entrepreneurial talents and skills. Wherever they can freely migrate is where the next economic empires will rise. San Francisco, Mumbai, and Dublin have become hotbeds of job creation. Highly talented explorers with the best skills and the most knowledge are attracted to the best cities. When they choose your city, you attain the new Holy Grail of global leadership - brain gain.
Brain gain is defined as a city's or country's attraction of talented people whose exceptional gifts and knowledge create new business and new jobs and increase that city's or country's economy To some degree, all cities of all sizes, everywhere in the world, have a success story of brain gain. Someone had a good idea, and its implementation created new jobs in that town. Brain gain is the big-bang theory of economic development. The challenge leaders face is how to trigger brain gain in their cities.
Talented people drive their immediate economy and that of everything around them. They are drivers of GDP. Brain gain contributes to a country's CDP growth. A country grows one city at a time. A city grows one organization at a time. An organization grows one star at a time. And all organizations are economic engines for all cities.
Creating brain gain
Talented people create brain gain. Brain gain and brain drain are among the most crucial factors for the growth and well-being of any organization - from a one-employee business to the most powerful government on Earth.
The most important issue for leaders is to identify and cultivate the conditions that create brain gain. They have to know the key factors. We ask 100 core questions in our standard World Poll survey regarding seven critical conditions of life, conditions that are present in every country. When any of these conditions are higher or have momentum, it is likely that brain gain and CDP are higher. The seven critical conditions cover law and order, food and shelter, work, economics, health, well-being, and citizen engagement.
From the very beginning of our 70 years of observing and studying the practice of leadership, we've known that unless a city or country has several committed, admired, and talented leaders in place, growth won't occur.
The World Path model assumes the primary purpose of all "new world" leadership is to create an environment in which talented people want to live and work. This new global leadership responsibility rises above every other duty. Attracting, retaining, and developing talent in your organization, city, and country is now a more important variable than natural resources, ports, and even direct investment.
A successful team of global leaders will need both state-of-the-art classic economics, such as GDP, inflation, population, and birth rates, and state-of-the-art behavioural economics, such as law and order, citizen engagement, and well-being, to affect the migration patterns of the most talented people and create the next global economic empire
Asking the Right Questions
Sample Core Questions From the Gallup World Poll
• In this country, do you have confidence in the national government?
• In this country, do you have confidence in the military?
• In this country, do you have confidence in the honesty of elections?
Law and Order
• In the city or area where you live, do you have confidence in the local police force, or not?
• Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?
• Within the last 12 months, have you had money or property stolen from you or another household member?
Food and Shelter
• Does your home have running water?
• Does your home have electricity?
• Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?
• Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with efforts to increase the number and quality of jobs?
• Are you satisfied of dissatisfied with your job or the work you do?
• In your work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day, or not?
• Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your standard of living, all the things you can buy or do?
• Right now, do you feel your standard of living is getting better or getting worse?
• Do you believe the current economic conditions in (your country) are good, or not?
• Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your personal health?
• Do you have any health problems that prevent you from doing any of the things people your age normally can do?
• Did you experience the following feelings during a lot of the day yesterday? Physical pain? Sadness? Worry?
• Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?
• Did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?
• Were you treated with respect all day yesterday?
• Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the city or area where you live?
• Is the city or area where you live a good place or not a good place to live for… Racial and ethnic minorities? Religious minorities?
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