LONDON: 'The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true,' wrote US novelist James Branch Cabell. Which incisive insight might help explain the findings of the latest research into business confidence from WPP Group's Mindshare Worldwide.

The media network's Business MindReader survey sought the views of 5,500 business decision makers within eleven markets: Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, the US and UK. Most of whom appear to have donned rose-tinted spectacles.

Ninety-six per cent of respondents declared themselves 'optimistic' and 'not sceptical' about the future faced by their businesses. Despite which, 73% admitted their key concern was 'economic uncertainty'.

As to their major priorities, half the participants regard 'finding and keeping talent' as a priority in their businesses; while more than 72% view 'focusing on big issues' as a key priority.

Among the report's other gems is the revelation that 94% said they would 'seek new challenges rather than take the accepted promotion path'.

The inevitable product placement was dutifully delivered by Mindshare's leader of business planning Sheila Byfield: "Change drivers like Sir Richard Branson and Sir Martin Sorrell never stop looking for opportunities, whether times are good or bad.

"This group has different attitudes to other senior executives. They influence the future shape of our business worlds and are incredibly important to the future director of business brands."

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff