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Three Colors of Worldview

The Three Colors of Worldview drivers illuminate and give language to how our cultural thinking, speaking and acting influences our daily interactions with world around us.

Personality has a significant impact on our day-to-day thinking speaking and acting, but there is something that is just as powerful: our Cultural Worldview.

The three cultural worldview drivers illuminate and give language to how our cultural thinking, speaking, and acting influence our daily interactions with the world around us. Understanding these 3 Worldview drivers equips you with powerful new insights to develop relational success at home, with friends, in society, and at work.

Your personal cultural preferences are a mixture of the following three drivers:

  • Doing that which brings honor (honor <> shame) 

  • Doing the right thing (innocence <> guilt) and

  • Doing that which brings control, power & influence (power <> fear).

By deepening your understanding of the Three Colors of Worldview and learning to adjust your behavior to connect more effectively you will increase your Cultural Agility.

The Three Colors of Worldview are also a powerful tool to develop team and organizational culture through using the "Three Colors of Worldview Litmus Test", Developing cultures where the collective thinking, speaking, and acting meets three criteria:

  • Doing right by each other

  • Honoring each other

  • Being empowering and life-giving to each other

The Three Colors of Worldview can be visualized as three colored lenses - formed of the basic cultural beliefs and assumptions underlying behavior and culture. Our thinking, speaking, and acting are filtered through our unique mix of these Three Colors of Worldview. For example, is being seen as honorable more important than being seen as right? Or is maintaining positional power more important than being shamed?

To communicate effectively in any intercultural situation, you need to recognize your mix own of cultural worldview drivers and the worldview drivers of the people with whom you are communicating.

The Lenses Through Which We View The World

1. Honor-Shame

People who use Honor/Shame as their primary driver focus on doing that which is seen as honorable and that which brings honor to 'their people'. This can be a family, tribe, nation, or it can be a team or organization. Societies with a predominantly Honor-Shame worldview teach children to make honorable choices according to the situations they find themselves in. Communication, interpersonal interaction, and business dealings are very relationship-driven, with every interaction affecting the honor-shame status of the participants

2. Innocence-Guilt

People who use Innocence/Guilt as their primary driver are first of all focused on doing the right thing. They prefer to have rules, agreements, and contracts to have clarity on what is allowed and what is not allowed. Children are raised with thinking skills like deductive reasoning, cause and effect, and asking and engaging good questions. They want to avoid doing the wrong thing or being seen as guilty. Sometimes this can lead to such a drive for proving their innocence that they lose sight of what is moral and ethical ("but I didn't break the law...")

3. Power-Fear

Societies with a predominantly Power-Fear worldview raise children to assess where they fit in the pecking order of every situation and behave accordingly. Learning lessons about positive ways to use power (being empowering and life-giving) and negative ways to use power (create fear and suck the life out of people). As they grow up, they learn how to align themselves with the right people to gain more influence and power.

How the Three Worldviews Interact


In societies that see things primarily through a Innocence-Guilt lens, what is “honorable” is whatever follows the letter and spirit of the law. People from this culture can find it hard to understand the diverse range of things that can fall under honor and shame in other cultures.


People with a more Honor-Shame orientation can find it difficult to correctly interpret the actions of people with a more Innocence-Guilt preference, who often display behaviors that bring shame to  themselves or their colleagues without realizing that they have done so.

Power-Fear is a natural part of many hierarchies and is in every

sphere of society. People with a Power-Fear orientation believe

authority and hierarchy are important. People in positions of power

have a choice to make. What they will do with their power? Will they

use it to be empowering and life-giving to all or will they use

their power to become more powerful and instill fear, insecurity,

and ambiguity in the people around them?

Each of the cultural lenses has positives and negatives, and all of them are present in some mixture in every cultural context. They represent the deeper cultural beliefs that undergird people's cultural norms and values. The Three Colors of Worldview is best used to understand the deeper cultural beliefs while the "Cultural Mapping Inventory" (12 Dimensions of Culture) is best used to illuminate what drives our cultural norms and values.

The Three Colors of Worldview Discovery Tool

The Three Colors of Worldview Discovery tool was developed to assist people with a deeper understanding of their own and other people’s cultural drivers, motivators and demotivators.

The Three Colors of Worldview are discovered through an online questionnaire and a blended learning approach that could include the following components: eLearning, self-discovery, coaching and group facilitation. Self and other-discovery, reflection and application will allow participants to:

  1. Apply the framework to their own cultural journey and can explain their own cultural drivers, motivators and demotivators using the language of the Three Colors of Worldview

  2. Know how to use the Three Colors of Worldview Framework to more accurately assess individuals, groups and systems/processes

  3. Develop adaptation strategies in one-to-one and group interactions leading to more successful relationships and work and beyond

  4. Apply the Three Colors of Worldview framework to become more effective in key organizational focus areas like: collaboration, communication, client engagement & sales, leadership and teaming.


The Three Colors of Worldview tool was developed in conjunction with the Cultural Mapping Inventory (CMi) assessment.

The Three Colors of Worldview Discovery report is a rich 15-page individual report, which includes a clear guide for action with practical adaptation strategies to engage more effectively in an intercultural world.

The Three Colors of Worldview help you identify the deeper cultural drivers at play. To complete your toolbox you need to add one more component. The Cultural Mapping inventory (12 Dimensions of Culture) will equip you with a grid and a language to understand the 'cultural why' behind people's thinking, speaking and acting.

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