Unlocking Cultural Agility with Marco Blankenburgh

The Three Colors of Worldview: A Deep Dive into Cultural Drivers (part 1)

June 25, 2024 Shelley Reinhart, Marco Blankenburgh Season 1 Episode 26
The Three Colors of Worldview: A Deep Dive into Cultural Drivers (part 1)
Unlocking Cultural Agility with Marco Blankenburgh
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Unlocking Cultural Agility with Marco Blankenburgh
The Three Colors of Worldview: A Deep Dive into Cultural Drivers (part 1)
Jun 25, 2024 Season 1 Episode 26
Shelley Reinhart, Marco Blankenburgh

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What if understanding three simple colors could transform your perspective on intercultural connection? Join us as Shelley Reinhart welcomes Marco, International Director of KnowledgeWorks, to discuss the innovative framework known as the Three Colors of Worldview. We challenge the limitations of traditional intercultural literature by unveiling a more profound approach that transcends country-specific clichés. Drawing inspiration from psychometric tools and Roland Muller's groundbreaking work, this discovery tool offers deeper insights into our self-cultural identities, moving beyond superficial tips and tricks.

Dive into the intricate dynamics of honor, innocence, and power with us. Marco shares personal stories highlighting how these powerful forces shape decision-making and behavior. From family expectations to societal norms, discover how these cultural drivers influence choices about education, marriage, and career. Shelley and Marco bring real-life experiences to provide a vivid illustration of how these concepts operate across different cultural contexts, offering invaluable lessons and fostering greater cultural awareness.

Take the Three Colors of Worldview Assessment at interculturalagility.com/assessments

| In this episode, you will learn:
- The Origins of the Three Colors of Worldview Discovery Tool
- The Beautiful Side of Each of the Three Colors of Worldview
- Why Shame, Guilt, and Fear are Part of the Three Colors Framework

| Read More about the Three Colors of Worldview 

- Three Colors of Worldview  (https://www.knowledgeworkx.com/post/three-colors-of-worldview)
- Cultural Paradigms and Traffic Jams (https://www.knowledgeworkx.com/post/cultural-paradigms-and-traffic-jams)
- The Beauty of Power  (https://www.knowledgeworkx.com/post/the-beauty-of-power)

-- Brought to you by KnowledgeWorkx.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

What if understanding three simple colors could transform your perspective on intercultural connection? Join us as Shelley Reinhart welcomes Marco, International Director of KnowledgeWorks, to discuss the innovative framework known as the Three Colors of Worldview. We challenge the limitations of traditional intercultural literature by unveiling a more profound approach that transcends country-specific clichés. Drawing inspiration from psychometric tools and Roland Muller's groundbreaking work, this discovery tool offers deeper insights into our self-cultural identities, moving beyond superficial tips and tricks.

Dive into the intricate dynamics of honor, innocence, and power with us. Marco shares personal stories highlighting how these powerful forces shape decision-making and behavior. From family expectations to societal norms, discover how these cultural drivers influence choices about education, marriage, and career. Shelley and Marco bring real-life experiences to provide a vivid illustration of how these concepts operate across different cultural contexts, offering invaluable lessons and fostering greater cultural awareness.

Take the Three Colors of Worldview Assessment at interculturalagility.com/assessments

| In this episode, you will learn:
- The Origins of the Three Colors of Worldview Discovery Tool
- The Beautiful Side of Each of the Three Colors of Worldview
- Why Shame, Guilt, and Fear are Part of the Three Colors Framework

| Read More about the Three Colors of Worldview 

- Three Colors of Worldview  (https://www.knowledgeworkx.com/post/three-colors-of-worldview)
- Cultural Paradigms and Traffic Jams (https://www.knowledgeworkx.com/post/cultural-paradigms-and-traffic-jams)
- The Beauty of Power  (https://www.knowledgeworkx.com/post/the-beauty-of-power)

-- Brought to you by KnowledgeWorkx.com

Marco Blankenburgh:

So it's real and we wanted to create a space where it becomes safe to talk about these things, especially maybe in families, maybe in schools or in workplaces. If you don't get a line thinking about what we do with these things, then they start to live their own life. So we purposefully kept those emotion-loaded words in there, with a commitment that our facilitators, our coaches, are gentle, they are cultural learners and they will work really hard to create a safe space to open up that conversation.

Shelley Reinhart:

Welcome to the Unlocking Cultural Agility podcast, where we hear from some of the most advanced intercultural practitioners from around the world to help you become more culturally agile in today's complex environments. I'm your host, shelley Reinhart, global Network Liaison at KnowledgeWorks, where every day I work with our practitioners to help individuals and companies achieve relational success in that same complex world. This is the first of two episodes exploring the three colors of worldview, and in this episode we're going to introduce and explore the three cultural worldview drivers. Our cultural drivers have a strong influence on how we think, how we speak and how we act, and they can be found at the root of why we do what we do, as you'll see today. In the next episode we're going to continue by looking at how we can apply these cultural worldview drivers to our world and in our lives. Let's get started.

Shelley Reinhart:

Welcome to the Unpacking Agility podcast. Again, we are here with another wonderful topic that I'm really excited to unpack today with none other than Marco, our international director and the founder of KnowledgeWorks works. We have decided to kind of go back to the beginning, to the creation story, so to speak, of one of the essential elements of our products the three colors of worldview. So kind of the essence of what is the three colors of worldview assessment, what are the three colors of worldview? So we're excited to kind of break that down for you today, and Marco is here with us to do that. So thank you so much, marco.

Marco Blankenburgh:

I'm very much looking forward to it. There's so much to say about this. Yes, also very, very close to my heart as well. It's not just the product, it's so much more.

Shelley Reinhart:

Yes, well, and that's exactly what we're going to talk about today. So, of course, like I said, you're the international director and the founder, so I'd love to talk, to start off with the essence again. So the three colors of worldview. So is the creation of the Three Colors of Worldview where KnowledgeWorks essentially began? Is that sort of where it started?

Marco Blankenburgh:

we, we had a diverse team of five people asia, africa, middle east europe and america actually were on the team and we were exploring how we could use our joint intercultural skills to have a positive impact in in the workplace, and we started to to do research on well what's out there, you know.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So in those days, intercultural press was still a separate entity. And the more we started to look at books that were written about anything intercultural, the more we realized very early on that a lot of those books were selling from one country into another, negotiating from one country into another, relocating. You know, if you move to a country X, then you're from country Y. Here is your tips and tricks and do's and don'ts. And, to be honest, our team was stationed in Dubai and we had, you know, jobs in the local market where everything was intercultural. And the more books we bought, the more discouraged we actually became. Because the more we realized wait a minute, this is all like, in essence, pretty well written tips and tricks, do's and don'ts, books, and we realized very quickly that that was not exactly where we wanted to go.

Marco Blankenburgh:

We realized from the complexity of cultural dynamics that we were working in and that we believed the world was moving towards a lot more the classical. You know, the average Brazilian relocates to Germany and needs to know what the average german thinks, speaks and how they act, and we felt that that's not what we want to contribute to. So we, we started to say then what you know we already were familiar with the world of psychometrics at that time. So in other words, psychologous, psychometric tools measure typically personality or certain behavioral traits, and they're all based on debatable but universal frameworks. So you have the jungian framework, you have the big five of psychology, you have marston's framework, etc those universal frameworks supposedly, are applicable to every human being on the planet.

Marco Blankenburgh:

And that then lends itself to then say, oh, let's create a questionnaire. And then that questionnaire leads into a report, and that report produces a unique story about you, who you are as a psychological human being. And we thought, why can't we look into doing something similar for culture? So instead of saying I happen to be from the netherlands, instead of saying, oh, let's see what the average dutchman does, you know how these things speak, and instead of doing that, saying well, can we find a way to help mar Marco understand who he is as a cultural human being? So that was sort of the challenge we gave ourselves.

Marco Blankenburgh:

And then one day one of my Canadian colleagues he walked into the office with a paper. It was written by Roland Muller, who is an anthropologist in the region, and he sort of came up with this idea well, would there potentially be cultural drivers that are undercurrents in cultures, and could it potentially be true that those undercurrents, those cultural drivers, might be present in the same way? As you know, mbti is based on a framework that's used all around the world, or this would it be those cultural drivers might be present all around the world and we looked at it and we thought this is special, this is something unique. We've never seen this before.

Marco Blankenburgh:

You know nothing like the all the books that we had bought and we said hmm this could be the beginning of creating an assessment that starts to answer that question who am I as a cultural human being? So we asked. The author said hey, we got a hold of this. We would love to do more with it, can we? You know, this is your work. And he said by all means, take it, you know, and run with it. So he was very gracious and that's how it got started. So we are now into its fourth edition. Four iterations the first two were on paper and then we moved online. But even the third edition, which was online, there was still so much work to be done. Now, a month ago ago, we released the fourth edition and it's becoming richer and richer.

Shelley Reinhart:

so oh, I love it. Yeah, that's sort of the backstory, that's its creation story. So if you had to describe it in one sentence, describe, describe it in one sentence for me. What, what does the assessment map? What does it determine?

Marco Blankenburgh:

So I would say it answers the question what drives me as a cultural human being? What are the deepest?

Marco Blankenburgh:

drivers of my cultural wiring. So you could say the same as in Myers-Briggs. What Myers-Briggs became famous for is introversion. Extroversion In the world of DISC it's you know, are you more relational or more task oriented? So these types of things are embedded in the tool and I would say the three colors of worldview, it's really those deeper cultural drivers. But the way we designed it is to answer that at the personal level, so that I get personal insight in how that works for me. And yeah, so I don't know if that is a one.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So that's great, and you said earlier that our drivers have a strong influence on how we think, speak and act, absolutely yeah, and for most people it's um, once they get exposed to the three colors of worldview, then they realize how profound and how deep this stuff is. Yeah, when you, when you first try to explain it to people, they say, really, I didn't know that that layer of my being was even there. Yes, I carry a passport, I grew up in a certain place or grew up in multiple places, but is there a layer called cultural drivers? And once they see the report, they say, oh, now I get it. Yeah, I see it everywhere everywhere.

Shelley Reinhart:

That's been the case for me. Yes, I see it everywhere and it it has changed the way I see the world and the way I see myself. That that has been very true for me.

Marco Blankenburgh:

I can't unsee it we always warn people about that. Yeah, yeah, it's.

Shelley Reinhart:

That has been very true I don't want to go back. I don't want to, I don't want to come back to the pre-3C Shelley, so to speak. But yeah, Right. So now that we've kind of given that big overview of what is the assessment, what are the three colors? You know how do they work on the assessment. Let's just talk about the three colors individually. First of all, why did you name it the three colors? Why three colors? Like what? What is that?

Marco Blankenburgh:

yeah, um, a number of reasons. One is we needed some sort of a metaphor. So my wife is a photographer, so at home, at home, we're inundated with the world of color. So, uh, there is cmyk and ogb and now the three colors. That's the world view framework has three drivers and three world view drivers.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So when we started to look for a metaphor, we thought that the idea of connecting color to the framework First of all, culture is colorful, especially when you go around the world, but also the way our three colors of worldview show up. There's typically a combination of all three for most people on this planet and typically one of them is maybe more important, or two, and then a smaller percentage of the world population. All three of them are almost equally important. So when we started looking at that, we thought well, the whole world of color might be a nice metaphor. So we connected the rgb color palette, so to speak, to the three colors of worldview.

Marco Blankenburgh:

And and it is a nice metaphor, but, as every metaphor goes, they always go wrong at one point or another. But then you could. You know the rgb scheme in in the world of computers, 16.7 million colors can be created with three red, green and blue. Yes and no. We don't have 16.7 million iterations of the three colors of worldview, but there is a lot of possible combinations. Yes, so that idea as a metaphor is helpful. It's colorful, it's complex, it's simple. You know the language. It's simple, but it is complex at the same time.

Shelley Reinhart:

Okay, that's helpful. I love that. Yes, so that's the three colors of worldview. That's why it's named as it is. Okay, let's look at each worldview. So first of all, explain to me what a worldview is. What is a worldview and why does it matter?

Marco Blankenburgh:

that's a a complicated question. So in the world of academia, we always need to quantify that we are not necessarily talking about worldview from a large picture point of view. We're talking about cultural worldview drivers. So it's a slice of the larger picture of worldview, especially in the world of anthropology and sociology and theology, even where worldview, then, is unpacked in many facets. We're just zooming in on one facet and that's how my cultural journey has shaped the way I I'm culturally wired and we quantify that with those three worldview drivers that's helpful.

Shelley Reinhart:

Okay, cultural worldviews all right. So that's how I see the world from a cultural perspective.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Is that how you would say, yeah, yeah yeah, so it's a, it's a lens through which we see the world, so it indeed shapes. So when I wear those glasses, so to speak, it shapes how, how I think, how I speak and how I act okay, that's helpful.

Shelley Reinhart:

All right, let's look at the first one together. So, honor and shame, let's look at. Let's look that first word. But can you tell me what is honor?

Marco Blankenburgh:

So honor is both external and internal at the same time. So it's something you feel. You feel either honorable. You feel that you are a person who is in and of themselves honorable, or a person who is part of an honorable community, or a person who might be able to give honor to my dad, or the fact that my dad is, my dad allows me to be honorable just because of the history, etc.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Or it could be a company. I might have a sense of pride because I work for a certain company or I work for a certain leader in that company or with a certain leader in that company. Then it's also external, so it's what others bestow on me. So the sense of external honor is basically do people reinforce, endorse the existence of honor? So is is marco or is shelly? Are they honorable people?

Marco Blankenburgh:

And then you need to talk to people who know us and listen to what they say about us. So yeah, it's both external and internal. And we listen to parents talk to their kids about honor. It's typically along the lines of you are a child of this family, or you are a son or daughter of us, or of a larger cluster of families or a tribe, or when you start traveling internationally, you are part of this nation. You need to make us pride proud, you know. So yeah, it's very hard to say. You know that honor can be quantified. There's a lot of external endorsement, external affirmation comes with it, but it's also a feeling, it's a sense of being honorable and it's not always easy to explain.

Shelley Reinhart:

That's good. Thank you, that's really helpful. So how is that linked to shame? How do they work together?

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yeah. So I think examples are always the easiest to connect with with. So, if I remember, I was a little bit of a rebellious kid and I would test my teachers in school. No way, and I still remember I haven't. I must have been really small, but I I do remember the one day that the head teacher came to our house and we have we have sort of a path that gets up to the front door and uh, I, I heard him come, I saw him, I knew exactly why he was there, and then my mom opened the door and she immediately felt you know, oh no, I'm going to hear something about one of my sons.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Which was exactly what happened and that feeling of what has one of my sons or what have my sons now done this time? Has one of my sons, or what have my sons now done this time? And I was eventually called in and I was told that in those uncertain terms that this was unacceptable. And then, of course, later on, my dad was always a bit chill about this, maybe because he was more of a rebel himself. But my mom was saying, yeah, you know, we as the Blankenberg family, we don't do things like that. But I could see the sense of shame on my mom's face when she opened the door when the head teacher came in. Yes, so it's falling out of line or doing things that people frown, you know, and it's like what you did, what I was not expecting that from somebody like you. So that sense of where your honor is basically diminished through your, your words, through your actions, and then, either, shame happens just thinking about it.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So let's say, oh yeah, my friends invited me to do xyz and I really want to do it. But I'm going to say no, because if my parents find out, if my sibling, my older brother, finds out, or if my grandpa would know that I had said yes to my friends to do X, y, z, I would hear about it, you know. And then it becomes a deterrent, almost. Yeah.

Shelley Reinhart:

Yeah, okay, so I see how they're linked.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yeah, yeah, okay. So I see how they're linked. So honor and shame and kind of the balance for me culturally, and avoiding shame is automatically linked to that. Then the way I make decisions who to see, what to do, to say what not to say, how to share my opinion if I would share my opinion at all, or just stay quiet or say things like I'm not sure about that, I don't know, purposefully, because the main driver is to maintain honor and avoid shame. So everything I do becomes governed by that and in very practical terms that could mean that the family decides where I go to school. Of course that is a decision that either adds honor to me and the family or potentially adds shame. Deciding who to marry, where to live, which company to in the future work for All these decisions become connected to consideration. Does it bring more honor or would it potentially diminish the amount of honor due us?

Shelley Reinhart:

So yeah, and when I'm interacting with someone from this worldview, or even if I'm not, am I aware that there's an honor-shame interchange? And when I'm speaking, am I aware that I'm either giving honor or shame? In other words, do you know what I'm saying?

Marco Blankenburgh:

That is the tricky part, because if you, for instance, are not familiar with, let's say, we're talking about honor-shame now, if you're not familiar with it I was a are not familiar with. Let's say, we're talking about honor shame now, if you're not familiar with it. I was a little bit familiar with it. I grew up in a small village in the netherlands where what the neighbors think and the reputation of the family was very important, so I was somewhat familiar with it. But moving into the middle east and doing a lot of work in africa, marrying into africa, um, I I realized how much I didn't know at all. So in my case, I a lot of my mistakes.

Marco Blankenburgh:

It was only sort of by the grace of people actually pulling me aside or having the courage to talk to me about hey, marco, uh, how did, how did you feel that conversation went? And then, and then they would say I would say, uh, but it was okay. And then they would say, well, can I give you some feedback? When you said this, do you realize that that caused a very embarrassing moment for the other person? And I would say, really, I have no idea. Fortunately, having people around me, you know. Starting to explain it, I realized, man, there's so much to learn.

Shelley Reinhart:

Because they were aware of the honor that was being exchanged or not and you were completely unaware. Perhaps You're like not even.

Marco Blankenburgh:

We buy those worldview drivers. You know, ming-jin says those are the glasses that color your world, color your thinking and speaking and acting. And by default that's the glasses we wear because that's how we so far have been successful in life. And when you then start interacting with people who are culturally very different from you, then all of a sudden your default way of operating actually backfires on you.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yeah, and it starts sometimes with simple things, like when I first met my wife's grandmother. Etiquette was very important for her. That was an honorable thing that her family followed etiquette. So I totally missed that part. So I shamed who is now my wife and uh, her grandma was very gracious but like, for instance, dessert was put on the table and I picked up the spoon and started eating and everybody was like grandma needs to sit down. She picks up the spoon and then everybody else picks up the spoon and then and then I added even more shame by by picking up my bowl and finishing the last remains. In my case, you know, in the Netherlands that would show that you really liked the dessert.

Shelley Reinhart:

Ah, Mark, he and her.

Marco Blankenburgh:

No, no, and grandma was all flustered. But there is more, Marco, there is more.

Shelley Reinhart:

Oh, she, yeah, but there is more, marco, there is more, so it's, it's you know, those are fun stories to tell afterwards and they are relatively innocent.

Marco Blankenburgh:

But you can really step into the unknown and where you just mess things up badly yeah.

Shelley Reinhart:

I was talking to Mingjin. Mingjin Tong is one of our practitioners, I see, our practitioners. He was saying that because I said to him he was raised in honor, shame, and I said I just can't imagine interacting with that sense of of honor versus shame all the time, like when I'm speaking to you, you know aware that I'm either giving you honor or I'm shaming you. It's just, it's just so much a part of my subconscious. And he said well, I, I can't imagine interacting with you that that way, like not having that subconscious. It's so much a part of the way I think about every interaction and every conversation.

Marco Blankenburgh:

And I'm like wow.

Shelley Reinhart:

It's just, I was with.

Marco Blankenburgh:

About two months ago, I was with a family working with their business conglomerate and we started a family development program and there were four generations in the room.

Shelley Reinhart:

Wow.

Marco Blankenburgh:

The old grandfather wanted to be there because he was very excited about this new program and he wanted to say a few words at the beginning. And then the next generation was there and then two more generations, so the youngest person was early 20s and the oldest person was at least in their 70s. And it was fascinating as the when the older generation was in the room, whatever they said, everybody was endorsing it and respecting it and, you know, even the body language was like almost like yes, you know, we respect you. And then they were there just to show their support for the program, and then they left, and then, little by little, the conversation started to change, because they wanted to honor the older generation while they were there.

Marco Blankenburgh:

They were not disrespectful, but they were. As soon as when they left and we got further into the program, they started to talk about their vision for the future and how some of the ways had to change. Uh, but they were very, very uh respectful in the way they packaged it, but they were not able to talk about that when the, the third, fourth, you know, the older generations, were in the room and it. It's a classical example of how honor versus shame then drives everything that happens in the room, yes, every conversation, and everything that's said and everything that's not said.

Shelley Reinhart:

Everything said and not said. Yes, yeah, that's so good, marco. I love this picture of this worldview. I feel like we've fleshed it out very well. Thank you, that is so helpful.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Let's look at innocence and guilt next in the beginning, when we started to use these tools, we, we wouldn't explain to people why we have quite emotive words in this framework. So, to present people with words like shame and guilt and fear, yeah, it's like whoa, you know where are you taking them? Yeah, they're strong words and, um, we, we talked a lot about well, well, what do we do? And we really felt that we needed to keep those strong emotional words in the framework Because, when it comes to our cultural worldview drivers, these are very real. So, for instance, just talking now about honor versus shame and the avoidance or the diminishing impact of shame becomes a preoccupation almost. Um, and when, when you talk to people who have been shamed, especially if that was done in public in an honor shame environment.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yeah, that leaves deep, deep scars, you know yes, yes and so it's real and we wanted to create a space where it becomes safe to talk about these things Because, especially maybe in families, maybe in schools or in workplaces, if you don't get a line thinking about what we do with these things, then they start to live their own life. So we purposefully kept those emotion loaded words in there, with a commitment that our facilitators, our coaches, are gentle, they are cultural learners, they will work really hard to create a safe space to open up that conversation.

Shelley Reinhart:

Oh, that's good. That's good, marco. Yes, and I can say that when our practitioners are trained, we are trained to be cultural learners and understand with humility that these are strong words and there are painful places that they can go.

Marco Blankenburgh:

These these words, yeah yeah, so anyway that as a in between that's a very good point.

Shelley Reinhart:

I'm so glad you you pointed that out. And guilt is another strong, strong thing I want to avoid at all times. So yeah, so tell me about innocence, and guilt and and innocence. What is innocence and why is it so important?

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yeah, like with honor. You know, a state of innocence is a condition of being, so to speak. So that sense that I have done everything to the best of my ability, or I've made good choices, or I lived up to the standard that was set in society either by goals or by policies or by the law or by a higher authority, and that sense that you feel good about yourself because you've done what was required and therefore you know, the idea of right and wrong is strongly associated with innocence and guilt.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So by doing the right thing you create that sense of innocence. I feel good about myself because I've done the right thing.

Marco Blankenburgh:

And the flip side is also true that if I don't do the right thing, I do that which is wrong, and sometimes there is external standards for that. Sometimes you create your own internal standards, but that sense of I messed up, I've done the wrong thing, I made the wrong choice, I did not do my utmost, you know the best I could and I feel a sense of guilt because of that. So it's very much driven by standards or by agreed upon levels of performance, for instance. Or you often hear people talk about expectations being met or expectations not being met. That's a very, very common language when it comes to innocence versus guilt.

Shelley Reinhart:

Okay, and if you had to contrast honor and innocence, what would you say is the biggest difference between the two?

Marco Blankenburgh:

Honor very much is linked to my community. So it's how I represent the community, the family, the tribe, the business or, if I travel, the nation. A sense of innocence is more linked to a standard might be set by my family, by the local sports club that I'm part of, by the community of faith or the law of the country, but it's meeting that standard or following that standard that creates that sense of innocence or guilt. Well, with Honor Shame, it's very much about the community. The consensus of the community wants me to do X, y, z. So if I don't, the sense of guilt is not the first thing I feel, right, I feel a sense of shame because I wasn't a good representative or good contributor to my community. I wasn't a good representative or good contributor to my community.

Shelley Reinhart:

But in regards to innocence guilt, I felt guilt because I didn't uphold the standard that was expected of me. I didn't follow the rules. Okay, that's good. I love the contrast. Thank you for just contrasting that for us. Okay, so it's a good picture of innocence guilt. Can you just give us an example of of innocence guilt, how it plays out like what's an example of innocence being, you know, a standard being broken, and how that would instigate I I can tell you about a clash I had where I had forgotten how strong a driver that was.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So I've been outside my home country now for over 30 years. I've lived in both honor, shame as well as power, fear oriented cultures and have worked with many companies and organizations that have you know that don't have Innocence Guild as their main driver. So I went to the Netherlands and I was driving a car. We were picking up friends from the railway station in one of the cities and I told my wife oh it's hard to find parking, just sit in the car, I'll quickly check the platform at the railway station and I'll pick up our friends and I'll come back. And by the time I came back the police officer was next to the car.

Marco Blankenburgh:

He got off his motorbike and he picked up his book and started writing. You know, giving us a ticket, oh dear, and I started talking to, started writing. You know, giving us a ticket, dear, and I started talking to him. Uh, you know, of course, from an honor, shame perspective, you, although he is representing the law at the same time, you can always have a conversation with somebody, and you can. You can see what you can do about it. And he got offended by me doing that because, um, I was in the wrong place. I parked in the wrong place. But I told him, but my wife was in the car and she has a driving license. You could have just told her to move. And he looked funny at me and said what, what do you mean? I mean you parked in the wrong place. You know, you did the wrong thing. The you did the wrong thing.

Shelley Reinhart:

This is the wrong. What are?

Marco Blankenburgh:

you talking about? Yeah, and I was totally missing that. I was trying to use tactics that were offensive to him, you know.

Shelley Reinhart:

Yeah, okay, that's a great example. Yeah, yeah.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Right, so classical. You know I was pulling more honor shame tactics on a police officer who was rigidly innocence guilt, upholding the law, upholding the law. He was getting frustrated with me.

Shelley Reinhart:

Mm, hmm, mm, hmm. Yes, that's OK. That's a great example. What about? I love the one you use about stoplights.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yeah, so, yeah, that's another one. So traffic lights are by and large across the world, used in almost every country, and they typically are used in a similar fashion. So green is go, similar fashion. So, um, green is go, uh, orange is watch out. Now in quite a few countries people say speed up, uh, and then red is stop. Yeah, red is stop.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Um, now, uh, when, when, when somebody who's more innocence, guilt, right, wrong oriented, when they stop at a traffic light and you ask them so why did you stop? What was the main driver? Well, it was red. So the law says if it's red you stop.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yes, if somebody is more honor or shame oriented, they might say something like well, I don't know who are in the other cars on the intersection, don't know who are in the other cars on the intersection, and I don't want to be seen as a family member of this and this family to be running a red light because they are going to talk about me. So I will stop when the light is red. And if you, if you then ask them so what if there's absolutely no cars at all, there's nobody there and you're the only one on the intersection and the light goes red? And then there would be some, you know, situational thinking. In some cases they might still stop for red. In other cases they might say, well then, the traffic light is not useful, so then I might still go through it. And when it comes to power of fear, I mean the main motivator is either knowing that on that intersection sometimes the policeman is hidden behind the bushes, so to speak.

Shelley Reinhart:

Yes.

Marco Blankenburgh:

And I'm afraid that I might get caught. Or it's really the fear of an accident or the fear of damage, either physical damage or material damage. So the interesting thing is, all three of those drivers might be at play in somebody.

Shelley Reinhart:

Yes.

Marco Blankenburgh:

And yeah, so the motivation is different. On the outside, the decisions or the actions that people take look very similar you stop for a red light. Decisions or the actions that people take look very similar you stop for a red light. And we had a lot of fun writing four different articles.

Shelley Reinhart:

They're on our website on how you can use the three colors of worldview to almost predict how somebody is going to behave on the road.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Those are good. Yes, I'm glad you brought this up. Yeah, it works it actually. It's fascinating. You can predict from a distance very often how people are going to behave, and those three colors of worldview have a huge impact on the flow of traffic I love that, and this is a great segue into the last worldview, the final world that we're talking about, which, which is power and fear.

Shelley Reinhart:

So I'd really like to spend a little time on this one, because this is this is the one that I think possibly people may wrestle with the most, so I'd love to kind of talk about power and then fear, and then again, how do they interact? Why is this important worldview? Why do we need to include this one?

Marco Blankenburgh:

yeah, um, so let's start with power. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the word power is a tricky word. Yeah, people typically understand fear, but the word power is often seen in a negative light. So I guess it's because we just live in a world with lots of beauty but also with lots of negative experiences, and very often those negative experiences are connected to abuse of power in small and big ways. So that's why one of the sort of side missions of knowledge works is to to re-establish a healthier relationship with the word power I love.

Marco Blankenburgh:

that's one, yeah. So it's one of the the challenges we really face, and it starts with having, in our case, if I'm required to lead, which is a position of power, then do I know how to do that? Well, do I know how to do that in a positive way? And it's so super important. And it starts with young kids, and I work predominantly with adults in the workplace, with leaders in the workplace, and I meet way too many leaders who really have not been equipped properly to work in a healthy way with power.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So we see power as something that's neutral in and of itself. We are encouraging and coaching and training people to use power in a life-giving way. That's what we're after, and I often like to add to it that we all have examples where people have used power in such a way that it sucked the life out of you. Yes, and we've seen that in the workplace. We see that in families, in neighborhoods, in apartment blocks, etc. In the sports clubs, in religious institutions.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So this whole idea that power is in and of itself, neutral and that we need to wrestle with, what do I do with positions of power? What do I do with situations where I'm asked to speak in a meeting, which is actually a position of power. What do I do with? With situations where I'm asked to speak in a meeting which is actually a position of power, and the words that come out of my mouth are going to be either life-giving for the people in that meeting and for the subject, or they're not, and um, that's yeah. That's probably one of the reasons why I love talking about this, because it's my own battle as well. It's a continuous battle to to really be life-giving in my thoughts, in my words, in my actions, but also to work with people who might not be, who might actually use power to create, create fear, to create ambiguity, uncertainty, which is then the other side of the equation.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So, yeah, Difficult one in this world.

Shelley Reinhart:

Yes, it is, and I found that I'll speak. You know, as an American living in the United States of America, I do find that people are uncomfortable with the power that they have. If they have it Like, sometimes they don't want to acknowledge it, they don't even see that they have power. Ming Jin, our ICI practitioner, said that if you want to understand power, talk to the powerless. Talk to people that have it. You'll get a better sense of what it looks like. And that's really been profound for me to think about. But so, with that regard, yeah, I love our stance, and helping me understand the power I have in certain situations has been so helpful. So this world and understanding this worldview has been just revolutionary for me, profound.

Shelley Reinhart:

So why so you think that's why this worldview is important? I mean you could have just said okay, innocence, guilt, honor, shame two crucial worldviews. We'll stick with those two. Why add power? Fear? And can you just explain the thinking behind it and why you think it's crucial? I mean, I think I know, but I want to hear what you think.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yeah, no, no. It's crucial to yeah because, first of all, when power is not either used in a positive way, very often those become the hero stories of society.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So, and then when power is used in a negative way, those stories might also get told, but they get told more as warnings might also get told, but they get told more as warnings. And many societies have ebbed and flowed either between the three colors of worldview. So if you look at human history across the continents and across the empires, you will see that even just, let's say, look at the Roman Empire. So there was a phase in the Roman Empire where innocence, guilt, was super important. Roman culture in those days, honor, was very important. It was embedded into the way the military was run. But there was also a strong sense of innocence, guilt.

Marco Blankenburgh:

But then, as the Roman Empire sort of started to disintegrate, that's where power starts to be more and more abused and where fear slipped into the system. Then you got the split between the East and Roman Empire, etc. I'm not a historian but I like to bring tools like the Three Colors of Worldview to history and I love reading about history. And you can see it in major shifts in in societies around the world that what they do with power is is so significant. Uh, you saw it, for instance, with the reformation in europe, with, uh, the church reformation, the likes likes of Luther and Calvin, etc.

Marco Blankenburgh:

That was a major shift, going against the unhealthy use of power by the church and then bringing people back to what is right and what is wrong, and encouraging people to find out for themselves what is right and wrong.

Marco Blankenburgh:

So I love that third worldview driver because it explains a lot of what we experience in in the world today so so some societies have recently drifted more into a way of functioning and very often that's driven by either military might or it's driven by certain leaders coming into power and, uh yeah, it just sheds light on so many dilemmas that the world is faced with at the moment that honor that the other two worldviews don't.

Shelley Reinhart:

They don't. They can explain in the same way that power fear does exactly, yeah.

Marco Blankenburgh:

and then when you think back at heroes like martha and luther king jr, for him, his thinking about power and how, uh, his um, you know non-violent movement was really about using power in a in a non-violent way, and he talks a lot about the tension between power and love.

Marco Blankenburgh:

For instance, power without love actually becomes destructive, but love without power is actually he calls it anemic. It doesn't have the impact that it should have in the world. So, understanding power and understanding what to do with it, how to use it in a healthy way, how to detect when it's used in an unhealthy way, and actually being able to be a force for change if that happens, or at least knowing when you can be and when you might not be able to be so, yeah, yeah, I think it's essential that that third dimension is there, because many, many organizations we work with, power is a major issue. It's really what to do with it and how to create a healthy relationship with power across the layers of an organization, with direct reports, etc. But also how to use power in a healthy way with the world around us. It's a significant issue when we look at our relationship with the planet, for instance. Yeah, there's a major challenge with countries where that form of abuse of power is now becoming a big no-no.

Marco Blankenburgh:

And there's other countries where it's still perfectly OK. Yes we are, we're in control and we can do with our resources whatever we want. And that's another way where you can look at our fear, as that third dimension in three colors of worldview where it's really helpful to understand why certain things are happening in society.

Shelley Reinhart:

What about one of the differences between power, fear and honor? Shame, well, and innocence, guilt as well, perhaps is the allegiance to a leader. Can you kind of talk about that a little bit?

Marco Blankenburgh:

yeah, it's tricky because as soon as I talk about that, multiple examples in the world of politics come to mind.

Shelley Reinhart:

That's true but you can let the listeners make those connections we won't yeah connections. We won't say anything.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yeah, yeah, but yeah, it's so right, shelley, it's.

Marco Blankenburgh:

If you vote or pledge allegiance to a leader, that automatically means that if I want to stay in favor with that leader, I have to be loyal, I have to show compliance, have to be loyal, I have to show compliance, and sometimes that means that I have to make really hard choices, especially if that leader then starts to do things that I am surprised by or that I initially thought he or she would never do.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yes, exactly, but then in many cases, if power fear is a strong driver in that context, people will still continue down the compliance route, especially if then, on top of that, the leader uses power to create fear and to create ambiguity or to use random punishment, for instance, to keep people in line, and then it becomes tricky, and I have a lot of empathy for people who get caught in those situations. It doesn't justify what they do, but I fully understand how enslaving almost that type of a situation can be, and you have the other side as well. So our leaders really use power in a beautiful way and they are really the protector and nurturer of their people, and then it's easy to be loyal and it's easy to show that you're willing to go the extra mile, and I've seen people say I don't want to leave this organization because I don't want to work for any other boss.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Yes it's an empowering form of leadership, and people then say I don't care about the hierarchy because I feel protected, I feel valued and what we're doing is important. So yeah, you can have the positive side and the negative side right and then in power, fear.

Shelley Reinhart:

My allegiance is to a leader and if that, if the power changes, then I could be. My allegiance could be to someone new, but in honor right, it flips very quickly yeah, it flips right. Yeah, okay, so that's I just yeah. I think that's an interesting point, oh yeah, so power, fear, power, fear.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Allegiance is, um, it's very much linked to who is the rising star, who is the falling star. Yes, right, so with honor, shame, that's not the case. Your allegiance is much more long-term, much more long-term, okay, yeah.

Shelley Reinhart:

Oh, thank you Marco. This is so interesting. I mean we could talk about this for hours because the implications are everywhere and it affects. It affects all of all of life. I mean, I watch the news and I just I see it everywhere. Now, I wish I was. I often wish you know diplomacy 101. You know, I wish all politicians were taught the worldviews, because it just makes so much more sense when you see news through this, through these lenses. Oh, that's why they're doing that. That makes sense. If this interests you, if you'd like to learn more about your personal cultural worldview drivers, come on over to interculturalagilitycom. It's our website and you can learn more about the three colors of worldview assessment. You can take the assessment and meet with an intercultural intelligence practitioner who will walk you through that assessment and help you understand, kind of, how those cultural worldview drivers make you tick and how they've shaped you. So it's just an exciting journey to understand how culture has shaped you. So check it out, interculturalagilitycom.

Marco Blankenburgh:

Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of the Cultural Agility Podcast. If you enjoyed today's episode, share it with someone. The best way to help us out is by leaving a review on your favorite podcast app or channel, or forward and recommend this podcast to people around you. As always, if any of the topics we discussed today intrigue you, you will find links to articles discussing them in greater depth in the podcast notes. If you would like to learn more about intercultural intelligence and how you can become more culturally agile, you can find more information and hundreds of articles at knowledgeworkscom. A special thanks to Jason Carter for composing the music on this podcast and to the whole knowledgeworks team for making this podcast a success. Thank you, nita rodriguez, ara aziz bakian, rajitha raj, and thanks to vip and george for audio this podcast.

Cultural Agility Podcast
Origin of the Three Colors of Worldview
Understanding Honor and Shame
Understanding Innocence and Guilt
Understanding Power and Fear
The Power of Understanding Worldview Drivers
Supporting the Cultural Agility Podcast