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The 3 Colors of Leadership

How everyone can learn the art of empowering other people.

The 3 Colors of Your Gifts

The international bestseller on spiritual gifts: 460,000 copies sold

The 3 Colors of Your Spirituality

9 Spiritual Styles: How do you most naturally connect with God?

The 3 Colors of Community

How the 7 Communal Qualities of Healthy Small Groups can help you overcome the 7 Deadly Sins.

The 3 Colors of Leadership

The 3 Colors of Leadership

Don't tackle today's challenges with yesterday's leadership tools.

Comes with 2 free tokens for taking any eTest on this web site.

The 3 Colors of Leadership  presents an exciting new way of looking at leadership. Whether you are  an established leader in a high-profile position or an emerging leader  who is still unsure whether God wants you to take over more leadership  responsibility, the  training described in this book will empower you in such a way that you will be able to empower others. Based on world- wide research among tens of thousands of leaders,  The 3 Colors of  Leadership portrays six fundamental  leadership principles that anyone  can learn. The online Empowerment Test (which every book owner can  take for free) will help you develop your personalized training plan.

The Empowerment Test:

Discover and maximize your hidden leadership potential

The Six Wing Traits:

Focus on the principles that will stoke the fire in others

Spiritual Change Talk:

Turn your routine tasks into moments of empowerment

Take the 3 Colors of Leadership Empowerment Test


What is it that makes NCD tools unique?

Helping your children, group, or team release their leadership potential will bring about a whole new level of empowerment around you. The Empowerment Test and associated group profile makes this challenge an energising and inexpensive mutual learning experience.

If you would like to proceed with this process, you'll want to refer to this instruction page at various times along the way. So, bookmark this page in your web browser, using its bookmark icon or bookmark menu at the top of your screen.

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The steps

  1. Obtain sufficient eTest tokens for your group. You will need 1 token for each leader/emerging leader. Significant volume discounts apply. View volume discounts and obtain tokens.

  2. Collect the names and email addresses of the leaders who will be taking the test. If you don't already have those details, you could ask all those involved to send you an email to an email address you specify. That way you will have their email address in the "From" field of the email they send to you.

  3. Having collected a list of names and email addresses, log into the web site and invite them to take the test. While the test doesn't take all that long to complete, due to respondents sometimes being a little slow to get around to it, be sure to invite people to take the test with plenty of lead time, in case you would like to have all of the results ready by a particular date.

  4. Once you have sent your invitations, you can monitor their acceptance (any tokens that are not accepted will automatically be returned to your account). You can also use that page to view each person's invitation link in case you decide it would be easier to resend their invitation to their preferred messaging app (if they are a person who requires a little more prompting to get things done :-)

  5. When each leader completes their test, their result will automatically be shared back to your account and you will receive a notification (since you are the sponsor of the exercise). The initial invitation email lets people know that this will happen.

  6. If your leaders would like to produce a Detailed Empowerment Profile of their results, they can do so for free via their results page.

  7. Once all of the leaders have completed their test (or as many as you expect will complete it), you can produce a Group Profile combining all the results, or specific groups of results, with the help of the Advanced Profile option. Producing Group Profiles is free.

Optional steps

  • If you will be meeting with people to discuss their Empowerment Test results, you may find it helpful to have a copy of The 3 Colors of Leadership book. It includes detailed descriptions of all of the leadership principles that the Empowerment Test is based on as well as further growth suggestions. The book is available both as hard copy and eBook, and includes a code for two more character tests that you can use yourself or pass on to others.

  • If you would like to present a seminar or a sermon series on the topic of empowering leadership, make use of The 3 Colors of Leadership book for ideas about the points you would like to cover. If you would like to make use of visuals to enhance the series, look at the resources available on the Presentations & Artwork page.

Below, you will find downloadable versions of The 3 Colors of Leadership Reading Guide and Discussion Guide.

They are based on an easy-to-follow 3 week group process for two or more people. The process will...

  • Introduce your friends to the teaching
  • Guide them through the Empowerment Test
  • Provide you as the facilitator with practical instruction and discussion prompts
  • Show the way towards next steps for all of you

All you will need for the process are some friends who want to become better leaders, a weekly time-slot in which to meet over 3 weeks, and...

  • A copy of The 3 Colors of Leadership book for each person
  • A copy of the Reading Guide for each person (printed or emailed to them)
  • A copy of the Discussion Guide for yourself

Click here for information on bulk discounts and purchasing The 3 Colors of Leadership book.

Below, you will find suggestions of how to design a Mutual Empowerment Process on the basis of your Empowerment Test results. You can download this outline as PDF file for free.

(These suggestions are based on Christian Schwarz' own empowerment process experiences. Send a friend request to Christian on his Facebook page to follow his daily Empowerment Diary.)

4 Empowering Sessions based on the Empowerment Test

When you study this outline with the goal of launching a Mutual Empowerment Process with another person, please consider the following points:

  • This outline reflects how I structured the Mutual Empowerment Processes that I have been involved in (so far, with 22 people). In many respects, the outline suggested has been shaped by my personal setting that may be quite different from yours. Feel free to adapt the process to your own needs.
  • In my case, I decided to have two sessions (#1 and #2) focused on debriefing my partner‘s Empowerment Profile, and just one session (#3) dealing with my own Profile. This was primarily due to the high number of Empowerment Processes that I started simultaneously. In some cases, we added an additional session on my Profile to achieve full mutuality. You may consider doing the same and adapt the outline accordingly.
  • When I invited other people to the Empowerment Process, I sent them both a broad overview of the 4 sessions and my own test results (both Summary and Detailed Profiles). I told them that, if they want to start the Empowerment Process with me, they need to share their Profiles with me as well.
  • I found it important to have, for all participants, both the Summary and the Detailed Profiles at hand. Each of these Profiles reveal different information. I personally wouldn‘t do an Empowerment Process without a Detailed Profile.
  • This outline consists primarily of questions that you can ask your Empowerment Partner. Please note that I have usually provided more questions than we actually discussed. You should make a selection either beforehand or spontaneously. It is better to focus on a smaller number of questions with more reflective time, than to rush through a list that is too long.
  • The main purpose of the questions is not to gain information, but to stimulate thinking. Phases of silence after having asked a question are, in my experience, among the most beneficial parts of the whole process. This is a major reason why I consider a setting with eye contact as crucial. When you have eye contact, a 2 minute phase of silence (especially if explicitly encouraged) is a normal and fruitful thing. If you don‘t have eye contact (for instance in a phone conversation), there is the automatic tendency to fill phases of silence with words.
  • I did almost all of the sessions through Skype video conferences. This is due to the fact that I interacted with people in different countries. Of course, everything can be done in a real-life meeting as well. However, phone (or pure voice communication through the internet) is not recommended, since in an Empowerment Session you (a) should have eye contact and (b) should be able to use visuals if needed.
  • I recommend you study the section on Spiritual Change Talk in The 3 Colors of Leadership (pages 99-144) before launching the process. That sort of preparation enables you to spontaneously apply different methods of interaction, based on the needs of the moment, which can enhance the process.
  • I limited each session to 50 minutes. To me, this seems to be an ideal time-span. I wouldn‘t recommend sessions that last longer than one hour. Better two sessions of 45 minutes each than one of 90 minutes.
  • It is a prerequisite for the process that both partners have studied their own Empowerment Profiles and the Profiles of the other person. It is not a prerequisite that they have read the book (even if this can enrich the process).
  • A key factor in this kind of Process is the mutuality. This in and of itself releases empowerment. Even (and especially!) in situations where you may be the leader or the coach of the other person, I would strongly recommend you do not eliminate the mutuality.

Christian A. Schwarz

Session #1: Debriefing the Partner’s Profile (focus on strengths)

  • What do you expect, or hope for, as an outcome of the four sessions that we start today?
  • When you received the results of your Empowerment Test, what did your eyes first look for? What does this initial reaction reveal about yourself?
  • Was there anything you hoped to see? Did you see it?
  • What did you fear most? What was your greatest surprise?
  • What result do you hope for in your next survey? Why do you believe it will be different?
  • Tell me about your respondents: Why did you select those people? In which contexts did they have a chance to experience you? With which group of respondents would you expect different results? Why?
  • Did you share your profile with other people yet (for instance, with your respondents)? Why or why not?
  • Look at your most developed wing trait (and in particular, the longer wing in that area). How has that strength shown itself in your life or ministry so far? Give two or three examples.
  • Do the actions associated with your maximum wing trait come easy to you, or do they require considerable energy?
  • What do you see as your greatest achievements so far (both personally and in ministry)? How far has your maximum factor contributed to those achievements?
  • How could you increase your effectiveness by an even better balance between the two wings in your strongest area?
  • When you look at the items in the list of the 8 Highest Responses (page 11 of Detailed Profile), which of these statements are you most proud of or happy about? Why?
  • Which of the prompt questions mentioned on page 11 of the Detailed Profile do you find most helpful? What are your thoughts on them?
  • How could you live out some of the strengths revealed by the 8 Highest Responses better than you do now? How could (many) more people benefit from those strengths?
  • What hinders you from seeing that happen? What do you have to change to make it happen? How exactly? When?

Homework for your Empowerment Partner:

  • Start a similar Empowerment Process with another person (ideally, one of the respondents to your Empowerment Test) whom you feel most comfortable with. Have him or her do the Empowerment Test and have a first debriefing session based primarily on the other person‘s strengths. Report about your experiences in the next meeting.
  • Study the Spiritual Change Talk Questions for your minimum scale (page 11 of the Detailed Profile), and indicate those questions that you would like to discuss with me in our next meeting. Which additional questions related to your minimum scale would you like to discuss?

Session #2: Debriefing the Partner’s Profile (focus on minimum areas)

  • Share about the debriefing session that you had with the other person, as per your homework. (If the time span between the two meetings was not sufficient, you should come back to this topic at a later stage in the process.)
  • Tell me the questions related to your minimum wing trait that you would like to discuss with me today. (You can decide whether you discuss these questions right away or at another point during this session, when it best fits.)
  • Do you agree with the results of the profile (i.e. that the lowest wing trait identified is actually your present minimum factor)? Why or why not? Give examples that illustrate how a weakness in that area has displayed itself in your life.
  • Can you imagine that your present minimum factor may become your maximum factor within the next six months? What would be circumstances in which that may happen? What would your life look like if the minimum factor became your maximum factor? Would you enjoy it? Or rather, fear it? Explain.
  • (If you have studied the Spiritual Change Talk section in The 3 Colors of Leadership, you may wish to ask the “miracle question” described on pages 106-107:) “Let‘s assume over night your minimum factor had become your maximum factor, but you don‘t know that this miracle has actually happened. How would you first notice it? At what time? In which context?”
  • (After having explored the miracle question, look for signs (precursors)of the anticipated future in the life of your Empowerment Partner, that he or she already experienced in the past.) When have you previously acted similar to what you described as the “day after the miracle?” How could you strengthen those patterns of behavior?
  • When investing energy on your minimum factor, do you fear that this may somehow undermine your strengths? Why or why not?
  • What do you expect your score in the area of your minimum factor to be in six months from now?
  • What have you tried so far in that area? What worked best? What did not work? How can you expand the very things that worked best?
  • In the Detailed Analysis, have a look at the lower scores in the area of your least developed wing trait. Do you think that these responses are a fair description of you?
  • Look at the 8 Lowest Responses (page 12 of the Detailed Profile). Are there responses by which you feel hurt? Which ones irritate you most?
  • Which of the prompt questions mentioned on page 12 of the Detailed Profile do you find most helpful? What are your thoughts on them?
  • What could you immediately do in order to improve in the area of some of the Lowest Responses? Speak as specifically as possible about that topic.
  • How can your strengths (not just the number 1 strength!) contribute to increasing your minimum factor? How could my strengths help you increase your minimum factor?
  • How can you improve in your minimum area not by taking over new/more/expanded responsibilities, but by filling your present responsibilities differently?
  • If a friend asked you about the greatest benefit of our meeting today, what would be your answer?

Homework for your Empowerment Partner:

  • Think about one concrete thing that you can put into practice immediately in order to grow in the area of your minimum factor (ideally, dealing with one of the 8 Lowest Responses). Look for opportunities to implement it immediately. Report in our next meeting about your experiences.
  • Prepare a debriefing session for me, either on the basis of the debriefing method that you have experienced in the first two sessions, or by applying a different procedure of your choice.

Session #3: Debriefing your own Profile (both strengths and weaknesses)

  • (Start with sharing about the one practical thing your partner has applied.) Did it come easy to you? How could that be improved or expanded in the future?
  • Then it is your partner‘s turn to ask you questions that help you debrief your profile. The purpose of this session is (a) to give your partner the opportunity to immediately apply what he or she has learned, and (b) to give you a chance to learn and to grow.
  • As mentioned before, this session can be expanded to two sessions, in which you may follow the exact outline as suggested for sessions #1 and #2, just with reversed roles.

Homework for your Empowerment Partner:

  • Continue the Debriefing Sessions with another person, or select a different person for a Debriefing Session. Report about your experiences in the next meeting.
  • (Send the 10 Questions of the next session to your partner beforehand with the following assignment:) Re-order the questions according to priorities (i.e. the most important question will get the number 1, the least important one the number 10). In the next session, the focus will be on the questions with the highest priority.

Session #4: Relating current ministry topics to the test results

Discuss in the beginning which of the following 10 questions you would like to focus on:

  1. How does your personal profile relate to the strengths and weaknesses of your ministry?
  2. How do you sense that my profile (strengths and weaknesses) relates to strengths and weaknesses of my ministry?
  3. If you compare our two profiles, what could be a potential danger in our interaction? What could be an opportunity?
  4. What kind of activities should you eliminate (or at least, reduce) in the future in order to grow or to become more fruitful? 
  5. Based on our two profiles, in what ways could I be the best-possible source of support to you? How?
  6. When will you schedule your follow-up survey? What are your goals for the follow-up survey? Will you ask a different group of people next time? If so, what kind of people?
  7. What are your plans for multiplying Empowerment Processes in your area of responsibility?
  8. What did you learn about me in our process that you were not aware of before? In which areas do you think I have already changed compared to how you had experienced me in the past?
  9. Did our process help you perceive resources within you that you were not aware of before? Which ones?
  10. What has already improved in your life since the time we started the Empowerment process?

Homework for your Empowerment Partner and yourself:

  • Part of your tasks described in the Profile has been a commitment to a minimum of 6 of 10 suggested steps (page 15 in the Detailed Profile). Check if you have already put into practice all of those steps. What could be the most fruitful “step 7” for you?
  • After a given time (for instance, 6 months), both you and your Empowerment Partner should do a follow-up test to monitor the progress. You may wish to schedule another (mutual) debriefing session once the follow-up tests have been completed.
PDF icon Mutual Empowerment Process74.41 KB
In this section, you will find answers to frequently asked questions referred to in The 3 Colors of Leadership. To find the answer you are looking for, select the page number to the left that relates to the respective page number in the book.

What is the empirical background for saying, “For every dollar you invest into the process you will get several dollars back”?

NCD’s research in more than 65,000 churches reveals a strong relationship between the increase of church health (measured by the NCD Survey and fueled by the NCD process) and financial giving. This manifests itself in three dynamics that occur simultaneously and are strongly interrelated:
  1. The more the quality of the church increases, the higher the financial contribution per person. In churches with a below-average NCD score, 39% of the members who attend small groups and worship services tithe 10% or more of their gross income to support the church, missions, etc. In churches with an above-average NCD score, this percentage increases to 71% on average.
  2. Since church health (according to the categories measured by the NCD Survey) is the factor that is most strongly related to numerical growth, healthy churches have a higher number of people who tithe.
  3. Healthy churches use resources (including financial resources) more fruitfully. In other words, in healthy churches the effects of every dollar given is visibly greater than in less healthy churches.
Since these processes are usually started by empowered and empowering leaders, investment in leadership development results relatively quickly in church health—and, as a natural side-effect, in increasing financial contribution.

How can I proactively participate in the “3 Colors of Leadership” Community?

The website was established to enable networking among existing and potential leaders. Since the majority of the participants will have the results of their Empowerment Test at hand, it is easy to initiate meaningful interaction among the participants, in which each one grows by sharing with others what they have learned. You can contribute to the Community in the following ways:
  1. Connect with others who have taken the Empowerment Test (within your own or other denominations, within your own or other countries, etc.) so that you can grow both in the area of your strength and your weakness.
  2. Apply Spiritual Change Talk (for instance, through Skype conferences) with people you are interacting with on the website.
  3. Share your thoughts and questions about The 3 Colors of Leadership.
  4. Pass on the free second token you received via the bookmark that came with your book, or buy additional tokens on the website and share them with others.
Keep in mind that the quality of the website increases with the number of people participating in the community.

What is the major difference between church leadership and leadership in secular organizations?

As far as the six wing traits of empowering leadership are concerned, there is no difference between churches and secular organizations. The exact same principles apply to both. However, the way in which they are applied may differ. The three most important differences are the following:
  1. In secular organizations (both business and non-profit), it can be legitimate for workers to see their primary task as helping the leader fulfill his or her vision. In churches, however, the leader’s task is to develop a corporate vision, which should not be confused with the personal vision of the leader.
  2. In secular organizations, it can be legitimate to proactively invest in bringing in the best workers from other organizations. In a church context, this should not be done, since the result does not bring increase for the kingdom of God. Churches that follow this path reveal that they have not understood the dynamics of the body of Christ nor of the kingdom of God.
  3. In churches, the final authority is Jesus Christ, not the church leaders. As soon as this becomes more than just a general statement, an enormous difference is experienced, even in the nitty-gritty details of church leadership.

What are the advantages of learning church growth principles from small churches, rather than from megachurches?

The six main advantages are the following:
  1. Principles that have been studied in smaller churches can usually be easily adapted to the needs of larger churches, while the opposite often doesn’t work. Many of the features that larger churches teach are strongly connected to their specific infrastructure.
  2. Smaller churches, on average, have higher quality (in terms of the eight quality characteristics). The danger of confusing “professionalism” with “quality” is less likely.
  3. In smaller churches, the principles of church development can be studied in a more basic form, rather than being embedded in sometimes highly sophisticated programs. This enables easier transfer.
  4. Smaller churches, on average, have lower entertainment needs, i.e. there is less danger of shifting into a “performance mind-set” which easily breeds a consumer mentality.
  5. Small church meetings may have less momentum than conferences of large churches. Even if this looks like a disadvantage to some people, it actually has considerable benefits: The participants are not tempted to confuse positive feelings associated with attending the event with sustainable processes of change (“What is the measurable difference one year later?”).
  6. In some cases, the professionalism of large churches can result in counterproductive “priming dynamics” (compare, The 3 Colors of Leadership, pages 87-90). The confrontation with the “unreachable” standards of the model church can actually lead to weakened trust in one’s own abilities.

What exactly is the difference between leadership styles and leadership principles?

Leadership styles only apply to those who have that specific style; leadership principles apply regardless of the leader’s personal style. In many leadership books, some teachings that are connected to a specific style are promoted as leadership principles, which results in both confusion and frustration.

Does the concept of empowering leadership have a closer affinity to an authoritarian style or to a democratic style?

Neither. People with a more authoritarian style may have a more strongly developed “leading wing,” while those with a “democratic style,” a more strongly developed “empowering wing.” However, neither the term “authoritarian” nor the term “democratic” really express the essence of what the leading and the empowering wings are all about.

What is the psychological explanation for the fact that many people tend to see the enlargement of Box A as an end in itself?

The four most important factors contributing to this phenomenon are the following:
  1. Since the features of Box A are usually more visible than those of Box B, many people perceive Box A as a more adequate demonstration of their success (even if Box B may be relatively small).
  2. Since the leader’s core temptation is pride (see The 3 Colors of Community, pages 40-47), a large Box A can serve as an instrument to express his or her ego needs.
  3. The confusion of ends and means to an end is the basic danger of capitalist societies (“money as an end in itself”). A large Box A perfectly fits into this mind-set.
  4. Since the majority of people tend to see the enlargement of Box A as an end in itself, this procedure is not even perceived as something unusual or ineffective. Most people accept it as expected behavior without question, simply because the culture around them shares that view.

Are there situations in which a focus on appearance is justifiable?

Yes, there are. Generally, a focus on appearance can be helpful to attract first-time attention. In some settings, this kind of fabricated high attention may be beneficial. The danger of a focus on appearance is that it becomes a general pattern of behavior, rather than being restricted to clearly definable (and time-limited) targets.

Aren't there many other leadership principles that are not covered by this book?

According to what we know at this time, there are not. If you should detect “additional” leadership principles, they usually fall into one of the following five categories:
  1. They are not principles (i.e. applicable to everyone and every situation) but features that may be useful in some specific situations, while being irrelevant in others (for instance, public speaking abilities, fund raising techniques, etc.).
  2. They describe a certain leadership style (and so apply to those who have this style) rather than leadership principles (that apply independently of one’s individual style), for example, a feature that is strongly bound to a domineering or extroverted personality.
  3. They can be seen as sub-categories of one of the six wing traits, rather than additional principles (for instance, certain communication skills as part of “Cast a vision” or “Teach the principles”).
  4. They describe techniques targeted on putting the principles into practice, rather than additional principles (for instance, specific coaching techniques or management skills).
  5. They may describe character traits or be related to the spirituality of the leader, which are essential features but should not be confused with the six wing traits (for instance, a specific way of approaching God).

Are successful leaders truly balanced in the three colors, or is there a certain one-sidedness that is connected to success?

The question is how “success” is defined. If the standard is purely to see the leader’s vision come true, a balance in the three colors may not be needed. If the standard of success is the empowerment of the people we lead, the balance of all three colors is essential.

Why is it especially hard for Westerners to understand how polarities work?

The Western mind-set, much more than the mind-set of other cultures, is based on linear thinking patterns (from A to B). Since this has largely shaped the educational system, many Westerners find it harder to understand the dynamics of polarities or cyclical ways of approaching reality than, for instance, oriental cultures. Even if Westerners have understood the dynamics of polarities intellectually, it sometimes doesn’t feel “natural” for them to apply them intuitively.

In which areas should we be one-sided, and in which ones should we be balanced?

We should be one-sided in the area of our gifts (which can include spiritual gifts, natural talents, and skills we have acquired). We should strive for balance whenever it comes to fundamental principles—regardless if these are principles of leadership (six wing traits), of character (Fruit of the Spirit), or of church development (eight quality characteristics). The way to achieve balance is a focus on the minimum factor.

What is the difference between the principles NCD teaches and the tools NCD provides?

Both from a biblical and a common sense perspective, the principles of Natural Church Development (such as, loving relationships, gift-based ministry, empowering leadership, etc.) are non-negotiables. We must all apply them, regardless of whether we like them or not. This doesn’t apply to the tools that NCD has developed (such as the NCD Survey, the Empowerment Test, or the Trinitarian Compass). If you see any of these tools as helpful, use them. If not, use other tools, develop your own tools, or work without tools. This topic is addressed in an online video.

Should we continue to train people for leadership if they have significant flaws in their character?

Character flaws should not prevent us from providing training in leadership principles. Dealing with the principles can provide the opportunity to work on character flaws. However, significant character flaws may be a reason not to assign a specific leadership responsibility to someone who might otherwise be gifted for that responsibility.

Are there situations in which it is justifiable to see followers as helpers of the leader?

Yes, there are some situations in which this can be justifiable. Consider the following, for instance:
  1. In secular organizations it is legitimate for the leader to define the vision and the goals of the organization. The workers are paid to contribute to helping the leader fulfill his or her vision.
  2. The same applies to many Christian para-church organizations. They can be shaped by the vision for which the leader is seeking support.
  3. Within a local church, the situations in which followers should be considered as the leaders’ helpers should be restricted to two areas: (a) For people who have the spiritual gifts of helps or of service, this role is an adequate expression of their divine calling. (b) Every believer should be prepared to “help” a leader in special situations need. However, this should not become their permanent role.

Why do most multiplication processes come to a standstill after a while?

The two major reasons are the following:
  1. After initial success, ongoing multiplication is not given enough emphasis or support.
  2. The environment changes (often because of the initial success of the multiplication process), producing factors that reduce the speed of multiplication.
While the first reason reveals a flaw, the second reason describes a natural dynamic. Within God’s creation, no multiplication process is supposed to increase without limit. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully distinguish between category 1 and category 2 causes.

Can I get in touch with NCD Davids in my geographical area?

Yes. NCD International is in the process of discovering more and more NCD Davids (who are willing to be approached as NCD Davids) and arranging for them to be easily found on this web site. There is still work to be done on this project, so be sure to subscribe to the 3 Color World mailing list in order to find out when these valuable connections can be made.

If an NCD David is the leader of a megachurch, in what respects does that church differ from other megachurches?

For NCD Davids the size of the church doesn’t matter. If they pastor a megachurch, they still show all of the characteristics of NCD Davids as outlined in the book. These kinds of megachurches typically have a far lower performance-orientation than the average megachurch. They are based much more on primary than on secondary virtues (see The 3 Colors of Leadership, pages 18-20).

When applying the Test at a corporate level (small group, whole church, or denomination), what are the quantity discounts?

Click here to discover the discounts for groups of all sizes.

Ideally, how often should the Test be repeated?

For those familiar with the NCD Church Survey, it is common to repeat once a year. However, making progress in the area of the six wing traits is considerably faster. You can move forward significantly during every conversation. As a rule of thumb, take a repeat test whenever you notice that something has changed within you. Take care to select people to fill in the questionnaire for you who have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the areas of your most recent growth.

How do I decide whether I should view myself as an emerging leader or an established leader?

This is not so much a question of the number of people you are responsible for, but more of the security you sense in your own leadership role. If you feel secure, you should focus on your weakest wing trait from the beginning. If you feel insecure, you should start with the wing trait that has the highest score.

Are there situations in which Spiritual Change Talk shouldn’t be applied?

The two settings in which Spiritual Change Talk shouldn’t be applied are the following:
  1. The person you are dealing with indicates that he or she doesn’t want you to apply this conversation technique, for whatever reason.
  2. The person you are dealing with is not willing to change. The readiness to work on personal change is a clear prerequisite for applying Spiritual Change Talk.

How can I use the Trinitarian Compass for vision casting?

You can fill each of the three “color segments” (in their broadest meaning of what green, red, and blue is meant to communicate) with specific and context-related elements of a corporate vision. This procedure guarantees two results:
  1. The vision is balanced, since none of the three color segments is neglected. In this way, it is far less likely that the vision simply communicates the leader’s personal hobby-horse.
  2. By relating the specific elements of your vision to the broad categories of the compass you make it easier for people to link in and make the vision their own.
When using the Trinitarian Compass in this way for vision casting, the colors help to interpret the specific statements of your vision, and the specific statements help to interpret the colors.

When it comes to the two wings of vision, is there a difference between churches and secular organizations?

The major difference is that the corporate vision that has to be developed in churches should not be confused with the personal vision of the leader. In secular organizations (just as in parachurch organizations) it is legitimate and often even useful for the personal vision of the leader to become the organization’s vision.

What are some practical ways to facilitate a spirit of experimentation?

The three most important things are the following:
  1. As a leader, constantly demonstrate a spirit of experimentation in your own life (for instance, by speaking about your own mistakes as much as about your successes).
  2. Consistently and publicly cherish people who have taken risks and have failed.
  3. Offer coaching to help people learn from their mistakes.

Are there mistakes that should be avoided at all costs?

Mistakes that harm other people or that qualify, biblically seen, as sin, should be minimized. However, if these mistakes should happen (and they will), it is all the more important to provide practical support in learning from them, so that even they become a chance to grow.

Why do so many groups teach, “Focus exclusively on your strengths?”

This is the effect of the philosophy of “positive thinking” which has permeated vast parts of Western society. While there are a number of beneficial elements in that philosophy (especially when contrasted with the equally one-sided philosophy of “negative thinking”), in many cases it has become an ideology that blinds people to the darker aspects of reality, including within themselves. In contrast to pure “positive thinking,” biblical teaching enables us to deal both with our (allegedly) “positive” and negative sides.

“Weaknesses” can refer to a variety of different things—what are the most important categories to distinguish?

Weakness can be positive, negative, or neutral:
  1. Admitted weakness can be a positive feature—in fact, a central aspect—of maturing spirituality. 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
  2. Weakness can be a description for sin. This is a kind of weakness that has to be overcome.
  3. Weakness can describe certain skills we have never acquired. In this case, it is a neutral term.

What exactly is the difference between vision and goals?

Vision communicates purpose; it doesn’t necessarily show how to achieve that purpose. Goals are ways to see the vision come true. Goals may change (because some may turn out to be inadequate means for seeing a specific vision become reality); vision doesn’t change quickly, and in many cases it doesn’t change at all. A vision can be expressed in metaphoric language (being somehow deliberately ambiguous), while goals should be precise. Vision speaks primarily to the unconscious mind; goals are meant to speak, first and foremost, to the conscious mind.

Which preconditions are necessary before a church initiates an NCD process?

There is absolutely no precondition for a church to initiate an NCD process. Throughout the process, every church will experience changes, but none of these changes should be demanded as preconditions to launching the process. Regretfully, in their eagerness to see “success,” some groups have established a number of preconditions for churches to meet before launching an NCD process. That practice is not in line with NCD teaching.

Since NCD is committed to sharing all acquired knowledge, why is the survey data not publicly available?

As a matter of principle, the survey data is the only part of the NCD knowledge base that is not publicly accessible. The two main reasons for this policy are the following:
  1. NCD International must guarantee the anonymity of data. People will only receive information about a specific church or an individual person, if that church or individual chooses to share their information with others.
  2. The NCD Survey is made available exclusively through licensed NCD National Partners. Public access to the formula on which the NCD Survey is calculated (based on research in 65,000 churches) would undermine the accountability structure established by NCD International with those Partners.

How can we best apply model-oriented learning based on NCD principles?

The principles of Natural Church Development can best be learned in practice, i.e. in the context of specific “models.” A fruitful method is to study several models simultaneously and look for the common denominators. Each model can be evaluated according to the standards of the NCD principles. This approach helps you to focus, from the outset, on the features of the model that are really relevant to you, rather than being sidetracked by the specifics of a given model which may look interesting at first sight, but don’t qualify as principles. However, in the process of studying models you may detect certain features that, while not universal principles, are nevertheless helpful for you in your specific situation.

How can I include the NCD Discipleship Resources in Spiritual Change Talk?

The books in the NCD Discipleship Resource series help you relate the change process to a specific content (for instance, growing in love, in spirituality, in leadership, etc.). Every book in the series helps a person to discover both their greatest strengths and their growth areas. People are usually very teachable at the time when they discover more about themselves from these tests. This can be an ideal starting point for a serious change process. Spiritual Change Talk provides the bridge between the discovery of your strengths and weaknesses, on the one hand, and a practical growth process, on the other. The 3 Colors of Leadership relates this dynamic to the topic of leadership. The other books in the NCD Discipleship Resource series relate it to other topics that, for many people, may be even more relevant.

Where can I find more information about the average growth that can be expected as a result of an NCD process?

On the basis of our research, we have developed a tool for growth prognosis. For more information, click here.

Which schools of psychology have most influenced the development of Spiritual Change Talk (Plus)?

In particular, it has been influenced by some features of systemic coaching (de Shazer), logo-therapy (Frankl), Gestalt therapy (Perls), hypnotherapy (Erickson), client-centered therapy (Rogers), and cognitive therapy (Beck).

What can we observe from the way that Jesus tried to help people change?

It is especially striking to observe the following three dynamics:
  1. Jesus always acknowledged the starting point of a given person.
  2. He was a master in harnessing the energies within people.
  3. He primarily asked questions in order to help people discover the truth.
In many teachings about Jesus, these three factors aren’t given sufficient attention.

Why doesn‘t the Perceive phase of the NCD Cycle in this context deal with the perception of present rather than future reality?

In most cases in which the NCD Cycle is applied, the Perceive phase relates, for good reasons, to the perception of present reality. It is a specific feature in this phase of Spiritual Change Talk to focus on the perception of future reality (and subsequently to address present reality). The major reason for this is to avoid exploring the future by primarily engaging the rational mind. Spiritual Change Talk is supposed to help people experience future reality (“perception”) even before it has become an external reality. This is targeted on releasing unconscious resources that wouldn’t be released by just speaking about the future on the level of the rational mind.

How can I get a copy of the e-book, Life Streets in Spiritual Change Talk?

You can download a synopsis of the e-book by clicking on the 'Spiritual Change Talk' tab to the left. This synopsis gives you an overview of the concept, the contents, the publication date, and the price.

What are the most important precautions to keep in mind when encouraging experimentation?

By definition, any experimentation includes the readiness to make mistakes. You cannot encourage experimentation and at the same time strive to avoid mistakes. However, you should try to minimize those mistakes that might harm other people or would biblically be labeled as sin. When considering this question, you should keep in mind that the attempt to avoid risk-taking measures may contribute to sin as well (for instance, the sin of neglect).

How can I get a copy of the e-book, Role-Plays in Spiritual Change Talk?

You can download a synopsis of the e-book by clicking on the 'Spiritual Change Talk' tab to the left. This synopsis gives you an overview of the concept, the contents, the publication date, and the price.

Rather than focusing on both strengths and weaknesses, isn‘t it wiser to look exclusively at one‘s strengths and ignore the weaknesses?

It is true that your focus should not be on “getting rid of weaknesses,” but on building up strengths. However, both strengths and weaknesses must be addressed. The attempt to simply ignore weaknesses can have disastrous results, both in terms of character development and in terms of efficiency in reaching one’s goals.

How can I get a copy of the e-book, Scaling Techniques in Spiritual Change Talk?

You can download a synopsis of the e-book by clicking on the 'Spiritual Change Talk' tab to the left. This synopsis gives you an overview of the concept, the contents, the publication date, and the price.

What is the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious mind in Spiritual Change Talk?

In contrast to mainstream coaching techniques, Spiritual Change Talk gives credit to the powerful influence that the unconscious mind has in the area of attitude and behavioral changes. Particularly in Change Talk Plus, the unconscious mind is consistently addressed. While techniques that are primarily based on the rational mind and on will-power can be adequate for reaching some goals, deep-rooted attitude and behavioral changes can only be expected if the hidden needs of the unconscious mind are synchronized with those of the conscious mind.

How can I get a copy of the e-book, Intuitive Decision Making in Spiritual Change Talk?

You can download a synopsis of the e-book by clicking on the 'Spiritual Change Talk' tab to the left. This synopsis gives you an overview of the concept, the contents, the publication date, and the price.

When should provocative techniques be applied, and when not?

As a rule of thumb, provocative techniques can be applied much more frequently than our societies’ code of politeness would make us believe. The most important precondition for using these techniques is the following: The people we are dealing with should sense that we accept them as persons, and that we respect their views. On the basis of this, the irritation that emerges from all provocative techniques—provocation is meant to be irritating—can trigger deep-rooted change processes. The stronger the foundation of acceptance and respect (and the stronger it radiates from you), the more effective the provocative techniques. People who don’t naturally radiate acceptance should be more reluctant in applying provocative techniques.

How can I get a copy of the e-book, Provocation Techniques in Spiritual Change Talk?

You can download a synopsis of the e-book by clicking on the 'Spiritual Change Talk' tab to the left. This synopsis gives you an overview of the concept, the contents, the publication date, and the price.

Why do most people who start a change process successfully, not manage to follow through?

The two chief reasons are the following:
  1. These people don’t have a coach (mentor, counselor, leader) who supports them in this process.
  2. Their coach (mentor, counselor, leader) has no clear strategy for the time beyond the actual coaching process.

How can I get a copy of the e-book, Text Messaging in Spiritual Change Talk?

You can download a synopsis of the e-book by clicking on the 'Spiritual Change Talk' tab to the left. This synopsis gives you an overview of the concept, the contents, the publication date, and the price.

How can I find more detailed information about the three factors undermining the empowerment process?

All three factors have a common denominator—pride. The book The 3 Colors of Community describes in detail the background of the link between pride and leadership, and how the energy behind pride can be used in the process of investing in the empowerment of people.

What is the philosophy behind the focus on asking questions in Spiritual Change Talk?

At its deepest level, it is an expression of what NCD calls the “all by itself” principle. Most of the questions being asked in Spiritual Change Talk do not focus on collecting information, but on providing stimulus to help the trainees discover the answers on their own—in other words, releasing the potential that God has already placed within them.

Part 3 of the book, The 3 Colors of Leadership, introduces the concept of Spiritual Change Talk—an empowering conversation technique that encompasses six phases. Each phase consists of a basic level (primarily focused on asking empowering questions) and an advanced level called Change Talk Plus. The e-books are designed to provide further theoretical background and practical instructions for each of the six phases.

A downloadable synopsis of each of the e-books is available below. The e-books will be available in September 2015.

If you haven't already, be sure to join the 3 Color World mailing list (see above) to keep up to date with the release of the e-books.

Click here to download a fully animated PowerPoint presentation containing all of the key diagrams from The 3 Colors of Leadership. This tool is ideal for anyone wanting to present the teaching to a group of people. It contains references pointing you to the relevant book pages to assist you in your preparation.

In addition to the above, those who attended Christian Schwarz's seminars during his 2012 Leadership and Community Tour might be interested in downloading his PowerPoint presentations for use in your own teaching on these topics. Click here for details.

Below you will find downloadable book images from The 3 Colors of Leadership. To find an image you would like to use, refer to the relevant page number from the book and look for the file below. For example, if you would like the image on page 13 of the book, you are looking for the file "3colead-p13.png".

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