The 10 Lenses

Dr. David Thomas, former Dean, Georgetown McDonough School of Business and Donald O. Clifton,former Chairman The Gallup Organization

The 10 Lenses is a research-based framework that illuminates how people view race, ethnicity and cultural identity differences through 10 distinct “lenses.” and belif systems. The 10 lenses crytalize mindsets that help, your colleagues and community members better understand what you see, how you interpret what you see and the decisions you and your organization make. The 10 Lenses also help you understand why your colleagues and community members have different takes on important issues like:

  • American Identity
  • Diversity, inclusion, multiculturalism, and citizenship
  • Oppression, “isms” and conscious, and unconscious bias
  • Justice and equal opportunity
  • Majority, minority, and cultural subgroup dynamics

Cultural identity differences can seem like impenetrable barriers which mean communication can be frustratingly difficult.

The 10 Lenses are unique because they:

  • Offer a new way of thinking and talking about cultural differences in this increasingly fragmented and polarized environment.
  • Open minds and reduce defensiveness in a safe and enjoyable environment
  • Demonstrate how each lens contributes something valuable to society and has weaknesses that can harm society and organizations.
  • Help everyone – regardless of their level of education, level within their organization, or status within their community – better understand themselves and others.
  • Create a bridge between competing beliefs that allow people to talk openly and honestly about how we can take steps together to connect and collaborate to build inclusive organizations and communities.

The 10 Lenses help you live in a global society where people, ideas, products, and capital cross-geographic borders in milliseconds. You need to the skills to recognize and respond to the many divergent mindsets and belief systems. The 10 Lenses will help you understand where people are coming from, especially related to cultural identity. The 10 lenses will also help you recognize and deal with the powerful mindsets that contribute to conflicts related to dimensions including race, ethnicity, cultural identity, national origin, social class, gender, where you live and generational differences you will face at work and in the community.

The 10 Lenses are important because they help you understand how the weaknesses, or shadows, of the lenses are often unknowingly embedded within your organization or community. When these weaknesses are left unattended, they thwart your best efforts to create inclusion and can negatively affect:

  • Brand and Reputation
  • Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights
  • Corporate Responsibility and Civic Engagement

The 10 Lenses help leaders understand how even the best, most well-meaning employees inadvertently miss opportunities to connect, undermine their colleagues and place themselves and their companies at legal, competitive or mission risk. The 10 Lenses shed new light on critical organizational elements such as:

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What's Your Lens?

Find the answer in under 10 minutes and compare your preferences to other 10 lenses members.

Take the Survey
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM

The United States Navy Memorial 701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC 20004

Save the Date:

The 10 Lenses Live, with Mark Williams

Learning to Live and Work in a Multicultural – MultiDentity World
Date: Tuesday, November 8th, 2017
Time: 9:00am – 12:30pm
Location: The U.S. Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

You live in a global society where people, ideas, products, and capital can cross geographic borders in milliseconds, but that same society may not have prepared you to deal with the different belief systems you encounter every day.The 10 Lenses Live can help you navigate through this challenge.

Join us for an exciting, interactive session with best-selling author Mark Williams, who will share strategies to help you recognize and better deal with the powerful mindsets that influence various identity dimensions such as race, ethnicity, sexual identity, social class, gender, and more.

You will learn how your lenses affect what you see, how you interpret what you see and the decisions you and your organization make. You will also better understand why your colleagues and community members have different views on important issues like:

  • Conflicted perceptions of diversity, inclusion, and citizenship
  • American Identity
  • Oppression, :isms”, stigmatization, conscious, and unconscious bias
  • Justice and equal opportunity
  • Majority, minority, and cultural subgroup dynamics

For more detailed event information, click here.

Government/Non-Profit : $189
Corporate : $389

Space is limited, so register today.We look forward to seeing you there!

Register for the November 8, 2017 10 Lenses Live Event

Engage everyone with the 10 Lenses. Mark Williams is more than a researcher and best-selling author. He is also a dynamic speaker and entertainer who seamlessly blends his original multimedia elements and frameworks to produce unforgettable live events. Mark can bring the power of the lenses to life for your organization and engage groups from 100 to 5,000 people. Lenses Live Events are custom designed to help participants:

  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of their lens preferences
  • Assess which lenses are operating in your environment through your employees,customers and the public
  • Identify the new skills needed to thrive in a time of increased social fragmentation and polarization
  • Uncover belief systems that may be unconciously embedded into your organizational culture and systems

Customized and Flexible

The 10 Lenses Live Events can be adapted to work in multiple formats and occasions. The 10 Lenses Live are relevant for:

  • Conferences
  • Keynotes
  • In-service programs for educators
  • Strategy sessions
  • Community forums

Inspire! Involve! Inform!

Mark Williams brings the 10 Lenses to life. During each Lens portrayal, Mark and his team seamlessly blend Gallup validated research with original multimedia elements that include video interviews with academic and business leaders, clips from movies and television shows, music and live performances by actors.

After each portrayal and interactive audience segment, Mark and his team debrief the experience with the audience through small group discussions, panels and a question and answer period. This engaging learning experience will help you recognize and respond to how the 10 Lenses affect you, your organization and community.

Participants will be talking about their 10 Lenses Live experience for years to come. After you select your theme, you will have access to our content extensive library of interactive media. 10 Lenses Live Events can include components such as:

  • Live electronic polling
  • Expert Interviews
  • Panel Discussions
  • TV like Town Hall Meetings that can be webcast
  • Experiential Activities and Games
  • Inspirational takeaways

The result….you will have an engaged, well-informed group of participants who share a memorable experience that will remain in their heads and their hearts!

Once you have completed The 10 Lenses Live experience you will have access to:

  • Exclusive blogs by Lenses experts
  • Research and Polls
  • eLearning
  • Webinars
  • Personal and organizational assessments
  • Training Tools and Guides
  • Moderated Forums

FAQ’s about the 10 Lenses

How Were the Lenses Discovered?

After more than fifteen years of qualitative and quantitative research, Mark Williams was able to recognize and document ten perspectives and classify them into ten patterns of thought and behavior. The 10 Lenses patterns were identified in books, newspapers, movies, political speeches, organizational policies, societal norms, policy perspectives, and everyday interactions.

Where Have the 10 Lenses Been Used?

The 10 Lenses have been used at Global 500 corporations, communities, institutions of higher education, local and federal government, industry conferences, and at secondary schools with faculty and students. The 10 Lenses have been successful from the C-Suite to the mailroom because they speak to everyone in a compelling manner.

Have the 10 Lenses Been Validated?

Yes, the Gallup Organization created a survey to help determine dominant lenses and the combination of lenses through which we filter perceptions. The 10 lenses survey also determined that the lenses could withstand statistical analysis. Data were collected first from 318 Gallup Organization employees, then from 45 Harvard Medical School staff members, and two national samples – one that consisted of 1,001 participants and another of over 4,000 people. The conclusion: The lenses do exist as modes of thought, feeling, and behavior in the general population.

The Lenses open minds and reduce defensiveness. Each of the Lenses contributes something valuable to society. Only when we fall into the weaknesses or shadows of the Lenses, do we get into trouble. The Lenses enable people – regardless of their level of education, roll within their organization, or status within their community – to explore the underlying beliefs and values that drive cultural tensions in a safe and enjoyable environment. The Lenses create a bridge between competing beliefs that allow people to talk openly and honestly about who they are, why they see the world the way they do, and how we can take steps together to connect and collaborate to build inclusive communities.


Are Some Lenses Good or Bad?

No. Each of the Lenses has inherent strengths and weaknesses. The challenge is that when you become locked into a particular lens or lenses, the door to understanding and effective action closes. The concept of a Lens is not designed to lock you into a category; nor is it designed to tell you or others if you are racist, sexist, homophobic, patriotic, lazy, prejudiced, biased, good, or bad. Rather its purpose is to help you identify the range of thought and behavior patterns that you and others exhibit and the impact of those behaviors in communication and accomplishing goals.

Are the Lenses Mutually Exclusive?

No. The Lenses are not mutually exclusive. You probably identify one lens you use above others. You will likely have a preference for three Lenses, depending on the specific situation or the dimension of identity that is relevant. For example, you may be an Integrationist on race and a Seclusionists on sexual identity.

Can the 10 Lenses be used to Understand Differences In Addition to Race, Ethnicity, and Culture?

Yes, the Lenses can be used to understand the thought patterns related to how one frames their beliefs about any group of people based on identity. The basic principle of the lenses are effective as they relate to gender, religion, region, social class, nationality, education and sexual identity.

Do the 10 Lenses Help Stakeholders Think Comprehensively? Yes, the 10 lenses help stakeholders learn from the following perspectives:

  • Societal Understanding – Learn to assess which Lenses are “at play” within your business environment.
  • Strategic Responses – Learn about strategies to deal with the conflict between Lenses in your business environment.
  • Systemic Levers – Examine which Lenses are embedded into your organizational systems and policies.
  • Self-Awareness – Learn to consistently motivate and monitor yourself to behave based on the strengths of your Lenses.
  • Sensitivity – Learn to work with those who hold Lenses different from your own?
  • Skills – Recognize and respond to the Lenses in your customer and business community base