Enneagram: Berghoef & Bell Innovations

Leadership. Communication. Teamwork.


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Book Excerpt: Solving Problems at Work

Our new book, The Modern Enneagram, just got published. It’s an introduction to the system and its practical applications, with a storytelling style and modern updates. We’re pleased to share an excerpt about ways to use the Enneagram for workplace problem solving with you.

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The Enneagram is a popular way for businesses to help their teams understand each other and improve their performance and communication. It’s a useful tool for mediating disputes and resolving interpersonal conflicts on the job.

After learning about the nine types, Julia, an Enneagram Type Seven, started applying her new knowledge to her job of managing a team of graphic designers at a branding firm. She had her colleagues take an Enneagram type assessment, and they now have a common language to talk about each other’s personalities and viewpoints.

Let’s take a look at a scenario where the Enneagram helped solve a problem involving a diverse group of people in Julia’s workplace.

Bob is a repeat client of the firm where Julia works. He has contracted with the company to rebrand his business, including a new logo and marketing strategy. Exacting and critical, he has many specifications for the project. Having worked with Bob before, Julia believes him to be a Type One.

Kevin, a Type Four, is the designer in charge of visual branding for Bob’s company. He completed a logo and portfolio of visual material for the rebranding project, but Bob is dissatisfied with Kevin’s colorful, free-form designs. He wants the whole portfolio redesigned, and he has many specific changes that he would like Kevin to make. Being a One, he has high expectations and desires a brand identity that gets all the details right. He tells Julia that he wants the new portfolio within a set timeline, and says that if it isn’t up to his standards, he will not work with the company in the future. As a Seven, Julia wants to keep interactions optimistic—and she does not want to lose a valuable client. She assures Bob that Kevin will give him what he wants.

Kevin, however, says the timeline is unrealistic. It’s just too tight for him to redesign all the material required. Julia does not have a background in graphic design, and her knowledge of the field comes from working with designers rather than from firsthand experience. She doesn’t understand why a redesign can’t be done quickly.

Kevin explains that Bob’s expected timeline will not result in the powerful visual brand identity his company desires. At best, it will result in some slapdash materials that don’t reflect the quality the branding firm is known for. As a Four, Kevin takes the creative process seriously and values producing well-developed and eye-catching work. Kevin needs more time to come up with new concepts that will fit Bob’s precise specifications and still stand out in the market.

Lakesha, who heads the marketing department, is also advocating quick turnaround. She needs to have the visual branding finished in order for her department to complete the marketing strategy for Bob’s company and have it ready for an upcoming launch party. As a Three on the Enneagram, she wants the branding firm to put their best foot forward, and she sees satisfying the client as part of that.

Julia feels caught between Kevin’s request for more time, and Bob and Lakesha’s requests for more speed. She expresses her frustration to Lakesha—who has more design knowledge than Julia—and they decide to problem solve together. When she hears about the level of changes that Bob wants Kevin to make to the visual branding portfolio, Lakesha agrees that the timeline is unrealistic. Julia is resistant at first. After all, managing interactions with designers is her job, and she wants to make the customer happy. When Lakesha suggests negotiating a compromise with Bob, Julia realizes that she has some workable ideas (and strategies to deliver them) that will please both Bob and Kevin.

Julia contacts Bob and tells him that she respects the integrity of his vision for his company (a strong value for Bob as a One), and her branding firm is committed to representing this vision in the world. She uses her Type Seven strength of positivity to emphasize the advantages of Kevin’s design, and explains that, in order to get the new portfolio completed in time, Bob will need to compromise on some of the changes he wants. She speaks to the effort Kevin is putting in and the high standards of the firm’s design process. Bob is still grumpy, but Julia’s upbeat manner and understanding of his values assuage him somewhat. He is willing to compromise on certain aspects of the redesign, though not on the timeline.

Julia and Lakesha talk to Kevin together about the compromises Bob is willing to make. Kevin is relieved that, with a less intensive redesign, the timeline is closer to being workable. Lakesha proposes a structured plan for completing the project on time, and Julia expresses full confidence in his work. With Julia motivating him, Kevin is able to complete the redesigned logo and portfolio, and Lakesha’s team moves ahead with the marketing strategy.

Ultimately, Bob feels that his company’s rebrand is in good hands because Julia used honesty and integrity when dealing with him. Kevin feels like his creative process has been respected. Lakesha is happy to have achieved her client’s goal of a successful launch, and kept the firm’s good standing in Bob’s eyes. Julia is relieved that everyone involved with the redesign conflict is satisfied and on good terms. Thanks to the Enneagram, their needs and viewpoints have all been heard. They can move on to the next project harmoniously, without any lingering tension.

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The Modern Enneagram is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.com at http://amzn.to/2jIWXtR and from Amazon.ca at https://is.gd/qZt89f.


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Organizational Development Using the Enneagram

20160217_134027The Enneagram benefits more than just the individuals and teams who exist within a workplace; it also supports the organization itself in remaining healthy. Understanding company culture from an Enneagram standpoint can help organizations address blind spots, build new capacities, and grow.

Just like individuals, organizations and cultures also have an Enneagram type! Many Enneagram teachers, for example, will observe that the United States has a type Three culture and Canada a type Nine culture. Similarly, companies tend to have a culture based on an Enneagram type. A type Two company culture, for example, may be particularly focused on serving the relationship with their customers, while a type Six company culture may be particularly focused on protecting the security of the company.

While most company cultures have inherent strengths, they also tend to have certain blind spots. A type Two company culture may be so focused on relationships that they forget to attend to important paperwork and balancing the budget. A type Six company culture may be so focused on preserving the security of the company that they avoid taking risks that would move the company forward in a positive way.

An assessment from an Enneagram workplace consultant will assist companies in seeing what Enneagram type strategies their workplace culture values and what Enneagram types they tend to neglect. Often, workplaces will tend to hire people who display the Enneagram types their culture values. For example, a company that strongly values type Two strategies may hire a large number of workers who are Twos, while being less impressed by the contributions of another type, such as a type Five who is more likely to be focused on information than customer relationships. Looking at hiring through the lens of the Enneagram can help diversify the process and acknowledge the value and necessity of overlooked skill sets.

Organizational Enneagram consultants may also look at the Level of Development in which a company is functioning, outside of type. A company that is functioning well will not only have minimize the conflicts among employees, it will also bring strong contributions to the world. Companies that are less healthy will typically have more miscommunications and conflicts and will spend more time mediating these challenges than growing as organizations. Unhealthy companies may even resort to cutting corners, or even unethical behavior, just to stay afloat.

Using the Enneagram in organizations supports companies in creating and maintaining a culture that hires and values a workforce of diverse, complementary personalities. It also aids companies in developing strategies that allow them to function healthfully and focus on bringing intrinsic value to their field.


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Nine Types of Leaders

2010-05-27 12.33.01Leadership is more than just a skill. It’s a complex set of qualities, behaviors, and aptitudes that varies depending on the context. There are situations where immediate action is called for, and the most effective leader is a decisive individual who takes the first step. In other times and places, the most suitable leader is a visionary strategist who charts a deliberate and powerful course.

Many roles in our lives call on us to be leaders, ranging from formalized management and executive positions at work to informal actions among family or peers. Whether we’re positioned at the forefront or acting in a vital support role, it’s helpful to take a careful look at our own leadership strengths and challenges as they affect our situation. The nine Enneagram types provide a valuable shorthand for recognizing these qualities in ourselves, as well as in those we work with, delegate to, and seek to develop as fellow leaders. In the following descriptions, see if you can recognize the strengths that come most naturally to you and those you can work to build in order to increase your leadership flexibility.

Type One: Motivated by principles, you hold a strong vision and inspire others to follow it. Leadership becomes a process of improving what you see and seeking to bring out the best in the aspects of life you care about. Challenge yourself to be flexible in your mission, acknowledging the positive and allowing for efforts that deviate from “the book.”

Type Two: Motivated by connection, you nurture others and build their skills. Whether creating networks, mentoring, delivering excellent customer service or offering support, people are vital to your values as a leader. Challenge yourself to expand your vision beyond others, making space for your needs and the broader, less immediately personal context.

Type Three: Motivated by value, you strive toward quality results, efficiency, and success. Teams and projects you lead have a polished touch, and you’re adaptable in the ways you pursue results. Challenge yourself to be attentive to others’ contributions and strengths, allowing them to step up and be effective even when it’s less “efficient.”

Type Four: Motivated by identity, your leadership efforts are an extension of your personal vision. You thrive when creating and designing projects, and are attentive to the emotional dynamics of your teams. Challenge yourself to hold your vision loosely, allowing for others to contribute and efforts to evolve beyond the possibilities you imagined.   

Type Five: Motivated by mastery, you lead by accumulating specialized knowledge, strategizing, and investigating possibilities. You can see connections between ideas and use them to plan a far-reaching course of action. Challenge yourself to step beyond the role of strategist, observe interpersonal dynamics, and build relationships with your team.

Type Six: Motivated by security, you lead as an equal, working cooperatively with others for outcomes that create shared benefit. You value interdependence and advocate powerfully for the underdog. Challenge yourself to step forward in situations where you’re invested but unsure; you have likely already built a foundation of respect to lead from.

Type Seven: Motivated by possibilities, you excel at getting new things started. Your creativity generates ideas, while your enthusiasm brings others on board to get things done and fosters goodwill among the group. Challenge yourself to sustain ideas and projects when the going gets tough, both delegating and putting in legwork to see things through.  

Type Eight: Motivated by impact, you bring lots of energy and action to make things happen. Your confidence makes decisions easy and supports others, especially when you work to empower them. Challenge yourself to recognize when you’re expending too much effort, and allow yourself to rest and others to support you in these times.   

Type Nine: Motivated by harmony, you create an environment of cooperation where people feel comfortable around you. You lead without standing in the spotlight, including others so that they feel like they created the changes you spearheaded themselves. Challenge yourself to take charge and address conflict directly when it arises; you do this well.

As you’ve seen, you already possess leadership qualities inherent to your personality type. With some honing and balancing, you can develop them in ways that will have a powerful impact on the world.


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Network Well by Using Your Instincts

IMG_0521Most of us know the famous saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Whether you’re employed, looking for work, an entrepreneur, or some combination of the above, there’s no doubt that networking and relationship building are instrumental in professional success. The research shows that strong networking skills not only help us find the right position, but also correlate with higher salary, more promotions, and increased satisfaction in the workplace.

There are many ways to build your network, from keeping in touch with new contacts to connecting with people you’d like to get to know through professional contacts on LinkedIn. One common and useful way of meeting new people is to attend or host networking events focused on common goals or interests.  

The three Instincts, Self-Preservation, Sexual, and Social, all bring unconscious needs and biases to in-person and online networking. We tend to overdo the needs of our dominant Instinct and underdo, or minimize, our blind spot Instinct’s needs. In order to develop strong networking skills, all of us must bring attention to all three Instincts, to meet the needs of others and ourselves. Below are some suggestions on how to plan and successfully navigate networking events in a way that addresses the desires of all three Instincts.

Self-Preservation: The Self-Preservation Instinct is the part of us that cares about our physical environment and space. If you’re planning a networking event, make sure the venue has comfortable spaces for guests to unwind, and food and drink for a wide range of dietary needs. Let people know in advance if the temperature tends to run hot or cold. At the event, make sure you talk to people in locations where they’re physically comfortable – move to a table if your contact is precariously balancing food and drink during the conversation.

If Self-Preservation is your dominant Instinct, it can be easy to get caught up in sensitivity to the environment, at the expense of getting to know others. Make an effort to spend some time moving around the room, introducing yourself to other people, and letting them know how you can be of value to them.

Sexual: The Sexual Instinct is the part of us that cares about the excitement and stimulation the event provides. Include something about the event, whether it’s an edgy venue or exotic food, that pushes the envelope and gets your guests fired up to be there. Make the event open to allowing all guests to express creativity and discuss their passions. At the event, engage participants by getting them to discuss topics that excite them. Don’t be afraid to break from “working the room” and spend more time with a participant with whom you feel a particularly strong mutual connection.

If Sexual is your dominant Instinct, you may have a tendency to focus on people you find exciting, rather than building networking relationships that support your professional growth. Take the time to explore meeting a wide variety of people, focusing on mutual reciprocity over immediate chemistry.

Social: The Social Instinct is the part of us that cares about finding connection and common ground with others. To bring out the Social Instinct in guests, make sure the venue has plenty of open spaces for ample conversation, and plan icebreakers to get attendees to start talking. Engage the Social Instinct of participants at networking events by not just getting “down to business” – spend time getting to know each other first. Pay attention to the needs of contacts and build relationships by making sure you can offer ways to help and support them, too.

If Social is your dominant Instinct, you likely excel at meeting others at networking events, but sometimes you can work the room a little too quickly and smoothly. Spend enough time getting to know other participants and finding shared interests and values, and help others by introducing them to people you think they’d connect with.

Keeping the three Instincts in mind as you navigate networking events will add to your own and others’ enjoyment, and enhance the quality of the connections you make.


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Book Review: The Awakened Company

Awakened Company cover
Our colleague Catherine Bell (no relation to Melanie Bell) recently released a book that we’re excited about. Written in collaboration with Enneagram expert Russ Hudson and Christopher Papadopoulos, The Awakened Company is a passionate and pragmatic call for a new way of doing business. While traditional business models focus primarily on profit and efficiency, Bell calls for a big-picture approach that also takes sustainability, community, and mindfulness into account.

The Awakened Company comes at a time, post-financial crash, when “the historic notions of doing business are rapidly unraveling on nearly all levels” (p. 4). Bell describes the problems of meaningless work, a growth-based (and thus ultimately unsustainable) financial model, and the “business is business” philosophy, which “assumes that the purpose of business is to make money, and whatever it takes to do so is okay” (p. 1). She recalls the history of early businesses, rooted in family, community, and service, and calls for a way of doing business that returns to these roots and innovates beyond them. The result is the “awakened” company of the book’s title, which is attentive to global context.

Bell argues that the smallest business decisions have consequences, and that companies benefit from making sure that these decisions – from the sourcing of products to the creation of company culture – are made ethically and with deliberation. “Business is far from just ‘business’,” she concludes; “It’s deeply interwoven with the whole of life” (p. 57). In order to thrive in the modern world, corporations need to adopt a deep-rooted sense of civic responsibility and connectedness.

Much of the book discusses the importance of building greater awareness in the business sphere. Bell introduces the qualities of “presence,” a state of being grounded, attentive, and open, and their positive effects on the workplace. Cultivating presence in leaders and teams fosters adaptability, harmony, and work relationships that feel meaningful. The book argues that the functioning of any company is improved when a leader or small team cultivates a climate of mindful awareness that spreads throughout the organization. Bell also makes a convincing case for the importance of growing aspects of company culture that are often overlooked, such as reflection and aesthetics (and the Enneagram is in there, subtly).

The Awakened Company takes a macro approach, and covers a lot of ground. The book is peppered with brief case examples, allowing readers to better understand how the book’s organizational principles are implemented on the ground. Hopefully a future publication will cover such examples in more detail. The book often uses spiritual language, but The Awakened Company’s suggestions are well researched and eminently practical. This book is ideal for leaders seeking a thorough and well-thought-out guide to principles of sustainable company-building. Happily, the approaches laid out by The Awakened Company are increasingly common in today’s business landscape. With Bell’s book reaching a broader audience, their reach may continue to grow.


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How Enneagram Types Work in Teams

20140926_143809Strong collaborative skills are more crucial in the workplace today than ever before. According to the New York Times, jobs with a strong social component continue to increase, while more solitary occupations have lost positions. Additionally, modern workplaces of all kinds are embracing a collective, consensus-based approach, with over 70 percent of offices using an open floor plan in their company.

Most employees spend a significant amount of time with their coworkers. Our coworkers often become our friends, and sometimes even feel like family, but when misunderstandings ensue, there’s also the potential for conflict and even workplace bullying within teams. In order to work together cohesively, teammates must learn to respect and leverage each other’s strengths, while productively solving any conflicts that arise.

The Enneagram provides a personality map that shows the unique gifts different workers bring to their team and workplace. When employees’ strengths are leveraged, and they’re each given a role in the team that plays to their strengths, they thrive and contribute in group work. The Enneagram also identifies areas of difficulty for each of the nine types, areas where teammates can provide support. All of the nine Enneagram types have the potential to work well in teams. Below, we describe the strengths and social role of each Enneagram type in teams, as well as blind spots they can face.

Type One: Ones bring principle and discipline to teams. Often inspired by great vision, Ones ensure everyone is working toward the team’s goals in a manner that is ethical. Under stress, Ones can challenge other team members by being critical of their teammates not doing things the “right” way. Ones work best in teams when given a role where they can bring structure and pragmatism toward pushing goals forward.

Type Two: Twos bring interpersonal skills and consideration to teams. In groups, Twos are excellent at checking in and making sure everyone on the team is taken care of. Under stress, Twos can challenge other team members by focusing on team relationships at the expense of completing the project. Twos work best in teams when given a role where they can work on the relational or collaborative aspects of the project.

Type Three: Threes bring excellence and adaptability to teams. Often extremely polished, Threes are great at selling and marketing the team’s product and helping out in any way they’re needed. Threes can challenge other team members when they become too focused on doing the work themselves, at the expense of collaboration and delegation. Threes work best in teams when given a role where their impressive results are valued.

Type Four: Fours bring creativity and awareness to teams. Oriented to the personal realm and aesthetics, Fours ensure goals are created and executed in a manner that’s true to the team and company. Team members can be challenged by Fours when they become self-absorbed, making it difficult for them to participate fully. Fours work best in teams when given the opportunity to bring their creative abilities and sensitivity to projects.

Type Five: Fives bring focus and strategic thinking to teams. In teams, Fives often become the designated expert, using their brainpower to solve difficult problems. Team members can be challenged by Fives when they detach into their intellectual worlds, ignoring team relationships. Fives do their best work in teams when given a role that uses their sharp mental focus, such as strategic planning and innovation.

Type Six: Sixes bring dedication and hard work to teams. Sixes make wonderful allies and are willing to put in long hours, building group cohesion and giving their all to any workplaces they support. Sixes can challenge their team members by doubting their commitment to a project, causing the Six to “test” their teammates. Sixes work best when given structured opportunities to provide team support and the opportunity to be an advocate.

Type Seven: Sevens bring lightning-fast productivity and team spirit to teams. Sevens make teamwork fun, ensuring team members enjoy themselves while they work hard. Sevens can be challenging to their teammates when they become overly scattered and busy, making it hard for them to be pinned down or complete work. Sevens work best when given a role where they can wear a variety of hats, taking advantage of their spontaneity.

Type Eight: Eights bring strength and energy to teams. Natural leaders, Eights are great at getting a project started and ensuring that it continues to move forward. Team members can be challenged by Eights when they become overly domineering and don’t let others on the team have an equal voice. Eights do best in active, “doing” roles and situations where they can express their natural confidence and leadership.

Type Nine: Nines bring consensus and harmony to teams. Nines make great natural mediators when there’s conflict on the team and are often excellent at seeing the broader picture of the team’s goals. Other team members can be challenged by Nines when they become overly passive, “checking out” from the group and not expressing opinions. Nines do best in roles of creating group cohesion and mediating conflict.

Ultimately, when teammates learn each other’s teamwork style, they develop a greater understanding of differences and respect for their colleagues’ strengths, creating a happier and more productive workplace.


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5 Benefits of Supporting Emerging Leaders

FullSizeRenderIn our Enneagram workshops, we’ve trained many emerging leaders, including younger professionals in their 20s and 30s, and people of all ages embarking on new careers. We really enjoy working with this demographic. Emerging leaders of different Enneagram types have unique talents to bring to the workplace. Initiators (Enneagram types 3, 7, and 8) bring energy and willingness to take risks. Soloists (types 4, 5, and 9) bring creativity and focus. Cooperators (types 1, 2, and 6) bring people skills and commitment to company culture. One thing they all have in common is that they’re eager to contribute to their fields and step into leadership roles.

In today’s businesses, there’s a trend toward hiring people with extensive experience and qualifications, rather than identifying and training emerging talent. One benefit of this strategy is that these hires are well-prepared to step into their new roles. On the downside, companies often overlook excellent potential hires. Emerging leaders and career transitioners bring fresh perspectives, energy, and great value to established organizations.

Here are five benefits of supporting emerging leaders, in your workplace and beyond.

1. Emerging leaders are flexible.
Newcomers to their fields are easily teachable, interested in learning, and readily adapt to the culture of the workplace. These qualities make them quick at adapting to changes in the industry and take on unconventional roles.

2. They offer new skill sets.
Younger professionals, as digital natives, are often particularly adept with technology and social media. Newcomers who have transitioned from a different industry bring valuable transferable skills from their past positions and an interdisciplinary outlook.

3. They bring innovative ways of thinking.
If there are aspects of a company or industry that aren’t working, or would otherwise benefit from changes, emerging leaders less entrenched in organizational or industry norms and culture are more likely to notice. They’re also more likely to think of out-of-the-box ways to make these changes.

4. They have time on their side.
Young leaders, especially, bring boundless energy, and have decades to grow in skill and contribute to their fields. Emerging leaders of all ages are interested in being mentored and taught new skills. You never know who will become a future CEO, or even revolutionize your industry.

5. They add to workplace diversity.
The most effective companies have workforce talent that includes people of diverse backgrounds and ages. This makes them better able to connect with different consumer demographics.

There are many ways that established professionals can support emerging leaders in their fields. One is by identifying and mentoring talent, and by leading from example. Newcomers to your field have a lot to learn from your real-world experience – and you’ll probably find they’ll be teaching you new things, too. Investing in growing and training new hires will pay off in ideas, energy, and colleagues who will keep contributing to your field long after the current leaders have retired.

Emerging leaders are among our favorite people to work with. They bring so much vision, great new ideas, and a desire to make a difference. Now is the time to invest in them, to ensure the future of your company.