Enneagram: Berghoef & Bell Innovations

Leadership. Communication. Teamwork.


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SMART Goal Setting for the New Year

As we turn the corner into another year, our best intentions come with us. We make plans to improve our health, relationships, work life, and many other areas that are meaningful or challenging for us. For a rare few, these goals have a lasting impact. For others, they are swiftly forgotten.

The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions has humbler roots than many of our goals have today. According to Time Magazine, it began in ancient Babylon, with promises made to the gods. The Babylonians took a down-to-earth approach; their promises included such manageable goals as returning things they had borrowed.

We can learn a thing or two from the Babylonians in setting yearly goals for ourselves that have staying power. A philosophy that aligned with their simple, doable promises was articulated by George T. Doran in 1981. Writing to managers, he described a system of goal setting that follows the acronym SMART. There are a few variations on the words associated with SMART. One version we like stands for:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time-bound

When we set goals that follow the five SMART principles, we’re more likely to achieve them. We build in accountability for ourselves and ensure that we don’t bite off more than we can chew. Rather than thinking big for your New Year’s resolutions, try using SMART principles that will work with your Enneagram type to help you achieve your goals.

Specific: Instead of committing to an overarching idea such as “getting in shape,” commit to a concrete practice that will move you toward your intentions, such as running three times a week.
While specificity is important for anyone who wants to set achievable goals, it’s especially useful for types Four and Nine to consider. Fours often daydream of lofty achievements; getting clear on the steps they want to take will bring these closer to reality. For Nines, hazy, generalized goals can lead to inaction, so focusing on the specifics will bring momentum.

Measurable: Find ways to measure progress toward your goals quantitatively. Continuing with the example of running, you could aim to get your mile down to under ten minutes, and time yourself with each practice. This step is particularly important for type Eight, as Eights tend to pour a lot of energy into their pursuits, sometimes tiring themselves out or quitting. Creating measurable goals will keep actions strategic.

Attainable: Choose a goal that is under your control. Something like getting a book published depends on external circumstances, but submitting your manuscript to a set number of publishers is something you can accomplish on your own. Consider this especially if you are type Three or Six. Threes often focus on outside validation, and benefit from the inner-directed approach of attainability. Sixes often place control within others’ hands, and focusing on attainability brings the ball into their court.

Realistic: Consider how your goal, which should be fairly concrete by now, will fit in with the rest of your life. Do you have the ability, resources, money, and time to achieve what you’re hoping to do? Are there aspects you need to reevaluate to make the goal doable? Realism is an important consideration for types One and Seven. For Ones, it will minimize perfectionistic expectations and ease pressure. For Sevens, it will focus energy on priorities and lessen overextension.

Time-bound: Set yourself a deadline, for the final goal as well as for any milestones toward it. This practice is valuable for all of us, and wonderful for types Two and Five. Twos frequently prioritize others and can get sidetracked, so keeping to a schedule provides useful structure for tending to their own desires. Fives tend to spend a lot of time on planning, so having a deadline will ensure their goals materialize in action.

We encourage you to use all five SMART principles as you create and pursue your New Year’s resolutions, with a special emphasis on the dominant one for your type. With these practices in mind, you’ll see better results in meeting the goals that matter to you.


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Productivity Tips for the Enneagram Types

IMG_1995In this fast-paced world, productivity is an important skill to master. There is a lot to get done, and the more effectively we can do it, the closer we come to achieving our goals. Productivity skills can also support us in leading a more balanced life, working when we need to work and building in ample time for play and rest.

Let’s look beyond goal setting this month and into building greater productivity through life management skills. Here are some tips for each Enneagram type to hone their productivity that delve a little deeper than “just get it done.”

Type One: Aim for 90%. When stressed, you hold yourself to a higher standard than you need to, and beginning your work can seem arduous. Aiming for 90% in your work is a realistic – in fact a high – bar, and leaves you energy for necessary rest. Make this your new standard and you’ll find that tasks get accomplished more quickly.

Type Two: Limit your “people time” until you’ve accomplished goals. Under stress, you tend to get sidetracked from tasks by attending to relationships. Give yourself built-in structures such as time-limited meetings with others, or deadlines to accomplish non-interpersonal tasks. You’ll find plenty of time for relationship building if you stick to your schedule, and you’ll stay on top of the curve.

Type Three: Build thoroughness of process into your task completion. When stressed, you have a tendency to cut corners and focus on presenting a shiny facade. Instead, look to the minutiae of your work that not everyone will see. Getting everything done right, with plentiful attention to the details, will ensure your work is outstanding and you don’t have to mend any oversights.  

Type Four: Make commitments. When stressed, you lose focus on objective goals as the subjective world looms larger. Commit to specific outcomes in spite of fluctuating feelings, and keep yourself on track with reminders. Build time for subjective processing into your schedule, such as journaling before work every day, so you’ll have more clarity to meet your objectives.   

Type Five: Seek out new possibilities. When stressed, you become more narrowly focused, and may be productive in one area while neglecting others. Connect with colleagues and share what you’re each working on. Take on a project that deviates from your norm. Seeking out breadth in experiences will bring out the most productive side of your innovative thinking.

Type Six: Seek out support for achievements. When you’re under stress, you sometimes procrastinate by doing busywork while putting off necessary milestones. Use your relational skills to create mutual accountability with a friend, colleague, or group. Each of you can regularly remind the others of the tasks you need to get done, or you can work together on them.   

Type Seven: Create a limited time and space for new ideas. When stressed, you look toward future possibilities and don’t always finish present ones. You can mitigate this by having a set daily time (such as 20 minutes) and place (such as a notebook) for the new. When you have an inspiration for a new project, add it to your brainstorming book, set it aside for later, and refocus.

Type Eight: Block out time for reflection and strategy. It’s not a problem for you to act, but under stress, you can put the cart before the horse. Having time laid out to look at which long-range strategies are best for your goals will save you from making hasty, and potentially costly, choices. It may help to seek and consider input from others before you make decisions, as well.

Type Nine: Use affirmations to help with your confidence and productivity. When stressed, you tend to give yourself “dis-affirmations” – believing you aren’t ready, doubting whether this is something you really want to do, and so on. Countering with assertive mental words or pictures – “I can get it done,” “I’m committed to it” – will energize you toward your goals.   

These are just a few tips to get you started in building the complex life skill of enhancing your productivity. Seek out support from others with these strategies – finding the right cheerleaders or accountability buddies is helpful for all the types in developing productivity skills. You don’t need to do these perfectly; every baby step is an improvement. Happy productivity trails!