Enneagram: Berghoef & Bell Innovations

Leadership. Communication. Teamwork.


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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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What to Celebrate About the Enneagram Types

The holiday season is in full swing, and most of us have a full slate of celebrations planned, from work parties to family gatherings. Even the environment around us sparkles with excitement, with decorations, trees, and menorahs lighting up the houses and businesses in our communities.

While the busyness of this time of year sometimes brings special challenges, it’s also a time to celebrate, renew, and reconnect with those we care about most. This holiday season, get into the celebratory spirit by focusing on the wonderful qualities and abilities our family members, friends, and coworkers contribute to our lives – and the world around them.

Let’s take a look at the special talents each of the nine Enneagram types possess and remember to celebrate them in those we know personally.

Let’s appreciate how Enneagram Type Ones strive to make the world a better place. Whether it’s expansive, global change or a smaller task like ensuring every detail of the work holiday party is planned correctly, the intrinsic drive for improvement Ones possess ensures that we all keep trying to get better in what little ways we can.

Let’s treasure the way Enneagram Type Twos bring care and appreciation to the people around them. When part of a strategic process, or simply gathering with family, Twos ensure the human aspects of the plan are satisfied, and that people’s needs are met. Twos bring a compassionate quality that reminds all of us to love the people around us.

Let’s celebrate how Enneagram Type Threes inspire us to be the best that we can be. When Threes succeed, they teach all of us to value our own intrinsic great qualities and contribute our own unique achievements to society. Threes ensure that all of us create the best lives – and holidays – that we can for ourselves.

Let’s admire the way Enneagram Type Fours keep all of us emotionally honest. At times when the rest of us go with the flow, Fours remind us of how to stay true to ourselves in our actions and choices, whether big or small. Fours remind all of us to bring our own personal creativity to change, appreciate the beauty around us, and keep our holidays unique.

Let’s value how Enneagram Type Fives keep us open and searching for new truths. In creating and bringing change, Fives ensure that no intellectual base remains uncovered and unexplored. Fives not only discover how to make things better, but also bring an openness and curiosity to holidays, and encourage us to take time to reflect during this busy season.

Let’s respect the way Enneagram Type Sixes bring solidness and commitment to our relationships. Once committed, Sixes will ensure consensus on a project and work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure everything is executed. Sixes remind us all to honor our promises, whether on a large scale or simply following through on an RSVP.

Let’s be grateful for how Enneagram Type Sevens remind us to enjoy ourselves and have fun. Sevens bring great ideas to the world, but they also remind us that life doesn’t always need to be serious. Sevens remind us all of everything in the world that we can be grateful for- as well as the times we can let our hair down.

Let’s think highly of how Enneagram Type Eights bring strength and cohesiveness to our communities. With their energy and strong sense of personal empowerment, Eights will lead and fight for important change – and to keep groups of people together. This holiday season, appreciate the initiative the Eight in your life brings.

Let’s recognize the way that Enneagram Type Nines quietly bring solidity and calm to the world. Nines do well seeing the bigger picture in creating change and ensure we all find ways to get along while working toward it. The Nines in our lives make sure we all feel recognized and accepted, whether in large group meetings or during the holidays.

The holiday season is also a time to celebrate your own self-awareness. Make sure you take time this year to recognize the incredible qualities you bring to your workplaces and communities as you enjoy the festivities!


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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.


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Why Self-Awareness Matters

IMG_0650 - CopyIf you were a Greek citizen in the 4th century B.C., traveling to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi to listen to the Oracle’s wisdom, you’d find this inscription on the wall: “Know thyself.” In more recent years, self-awareness gets less press than flashier qualities like ambition and charisma. However, it matters just as much today as it did in ancient Greece. Here are 4 ways that self-awareness, one of the biggest results of learning the Enneagram, benefits our work and daily life.

  1. It builds business success.

A 2009 study found high self-awareness to be the top predictor of executives’ success. These self-aware executives are more likely to hire people who excel in their own areas of weakness, and to recognize when others’ ideas are better than their own. Most businesses require skills beyond what their leadership team is immediately able to provide. Self-aware leaders can recognize these gaps and make judicious choices about when to acquire these skills and when to outsource. They structure their teams intelligently and are open to learning from others. Not only does their willingness to delegate create a happier and more cohesive team; it also pays off in dollars. A 2015 study of 486 public companies’ financial performance found that the highest-earning companies had the most self-aware employees with the fewest blind spots – areas that professionals named as personal strengths but their colleagues’ feedback revealed to be personal weaknesses.

  1. It improves time management.

We all want to spend our time on things we care about. If social justice gets you moving, you’d probably be happiest contributing your time to the greater good, whether that’s volunteering in a soup kitchen on the weekends or founding an NGO. If you value the impact and experience of speaking to crowds, you might drag your feet in a career that revolves around one-on-one work or working from home. If you’re a person that needs a lot of solitude, your ideal schedule will look different than that of someone who values lots of family time. Becoming aware of what motivates you allows you to make wise choices about how to spend your time, both professionally and personally.

  1. It helps you find a niche.

Having a good sense of your strengths can tip you off to the type of work that’s best suited to you. If you’re great at building relationships with people, let that permeate your career, whether through direct client work or B2B marketing. If you’re gifted at working with your hands, see if you can use that ability even if you’re in a seemingly unrelated field. (We’ve both had colleagues who were lauded for their beautiful office decorations!) Once you have a good sense of how and where you bring the most value, let it guide the choices you make. It might just become the thing you’re known for, the catalyst of your personal success story.

  1. It strengthens relationships.

We all have tendencies that drive other people crazy. Self-awareness allows us to see them. If you find yourself criticizing or dominating (or whatever pattern you do that gets on people’s nerves), take a moment to notice what’s going on in your body. See if you can step back from your reaction and choose a different way to engage. The important people in your life will thank you! What’s more, when you’re open and attentive rather than habit-driven, other people will be more open, too. They’ll feel more appreciated and connect to you more easily. Having a daily self-observation practice, like mindfulness or yoga, is helpful in building these self-awareness skills. If you practice noticing your mind’s tricks on the mat, it will become easier to notice them among friends, colleagues, and family.

No matter what your personality type is, you’ll reap benefits from building self-awareness. Are there subtle ways you can restructure your life to play to your strengths? Are there small steps you can take to mitigate your challenges? As you learn more about yourself, what actions can you take to help you thrive?


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The Cross-Cultural Enneagram

From what we’ve seen, Enneagram types exist across culture – that is, cultures throughout the world will have people who display qualities from all the Enneagram types and Instincts. Nonetheless, each country and culture has a dominant cultural overlay, which has a personality type of its own. People absorb the values taught by their culture, which impact how they display their own dominant type. In Melanie’s Canadian culture, for example, people are encouraged to be polite and collaborative – values of type Nine and the Social Instinct. In Kacie’s American culture, citizens learn the values of independence, ambition, and hard work, the “American Dream” rooted in Type Three and the Self-Preservation Instinct.

Despite knowing that we came from different countries, we were still surprised when cultural differences unrelated to our types came up when we started working together. For example, Melanie would say “Sorry” as an instinctive reaction when things didn’t go as planned. After several months, Kacie asked Melanie why. She explained that Canadians say sorry in a multitude of situations as a form of politeness, a cultural subtlety very different from the more assertive American culture.

As we prepare to travel to Canada for the Canadian Enneagram Conference this month, cultural differences are heavily on our minds. We’re busy thinking up ways to adapt our presentation to a less assertive, more community-oriented culture than the American audiences we usually work with. At times Melanie, the Canadian on our team, has found herself acting as “cultural translator” and explaining Canadian communication norms.

When you connect with people from different cultures, whether in work, travel for pleasure, or in your daily life, you can use the Enneagram not only to understand their individual differences but to gain a better sense of the culture you’re interacting with. Listen to what people around you talk about. Notice the values and beliefs they take for granted. Each Enneagram type operates from a set of assumptions projected onto the world at large. Just like we expect others to share our personality-based motivations and way of seeing things, we also expect others to share the cultural viewpoint that we’re accustomed to. These things are so ingrained that we often don’t realize there are other worldviews out there that differ drastically from our own.

When you look at cultural and personal Enneagram types side by side, you’ll find that they don’t always match closely. A Type Eight, for instance, might find their strength and assertiveness valued in one culture, while they might have a harder time in a culture that values quiet and conformity. In what way is your dominant Enneagram type and Instinct similar or different to what your country’s culture values? Understanding how your type and culture work together adds nuance to an action plan to improve your communication with other people, and supports companies in doing international business productively and successfully.

Using the Enneagram also makes it easier to identify human similarities across cultures. Our colleagues in the Enneagram field have taught it to groups of Israelis and Palestinians who worked together, as well as South African teams different races and backgrounds, and found it to build cross-cultural bridges between people of the same Enneagram type. Often, two Sixes or two Ones who start a workshop thinking they have nothing in common discover that they share a set of values and behaviors that goes beyond their culture. Even “us vs. them” dynamics sometimes transform into “Me too!”s, and a new understanding is born.

The Enneagram is a useful tool for improving our communication, relationships, and self-awareness. Developing cultural competence through an Enneagram lens help us grow and develop these skills in an even more powerful way.