The Enneagram Personality System goes well beyond profiling a person’s behavioral styles. It is practiced in organizations to gain deeper self-awareness, to understand colleagues better, to communicate more effectively, to build stronger relationships and to improve decision-making and strategic choices. We use the term “practice” to accurately imply the value of the Enneagram system. It is best used as a map of transformation – a guide to moving an organization and its constituents toward their potential, toward their sustainable best.
The Enneagram and Potential
Most organizations have, at least, a broad interest in the personality styles of its managers and employees. They use various personality-profiling tools to classify individuals based on behavioral tendencies. Once categorized, individuals may use this information to help communicate with others and to be aware of their own tendencies.
The Enneagram system is different. Yes, it can be used to profile and classify individuals for the same purposes described above. However, that reflects the most basest form of its use. We use the Enneagram to uncover/discover one’s hidden automatic drivers – the motivations underneath what we do. The Enneagram reveals why we do the things we do, why we we think what we think, why we communicate the way we do, and even why we have the feelings we have. Together, these motivators reveal a map of where we are and guide us toward who we can become – our potential.
While a typical personality profiler provides an indication of our behaviors, the Enneagram helps uncover our own potential and what holds us back. And, through the Enneagram perspective, the teams within the organization and the entire organization can better identify its potential and how to get there.
The Enneagram and Leadership
The fundamental mission of leaders is to create movement toward potential. In our view, there are three necessary conditions to sustain a persistent movement toward the organization’s potential: Aspiration, inspiration, perspiration.
An organization’s aspirations are often stated as specific, measurable goals. Here, we are referring to the greater aspirations of an organization: a vision of what potential looks like. To motivate individuals, and truly engage them, demands a purpose and vision of their individual and collective potential. A powerful leader generates a vision and translates the vision in a meaningful way to his/her stakeholders. This cannot be a “one-explanation fits all” approach to motivating people. Each of us is motivated in different ways. To authentically connect with another, we need to understand ourselves and understand others. The Enneagram system helps identify what motivates individuals according to their core drivers.
Inspiration, or lack thereof, explains the level of employee (and leader) engagement in an organization. Inspiration is the internalizing of a spirited approach to our endeavors. It is the big, uppercase WHY of what we do. Having an aspiration that provides individual meaning inspires people to work hard and to be engaged in their work. The Enneagram system helps explain how we interpret purpose and what inspires each of us – and it identifies our personal barriers to being inspired.
Our corporate cultures reward hard work more than they reward engaged work.
To sustain movement toward potential and away from mediocrity, a personally meaningful aspiration generates inspiration which creates inspired perspiration. When we have inspired workforces (with inspired leaders), we have innovation and evolution.