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How We Put The Enneagram To Work In Our Company

May 7, 2020

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How We Put The Enneagram To Work In Our Company

The Enneagram is a personality assessment tool individuals and businesses can use to promote development.

Like the Myers Briggs, Disc assessment and others, it helps you understand why you do the things you do and learn to accept how others function. 

But we like to think of the Enneagram as a personality assessment on steroids. It’s super robust and useful, and below, we’ll walk you through how we used it at Flight Media to work better as a team, and as a result, better serve our clients.

 

 

What Is The Enneagram?

According to Truity, “The Enneagram is a system of personality typing that describes patterns in how people conceptualize the world and manage their emotions. The Enneagram model describes nine different personality types and maps each of these types on a nine-pointed diagram which helps to illustrate how the types relate to one another.”

enneagram diagram

The nine types include:

  • Type 1: The Perfectionist
  • Type 2: The Giver
  • Type 3: The Performer/Achiever
  • Type 4: The Romantic/Individualist
  • Type 5: The Observer/Investigator
  • Type 6: The Loyalist
  • Type 7: The Epicure/Enthusiast
  • Type 8: The Protector/Challenger
  • Type 9: The Mediator/Peacemaker

It’s important to take a full assessment and read up on the topic if you want to get an accurate representation of your type. While free online tests are useful, they only provide a glimpse into your Enneagram potential.

 

 

How To Use The Enneagram At Work

We grew interested in how the Enneagram assessment could help our team perform better. Our team took the full test and we brought in a local consultant, who helped us gain a foundational understanding of each type.

We were hopeful that our team would experience similar outcomes reported by other teams who went through the learning process. 

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For example, The Enneagram At Work reports that:

“By viewing people as living systems rather than static and unchanging, the Enneagram brings intelligence and resources to the professional development of individuals and their participation as team members. 

The Enneagram helps us to appreciate diversity – each type has something important and unique to bring to work. Understanding the nine styles at work helps to engage each person's motivation to bring their full enthusiasm, their most brilliant thinking and creativity to achieving goals. Additionally, it supports people to commit themselves to a process of constant challenge and development.”

Amy Poehler and Adam Scott

After the session with the consultant, we identified a point person within our team to act as the implementer for the Enneagram. She created a plan to follow up and further implement learning and collaboration based on several Enneagram resources, including these:

  • This blog does a great job of describing how each Enneagram type works in a team, their blind spots and their strengths. We included this resource in a weekly Enneagram follow up email, which was required reading for our team. Every week, we’d focus on a “type” to really let the information solidify in the minds of our team members, which then transferred into their thought process and actions.
  • The Enneagram in Business is another terrific resource for implementing the Enneagram at work. The site covers business applications for coaching, communication, conflict, decision making, giving and receiving feedback, interactions, leadership, teams and sales. 

By releasing tidbits of information weekly to our team, we saw people’s awareness of their own motivations and actions come to the surface, and much more thought went into how we act and how our actions impact teams. 

people having thoughts

As a result of the Enneagram training and follow up, we are much more aware of how our own motivations inform our behaviors and we have greater empathy and appreciation for our team members – and we’re functioning more productively and effectively.

conflict and the enneagram

What Our Team Has To Say About The Enneagram Experience

We’re closing in on one year of creating an environment based on the Enneagram to understand our motivations, handle conflict better, and function effectively as a team

Here’s some of the feedback our team has about the experience thus far.

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Andi Soergel, Copywriter

  1. What were your thoughts about the Enneagram after the initial training?

My initial thoughts were, "This is kind of interesting, but also just a fad until the next personality thing comes along."

   2.  What do you think about it now? Has your perception or appreciation of it changed?

The fact that it nailed my personality in so many ways has changed my perception. I can give it a little more credence now than I did in my initial assessment.

   3.  What did you learn that surprised you the most?

Just the fact that I'm a "type." You feel very much like your personality is your own – and it is – but, seeing it all laid out and knowing there are other people who have the same combination of characteristics is interesting.

   4.  How do you use the Enneagram information in your day to day life at work? How has it helped you grow or develop in your job/career?

Honestly, though I have done the reading that you've asked of us every week or so, I don't really think about it. But now I will be more intentional because I do know it's important to have a good working relationship with my co-workers and understanding them better is the best way to do that.

The other aspect of this is that it's difficult to remember who is what type and to keep in mind all the different ways to interact with each person. I think it's hard to recall that information in the moment. 

   5.  How has it helped you work better in a team, resolve any conflicts, better understand a coworker, etc.? 

I understand why Josh P. doesn't like to join in group activities, now. ;)

   6.  What do you not understand about the Enneagram or your specific type?

I have a fairly good understanding of it. Putting it into action is the harder part.  As far as my specific type, I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I HAVE a specific type. Lol. Seriously, though, using the information is what's important and I have not been very mindful of doing that. Yet.

   7.  How do you plan on using information about your own type or others that you work with in the future?

I need to be more intentional about thinking about each person as we review the types in the reading you give us. I think that may be a strategy to help me have better recall.

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Lourdes Alvarez, Marketing Intern

  1. What were your thoughts about the Enneagram after the initial training?

After the training, I was sort of interested but still not super excited about it. I saw how it could help certain people better communicate with each other, but I still didn't think it was this big solution for every problem. 

   2.  What do you think about it now? Has your perception or appreciation of it changed?

Nope, I have the same view. But I am willing to participate for the sake of the company.

   3. What did you learn that surprised you the most?

How many 2's we have in the office!

   4.  How do you use the Enneagram information in your day to day life at work? How has it helped you grow or develop in your job/career?

If I'm being honest, I don't really remember what the types are except my own numbers. Therefore, I don't usually use the enneagram daily. I can think of ways it could potentially be useful in certain situations, though!

   5.  How has it helped you work better in a team, resolve any conflicts, better understand a coworker, etc.? 

I definitely slow down and try to understand where people are coming from more, because of the Enneagram. It can help to know how that person works and why they are going about a task the way they are. 

   6.  How do you plan on using information about your own type or others that you work with in the future?

As for my own type, I think it can help me be aware of how I do or say things. This way I can better communicate with my team members.

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Kelsey Coffy, Office Coordinator

  1. What were your thoughts about the Enneagram after the initial training?

First thought: WOAH. Second thought: WHAT? Third thought: That explains so much of my upbringing and why I have the challenges that I do in my adulthood.

   2.  What do you think about it now? Has your perception or appreciation of it changed?

The Enneagram graphics I see floating around on social media make a lot more sense and it helps my brain process why I do certain things.

   3.  What did you learn that surprised you the most?

It amazed me how different [my husband] and I were, and the pain points of where we clash was really interesting to figure out how to communicate better.

   4.  How do you use the Enneagram information in your day to day life at work? How has it helped you grow or develop in your job/career?

Just realizing my limits and keeping my emotional health in check has been really helpful. I tend to take on other’s emotions and stresses so finding that balance has been helpful.

   5.  How has it helped you work better in a team, resolve any conflicts, better understand a coworker, etc.?

It helps to learn how to best communicate with a team member. For example, you wouldn't want to tell a 2 or a 6, "Hey can you come into my office real quick?", without any context. Learning that was really helpful in explaining how it affects me to other people in the office and personal relationships.

   6.  What do you not understand about the Enneagram or your specific type?

Why am I so sensitive?!

   7.  How do you plan on using information about your own type or others that you work with in the future?

Continuing to grow in being a "healthier" version of my Enneagram number and having a more open mind when communicating with less "sensitive" people and not taking it personally.

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Josh Pheneger, Business Developer

  1. What were your thoughts about the Enneagram after the initial training?

I was very excited and fascinated to be learning more about a resource that helps explain human behavior. And now that I know all the numbers of the people I work with, I feel like I don't need to invest the time to get to know them – because I already know everything I need to. (wink, wink)

   2.  What do you think about it now? Has your perception or appreciation of it changed?

I think that it is very cool to have the context of the personality traits you see every day with the people you spend the most time with. My appreciation of it has grown, because it appears to be a limitless resource of new information.

   3.  What did you learn that surprised you the most?

That I am an emotional individualist who is afraid of disrupting the peace.

   4.  How do you use the Enneagram information in your day to day life at work? How has it helped you grow or develop in your job/career?

I use the Enneagram to understand how my colleagues are processing information and what they need when they are confused or struggling with something. I use it to assess when I am overreacting or struggling with something so that I can acknowledge the reality of the situation, compared to the story I have created in my head. It helps my interpersonal and intrapersonal skills a lot, so I have improved my people skills.

   5.  How has it helped you work better in a team, resolve any conflicts, better understand a coworker, etc.?

It helps me understand the drives of my colleagues and what they need to feel valued.

   6.  What do you not understand about the Enneagram or your specific type?

How to assess a person's primary strategy and how to evolve the strategies that are no longer serving me.

   7.  How do you plan on using information about your own type or others that you work with in the future?

How to better deal with my initial responses to situations and how to not let my emotions drive everything. Also, how not to be a pushover.

Final Thoughts

If you’re ready for your team to be more collaborative and productive, you can build your dream team by using the Enneagram.

 

 

Get inspired from the ways we implemented it above, or come up with your own!

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