The Enneagram in Business

The Enneagram is all about improvement and uses levels of health and talks of stripping away the “Veil of Illusion” to see things as they really are which has Enneagram Symbolconsequential significant improvement on awareness and interpersonal interaction at work. 

As a Manager what would one give for ones team to have improved communication, conflict management and collaboration skills?

As a Leader in an organisation what is it worth personally to have a greater self confidence, self control and influencing skills?

As a team member how much better if you and your team mates understand one another better, are aware of each others moods and how to react to them and can build bonds better with one another. How much time is saved getting the team from forming to performing – this time could be reduced using the Enneagram training and even by applying it to build the team in the first instance.

Recent improvements in understanding of motivation and empowerment also indicate benefits to the Organisation of a workforce with a balanced lifestyle – where the elements of their personal life are operating in tandem. This alone has a positive impact on ones work performance. This is especially true over the medium to longer term and a good balance prevents burnout, stress and improves absenteeism and retention.

The Enneagram is seen by some as being a bit “West Coast” (US) and it suffers from credibility in terms of “pop” psychology. Further when introduced for the first time to the individual it can create a negative response related to fear of being labelled (and fear of change). Credibility is also hampered by some of the spiritual language used by some of its teachers – and while this is not of any particular doctrine – I have spoken to many to whom it was off-putting. However the Enneagram is gaining ground world wide and is used in some of the biggest companies in the world. It is also taught in Stanford and Harvard.

A difficulty with teaching the Enneagram surrounds the practicality of the typing process. The interviewees who describe the “Oral Tradition” training method talk about the feeling of trust, the time taken to properly understand, the honesty of the panel members etc. Delivering this in a business format can prove problematic given the time restraints and the competitive nature (and sometimes negative nature) of the Organisational environment. However the opportunity does exist to deliver a more structured and formal approach more suitable for business – one which I have been working with recently.

The value of the Enneagram is somewhat intertwined with its complexity and the revealing nature over time of the training. Value is described in revisiting it and renewing it. My own experience shows a direct correlation between its impact, time spent and the application.

However it was seen that taken as a short term course where the training is “bought into” by the trainees the Enneagram training has a significant influence. I have spoken to many people who were introduced to the course this way speak of the immediate benefits and recommend it highly.

The Enneagram can improve ones outlook so much so that many who were introduced to the course through work continue its study on a personal basis. I  have seen that employees often continue Enneagram courses on a personal basis after being introduced to the Enneagram at work and this begs the question why do their Organisations not provide a further program of training over a number of years given the benefits and the feedback they must be getting from their employees who benefit from the inherent focus on growth. 

Its a different way of training but then aren’t we supposed  to be embracing difference for competitive advantage?

Aidan Higgins

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