Think of a song. Any song.
Now imagine I asked you to tell me how that song went only using finger tapping to communicate? You'd tap away in endless frustration while I fail miserably to pinpoint the melody.
How could it be so difficult for me, and yet, so blatantly obvious to you? Context, my friend.
In your mind, you have the lyrics, rhythm, pitch, tones and every other aspect of music that orchestrates the fuller context of the song. All I am left with is the dull sound of your fingers tapping in random patterns on a table.
That's what it's like trying to communicate to our coworkers when they have no insight into how we function and why we function the way we do. All they can see is the "finger tapping." It's no wonder why communication in business can be so broken.
Luckily, there's hope — the Enneagram.
- What Is the Enneagram?
- What Is the Purpose?
- Why Use It in Business?
- How It’s Helped Our Team
- How to Use the Enneagram to Win in Business
What Is the Enneagram?
In ten words, the Enneagram is an emotional intelligence and personality types test.
The test is designed to help you gain self-awareness and give you insight into how to achieve your full potential, both in your professional and personal life.
The Enneagram system lays out nine types of personality descriptions that explain the patterns of thinking that structure our behavior. After a series of thought-provoking questions, you are given the Enneagram type that fits you best. Each Enneagram style has a thorough map of the strengths, weaknesses and practical actions intended to understand ourselves and those around us better.
What Is the Purpose?
You can invest hundreds and thousands of dollars into leadership development training for your company, but if you and your team lack self-awareness, consider that money wasted.
The Enneagram is a powerful tool designed to help you create healthier relationships through a deeper understanding of how you are wired.
By asking detailed questions about your behaviors, the test results give you a closer look at what drives those patterns of action.
Why Use It in Business?
It's safe to say that all business leaders want to increase employee engagement and positively impact the bottom line. Well, the applications of the test fittingly extend to using the Enneagram for business. By increasing the level of self-awareness of your team, you'll be able to avoid blind spots that may have previously caused conflict and slowed productivity.
There Is an “I” in Team
We've all heard it since we were kids — "there is no 'I' in team." Although this catchphrase might be effective in teaching little leaguer's about teamwork and camaraderie, it distracts from the truth that every organization is comprised of unique individuals.
All of your coworkers are different. They all have different values, approaches, ideologies and methodologies. Some may be similar to yours, and some may be worlds apart. This is a good and healthy thing, as long as companies take the proper steps in understanding and valuing these different personality types.
The Importance of Aligning Values
If you're not aware of your own values and how they impact your work, how can you expect your employees to be?
Through encouraging introspection, the Enneagram plays a crucial role in organization development. When individuals understand the way they think, act and feel under a variety of circumstances, it will positively impact the way they engage with those around them and increase their productivity.
How It’s Helped Our Team
You better believe we drink the Enneagram Kool-Aid.
For the Lone Fir crew, it has set in motion a culture of understanding one another, positively leveraging our diverse skills, and approaching work more efficiently and creatively.
Primarily, the Enneagram has enabled our team members to know what's in their wheelhouse and how to yield those powers so that they thrive — and as a result, so does our business.
Not only has it guided strengths, but it also sheds light on "warning signs" to be mindful of when they're moving in a direction that is destructive to their well-being.
For example, I learned that as a "two with a three wing," I am thriving when I strike a balance of productivity but also pushing to be creative and think outside the box.
Knowing Thy Team
If your team members gain self-awareness, that alone will put you in a position to win. But here at Lone Fir, we wanted to take that even further.
We've developed an internal document for each team member known as their "Member User Manual." It's just like how the user manual for your coffee maker tells you how to care for it and understand how it functions best, except for humans.
So, in addition to getting to know each other over time, we have a document that helps us better understand how to interact with different team members, e.g., how to provide feedback, communication preferences, etc.
For example, take a few words from our Lead Strategist:
“I’m a 'three' on the Enneagram, and one of our project managers is a hard 'one.' Knowing that helps me understand how to best set her up for success on a project. For instance, I need to tame my “just get it done” mentality, and instead, provide her with thorough detail on what needs to be accomplished and a clear definition of what a successful project looks like.”
How to Use the Enneagram to Win in Business
Just taking a wild guess here, but I'm assuming if you clicked on this article, you want to know how you can leverage the Enneagram to develop effective teams and grow your business.
Below are a few resources and ways that we incorporate it into our culture.
The Test We Use
At Lone Fir, we use The Wagner Enneagram Personality Style Scales (WEPSS). We like it because the results are extensive and insightful. For example, you'll see the "style" that you likely move toward when you're stressed, as well as when you're relaxed. This helps create self-awareness and leads to a better understanding of how to react in a variety of environments.
After you get the results, another great resource is the Enneagram Type Combinations document developed by the Enneagram Institute. It helps provide an understanding of how different styles or types are likely to interact with each other, both positively and negatively.
(Note: the language is directed toward couples, so you may notice some "intimate" vocabulary.)
Training We Take
Because emotional intelligence is crucial to success in business, BMSU includes a course called Enneagram Made Simple. It will guide you further on how to leverage the Enneagram to build a healthy team and thriving business.
Books We Read
When we wanted a firmer grasp on how to utilize the Enneagram to create self-awareness, there’s one book we turned to — The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery. This best-seller, authored by Enneagram expert Ian Morgan Cron, challenges you to dive deeper into who you are, how you’re wired and how understanding that will change your life for the better.
Meet the Team
I feel it would be an injustice to you if I didn't introduce the amazing guys and gals that I have the privilege of working alongside.
Meet the incredible individuals that make up the Lone Fir Creative crew!
And if you're reading this thinking, "That sounds like the type of team I want growing my company," just schedule some time to talk with us. We’d love to help you get the results you've been looking for.