That’s right, it’s here, you know it, not just the World Cup, but also what we have called a ‘connection economy’, also known as a connective economy, people economy, an EQ-based economy or an emotion economy. We have known this for a few years now, but I wonder if we all know exactly what this actually means.

Very basically, we have evolved through the last say 100 years pushing through different economies. What this implies is how we classify our economy in terms of what is important when selling. Where our focus lies and what are our behavioural responses to that focus is when selling. I use the word selling in a broad sense here, because selling is not restricted to the sale of products or even services as you probably know, but rather, in my opinion, has expanded largely into the selling of concepts and abstracts.

Roughly speaking, our economies have morphed from focusing on commodities, to products, to services and most recently to experiences. The primary reason for this (and I am seriously simplifying a complex issue here) is competition. Due to the fact that ‘in the old days’ there was far less competition and far less choice available to the masses (who didn’t exist because they had no disposable income) there was far less need to be innovative, transformative and experimental in a) what you offered and b) how you offered it. The classic Henry Ford statement “you can have any colour car you want, as long as it’s black” sums up the idea that ‘in those days’ the focus of the sale was the product. With the rise in technology, and as we moved into the information age, the focus moved towards services. Product knowledge became more accessible and what gave companies the ‘edge’ was their ability to make things happen conveniently, accurately and quickly.

We have now moved into an era where the idea that you have a world-class product is a given, the idea that you offer a fantastic service is a given. But the question being asked is: can you offer a remarkable experience to your clients/ customers/ guests? Can you ensure that your clients/ customers/ guests are happy, and not just satisfied? Are the disciples of your organisation spreading the word about how fabulous you are because of the experience you were able to provide for them?

If not, it is seriously time to look at how to do things differently. One of the most precious commodities you have in being able to play in the connective economy is your staff, your employees, your talent. The connective economy requires that there is a fundamental shift away from seeing your staff as numbers, and rather seeing them as people, who all look at the world through different windows. Generation theory is one avenue which assists in easier communication (whether that’s communication within the company at whatever level, or communication with the outside world). Gender and cultural diversity are other ways. But one of the most extraordinary and profound ways that TomorrowTraining has discovered to assist people in really being able to communicate is the Enneagram.

The Enneagram is a classification system that divides people into one of 9 major personality groups based on certain generalised diagnostic characteristics of their persona. Individuals in any one of these personality groups will have numerous common characteristics. Because of this commonality, by identifying indicator personality traits and making generalised assumptions, one can extrapolate and predict what other characteristics a person may have. This results in a quick, practical, easy to use and remarkably accurate guide to personality profiling.

TomorrowTraining has recently implemented their most exciting course to date. Because we are living in an ‘emotional’ or ‘connection’ economy, our ability to build relationships with other people is almost more important than the knowledge and experience we bring to the table. Being able to understand, relate to, motivate and work effectively alongside others is imperative. The Enneagram is the most comprehensive, effectual and useful tool we know of to achieve this.

I shall end with a quote which, in my opinion, sums up the essence of what I am saying. Essentially it is imperative that you provide your clients/ customers/ guests with a happy experience. Providing your staff with soft skills that are practical, transferable, and versatile is a must. The world of business is changing and we must change along with it if we want to continue the game.

People with high EQ (emotional maturity) tend to be more successful, more flexible, better learners; and more desirable co-workers

Harvard Business Review, 2005

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