“I have done all the tests,” he said to me, “and the Enneagram is by far the best I have ever done. It really has made a difference in my life. Would you please come and do it for my team”. So came the request that sees me once again presenting an Enneagram workshop- something I have done countless times in many countries. Every time that I get to present the Enneagram leaves me amazed yet again at how powerfully it resonates with those experiencing it for the first time and the impact it makes.
Today there is a growing understanding of the importance of leading ‘out of who you are’ – an understanding that leadership has more to do with ‘character’ than merely being a ‘skill-set’. There is a growing appreciation for the role that emotional intelligence plays in the leadership mix and it is in such circumstances that the Enneagram offers the ‘best’ solution. As you start to understand leadership in this light so the work leaders need to do in order to be ‘fit’ changes. If the world has changed, leadership needs to change. The world has changed! This is one reason why leadership development and leadership education have to shift. What has gone before is inadequate for the demands placed on leadership into the future. This is the reason that one of the finest business schools globally has invited us to share with them how best to incorporate the Enneagram into their executive leadership education curriculum. It is work we anticipate with relish as the uptake on incorporating the Enneagram will be profound.
The Enneagram is based on ancient wisdom that enables us to understand the personal compulsions that drive our behaviour. In effect the Enneagram invites deep personal exploration- a look ‘beneath the waves’ and therein sits the tremendous transformative power of this tool or framework. If we are to change, there has to be an appreciation for what underpins the surface behaviour and this is where the Enneagram offers insights like no other self-awareness tool. So many of the more familiar and popular tools used in this regard fail when taken across cultural and geographic borders. They hold up well in the West but fail dismally in the East. The Enneagram transcends such borders – something I know from personal experience having worked with the Enneagram with over 30 cultures spanning Asia, Africa, the Americas, Western Europe and Eastern Europe.
I guess this is sounding a bit like some sort of promotion for engaging with the Enneagram. Well, maybe it is! If as a leader, you are serious about leading better and knowing how to invite the best out of those you lead, then the Enneagram offers a powerful framework to do such work. It is a little like learning a new language in that it takes hard work and dedicated practice but, the more you use it, the better you’ll become at applying it! I have used the Enneagram not only in a leadership / personal development context but it also sits comfortably at the intersection of any personal relationship making it ideal for parenting, coaching, mentoring, sales and team building to name but a few areas.
In TomorrowToday we have often said that perhaps the only two frameworks one needs in order to understand people are Generational Theory and the Enneagram. Becoming fluent in these two ‘languages’ will go a long way to ensuring effective inter-personal relationships. In a world such as ours where connectivity and complexity dominate, finding such frameworks is vital for all leaders and organisations. Avoiding this demanding work will come at a cost and engaging in the development of emotional intelligence is simply not optional for 21st Century leadership.
As the Enneagram’s popularity spreads I do have one major concern. It is that in our haste to apply it as a quick fix within the impatient corporate environment, we erode the very integrity of what the Enneagram is. In the need to find short cuts and entry points into this ancient wisdom, we detract from the real value that the Enneagram offers. More and more is being written and said about the Enneagram, some of it good, some of it not so good – so we need to exercise a degree of caution as we look to translate the Enneagram into our work environments. However, the Enneagram is by far the most powerful tool I have come across when it comes to the work of leadership development and as such I commend it to you for further consideration.
Would I be happy to answer your questions or explore this further should you be curious? You bet! There is overwhelming testimony as to the power of the Enneagram and I would invite you, in the context of your leadership journey, to seriously consider an engagement with the Enneagram.
Let me know how TomorrowToday can help you in this regard.