Home | Blog | Blue ocean ethics for Enneagram professionals | Part 1

Blue ocean ethics for Enneagram professionals | Part 1

In 2005, Blue Ocean Strategy, written by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, changed the way organizations looked at strategy formulation and execution. Going beyond the multiple strategy scenarios approach that was popular at the time, Blue Ocean Strategy suggested that it was less important to plan against what might happen; it was more important for a company to plan for what it wanted to happen by operating in the Blue Ocean rather than the Red Ocean. In the Red Ocean, competitors are sharks to be overcome by almost any means at your disposal. Hence, the ocean turns red with blood-letting. In the Blue Ocean, companies operate in clear waters, deciding who they want to be and how they can add value to customers, both current and future, while also reducing their own cost.

Red Ocean Ethics: Individuals who use Red Ocean guidelines beat the competition using existing rules of competition and trading off between diversification (differentiation) of products, services, and cost.
Blue Ocean Ethics: Individuals who use Blue Ocean guidelines leverage untapped market space, expand existing industry boundaries, and/or move outside existing industry boundaries.

An Enneagram in Business Network (EIBN) requirement is that all network members adhere to Blue Ocean ethics in order to maintain integrity and build trust among one another and with clients. These ethical guidelines, which I adapted from Blue Ocean principles, include the accurate representation of background and services; respect for intellectual property; open information and idea sharing; fair pricing; honoring agreements; an abundance rather than scarcity orientation; and respect for clients, collaborators and competitors.

The translation of Blue Ocean guidelines from organizational use to individual practice has 10 areas; this blog reviews two of the 10, with later blogs covering the remaining eight areas.

Professional Self-Presentation
More often than I would hope or expect, I see and hear people say, write or imply that they have degrees that they do not. This also happens outside the Enneagram community, so why not here, too? Just because it is so common does not make it OK. A person calls themselves a psychologist, but they do not have a psychologist’s license. Perhaps they studied psychology, but this does not make them a psychologist. They say they have a masters’ degree, but they don’t.

Another example is someone claiming to have an organization on their client list, but they did only a very small project for this client or they were not the main trainer/consultant for the work. Or maybe they never worked in a paid capacity for that client at all. Once I had someone who worked as my in-office assistant who later claimed on her resume areas of expertise, past experience and a client list that were directly lifted from my bio. When I asked her about this, her response was this: “Well, I had exposure to all this, so I can claim this!”

Why do it?
Is this really worth it in terms of integrity? Do you forget you’ve misrepresented yourself or do you worry you’ll be found out? At some point, you will get discovered as having misrepresented yourself, either by clients, colleagues or both. And what happens if you actually get work that is beyond your capabilities. Then what?

Here’s the sad irony. While there are some professions where degrees matter, working with the Enneagram in professional contexts does not unless you are working as a psychologist with the Enneagram. So there is very little real reward in misleading or lying about credentials, expertise and experience, and there is a great potential downside.

Intellectual Property
This is a pervasive, serious issue, and there’s only one Blue Ocean way to approach this. ASK! If you are not sure, ask. If you are sure, you should still ask. We get exposed to a variety of information and concepts through programs we attend, reading and, of course, the internet. However, just because something is taught in a program, is available in a book, or available online, does not mean we can use it. And we certainly can’t use it and claim, implicitly or explicitly, that this is ours. Changing a few words on something does not change who owns the copyright.

Blue Ocean ethics say you should assume it is not yours to use until given permission by the creator of the work. Red Ocean ethics suggest you can claim whatever you want and even put your copyright on the work of another. In the Red Ocean, you don’t think about getting caught or you calculate your chances, then determine if the reward is worth the risk.

At the Enneagram in Business, almost everything we use is original and that which is not, we ask permission to use. I love the work of both Peter O’Hanrahan and Jerry Wagner, so if we want to use something from them, we ask. And when we ask, the answer is usually yes, but sometimes no. They have this right.

We find my materials – concepts, graphics and more – in many places, often unauthorized, although we spend no time looking for such things. But we usually hear about this from a 3rd party who thinks we should know, or we come across it from google alerts we receive on the topic, Enneagram. If it is a minor issue, we do nothing. If it is a major unauthorized use, we contact the person or organization with a professional and clear message: “We noticed that our….. appears on your….. Because this is copyright material, we ask that you…” (and here we ask that they take it down entirely or put out copyright on it and indicate that this is from The Enneagram in Business and include a link to our site). Occasionally, people are gracious about this misuse and apologize. More often, people get angry. They want to know how we found it and tell us that we are not being generous or sharing. This used to cause our eyebrows to raise in disbelief, but now we are used to it.

Why do it?
There are a variety of reasons: inexperience with copyrights; thinking that everything in writing anywhere, including graphics, is open source or should be; not having the experience or expertise to create their own work; taking a short cut; and/or believing they won’t get caught.

With graphics, however, there are many royalty free websites for use, where copyright is a non-issue. For example, Shutterstock has 61 royalty-free, Enneagram symbols. You can click here to see them: https://www.shutterstock.com/search/enneagram

Blue Ocean Summary
Let’s go big by expanding our Enneagram offerings based on our own work. Misrepresenting yourself or taking the work of others keeps us small.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit: TheEnneagramInBusiness.comginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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