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Development | decision making

Life is the sum of all your choices. ~ Albert Camus

The Enneagram – and in particular, the Three Centers of Intelligence – can help us become wiser and more conscious decision makers in all aspects of our personal and professional lives. How we can do this is based on the idea that if we have open access to each Center and can use each Center of Intelligence – the Head, Heart and Body – in productive and integrated ways, our decision making becomes more powerful and effective. Here are the ways:

HEAD CENTER | objective analysis
Ones | Be careful not to let your positive or negative opinions about another person overshadow the objective data; don’t overthink your decisions.
Twos | Do not let your personal feelings for other people bias your decisions; strive to be objective.
Threes | Consider data, including feelings, that you may not have considered but that can help you make the best decision.
Fours | Don’t let your personal experiences and feelings bias your view of the facts; become more objective in your decision making.
Fives | Remember that logical analysis is not necessarily objective; logic can have its own bias, depending on the logic used.
Sixes | Slow down your analysis of the data related to a decision, particularly when you are anxious or notice that you are repeating the same thoughts.
Sevens | Make sure you really have all the data, not just the highlights.
Eights | Question your assumptions; ask the opinions of others; take in multiple viewpoints when making decisions.
Nines | Remember that you can collect too much data and then overanalyze a situation; this creates confusion about which information is the most relevant.

HEART CENTER | increased empathy
Ones | Consider both your own and other people’s feelings in depth.
Twos | Examine your motivation for needing to know exactly what others are thinking and feeling.
Threes | Spend time considering your own feelings and those of others; factor them into your decisions.
Fours | Examine your perceptions about what other people are feeling regarding issues and decisions; make sure you are not projecting your own emotional reactions onto others.
Fives | Learn to feel your own feelings in real time, not after the fact. This will enable you to read other people’s feelings more accurately and to use this information in decision making.
Sixes | Remain empathic even when someone’s behavior bothers, hurts, or angers you.
Sevens | Examine your feelings and read your internal cues; this will help you to read others’ body language.
Eights | Take the time to sense the feelings of other people, even when you don’t respect the individuals.
Nines | Make sure to maintain your empathy, even with people you perceive as negative and complaining.

BODY CENTER | taking effective action
Ones | Turn decision making into an art form; use just enough action to get the results you want.
Twos | Learn the art of timing so that you will know when to act, when to wait, and when to do nothing.
Threes | Work on making most of your decisions less quickly so that new insights have time to percolate.
Fours | Don’t let feelings immobilize you and prevent you from making a decision; action is one way to move through emotional reactions.
Fives | Make decisions in a timely manner, using information from your mind, heart, and gut.
Sixes | Make decisions that are good risks, not just exciting ones; take action using your gut as a way to bypass overanalysis.
Sevens | Slowing your pace will help you make wise decisions, not just decisions that intrigue or stimulate you.
Eights | Don’t rush into decisions; don‘t make overly complex decisions when a simple solution would work just as well.
Nines | Figure out why you procrastinate; err on the side of taking action too quickly rather than too slowly.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of six best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for 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 her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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