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Diversity and the enneagram | an overview

Diversity-with-borderThere are multiple ways in which we are different as human beings; this is known as Diversity. We are different in completely unique ways such that no one is like us. We are also different depending on the social identity groups to which we belong and with which we identify. Some of these group-level differences are considered primary – that is, they matter more to us in terms of our self-definition or self-concept, but also in relation to how we are perceived by other people and within our societal context. In addition, these differences carry varying degrees of rank or privilege, and all of them intersect and interact with our Enneagram type.

The primary dimensions of diversity that are seen in the graphic – race, gender, sexual orientation, physical abilities, culture nationality, education, religion, socio-economic class – are the most important. There are also secondary dimensions of Diversity such as age, profession, military service, and more, but the importance of these will vary by culture.

In the 1990s, when I was doing a great deal of Diversity consulting with companies like TRW, HP, GE, and Apple, I was sometimes asked to bring “personality” into creating Diversity awareness as another dimension, but I always refused. The reason was simple; personality was more an individual characteristic and it was too easy for people to attribute issues of real Diversity – inclusion, bias, prejudice, discrimination – to simply a personality problem and ignore or dismiss the structural and systemic problems involved. But when I encountered the Enneagram in the mid-90s and discovered that this system went beyond the individual and added insight into how we manifest the most important dimensions of Diversity, I changed my mind. And as I worked in-depth with the Enneagram in organizations, I realized that our enneatype is actually one more, group level.

Which of the aspects of Diversity are primary or matter most in terms of yourself, others, and your societal context?
In terms of your own background, please rate each dimension’s importance: 1 (highly important); 2 (moderately important); or 3 (not very important).

List your primary (most important) Diversity identifications from above here:
How does your Enneagram style influence, interact, or intersect with these primary Diversity dimensions?

Each Diversity dimension also comes with varying degrees of rank or privilege. Often when our rank or privilege is higher, we are not as aware of this as we are when our rank or privilege is lower. How is rank or privilege determined? Often the level of privilege is socially determined or constructed and then enforced or reinforced through social institutions – organizations, laws, the media – but also through social norms, interactions, and mental models held by individuals and groups.
Please rate the amount of rank/privilege you have based on each Diversity dimension by placing a checkmark next to high, medium or low.

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