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Business-enneagram cases | more teams

A request came from someone I don’t know from someplace I don’t know that well saying this: I would like to see more articles on your site “Enneagram in Business” on the application of “Enneagram in business.”

There is so much information on my site about the applications of the Enneagram, and there are case studies, too. If you go to this link https://theenneagraminbusiness.com/enneagram-resources/books-research-and-case-studies/, there are two research reports – one a 2011 Benchmark Report on best practices using the Enneagram in organizations across the globe – and two case studies, one of a long-term Enneagram-leadership project and the other on ethics and use of the Enneagram in several different cases.

That said, the person writing had a good point; more cases are needed! So I decided to write about several cases, starting with cases on team development and the Enneagram.

Team Cases | Case 2 | an environmental industry team
A senior leadership team of 7 experienced leaders, taking their innovative organization from a start-up, making it ready to be expand dramatically.

Context | The founder-leader of this organization had been exposed to the Enneagram from a professional association to which he belongs. Having typed himself as a 7, he wanted to bring the Enneagram to his team of leaders.
Note: after several phone calls with the leader prior to the session and upon experiencing his follow-through on several occasions, I doubted that he was a 7 and mentioned this to him. So sure was he that he was a 7 (partly because the person he had learned the Enneagram from told him so), I let it go, asking him simply to be open during the typing process with his team.

Content and process | After a late start due to weather and traffic, the morning was spent on Enneagram as a system and self-typing. Even though the team size was small, several of them had initial challenges identifying their types. Interestingly, because they had worked together intensely for several years, they spontaneously offered one another feedback on type, which was very useful for the typing process, but also simply as a form of useful feedback. In the afternoon, the focus was on leadership style as an outgrowth of Enneagram type, using the Enneagram Leadership tool and Enneagram Leadership Profiles, which are case studies of excellent leaders of each type. Using the leadership application really helped them further clarify their Enneagram type.

The remainder of the afternoon was supposed to be on the Enneagram, relationships and conflict using the Pinch-Crunch model, which can be found in my book Bringing Out the Best in Yourself at Work (conflict chapter), and related tools, but suddenly, there was a change of plans. The team had become so fascinated by the Enneagram as a predictor of a person’s character, they wanted to do a team application. Fortunately, I had a large Enneagram symbol on fabric with me, so each person placed his or her sticky dot on the symbol next to the type number.

What happened next was an explosive (in a good way) dialogue about how they worked together, what they need to do more of going forward, and how the Enneagram revealed all this.

Just as important was what they asked me at the end. They asked this: If there was one area for us to pursue or develop in using the Enneagram as a team, what would that be?

My response surprised them, when I said, “You’ll be surprised. Although there are few areas Enneagram-related, I think the biggest area is a theme. You put yourselves down as a team, demean yourselves at times, and this neither matches with your track record nor how I perceive you. I would really suggest you look hard at that, discover what is behind it, whether it serves you and, if not, how you might reform your team self-perception.”

Result | They were so taken with my reaction to their question, thought it was 100% accurate, and were able, in just a few minute’s time, to identify its cause and what to do about it. They were equally surprised that given the chance to “sell” more Enneagram work (even if true and useful), I chose to do what the consultant in me believed to be more true and more useful at that moment in time. As an aside, the founder-leader discovered that he was not a 7; he was a 3 and everything about him made more sense, both to him and to his team.

Post-discussion with client | A week after the program the client was even more excited by the session that at the very end of the program. Other team members were really starting to look at themselves, their team behavior, and the impact on the future of the organization. The Enneagram 3 leader was full of new self-awareness and great insights into how to better lead the organization. All of them wanted another session in 6 months.

Main themes | (1) it is essential to have an honest and respectful relationship with your client, whether the client is a new one or an old one; (2) a great program needs to stand the test of time, not just during the event itself and the only way to know this is to check-in with the client; (3) very senior team leaders sometimes have more of a challenge finding their type when they are among their peers, but my experience is that this is not true when they are among strangers, possibly because of not wanting to let their guard down among peers; (4) unless impossible, always plan a follow-up call after the program, as soon as a few days but no longer than three weeks.

Pricing | I am only mentioning pricing because it relates to the work and to the client-experience of price and value added. Decades ago (and before my work with the Enneagram and teams), I used to price team development projects at my daily rate when on-site and an hourly rate for work done in the office, taking my daily rate and dividing by 8 hours. Materials and travel would be added to this where relevant.

Since then and with so much more experience, I usually price these projects at a project rate that includes onsite, in-office and all materials. Sometimes travel is included (if predictable) and sometimes it is added on, but only when travel is hard to estimate. I estimate the project price based on my prior projects with similar requirements. If I spend less time, the client pays the project fee as is, if I spend more time because it is needed, the client still pays the same fee as long as the work is still within the scope of the original project.

With project-based pricing, the client doesn’t worry about how much time he or she spends on the front end setting up the project, and the post program discussion is built into the project rate. Some clients will balk at a post-project conversation because they don’t think the extra cost is worth what will be gained from the discussion. But when this type of closure conversation is built into the price (so there is no extra perceived cost), clients welcome the conversation, the consultant/trainer gets feedback that is often more useful than feedback right at the session’s end, distortions, misperceptions and concerns can get cleared up, and sometimes new work emerges!

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