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Business-enneagram cases | 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 1 | an IT team
A 30-person team (an extended team comprised of about 7 managers and their team members, all of whom report to the same person)

Context | The head manager wanted to bring the Enneagram into his new organization; at a prior IT organization, he not only embraced the Enneagram, he volunteered to be part of a Train-the-Trainer cadre of managers I worked with to teach the Enneagram throughout their organization. But because this was his group, he didn’t want to be viewed as an advocate. His intention was to bring several development programs into his organization with the Enneagram being the foundation, and this was a trial run.

Content and process | After a robust morning on the Enneagram as a system and self-typing, we used Enneagram communication styles and then the Enneagram in conflict and relationships using the Pinch-Crunch model, which can be found in my book Bringing Out the Best in Yourself at Work (conflict chapter).

Result | Although participants said they enjoyed and benefitted from the program, my co-trainer (Matt Ahrens) and I felt we had worked really hard – in fact, much harder than normal – to make the program work. We also noted that it seemed to take participants much longer to determine their types. Taking a hard look at what we might have done to contribute to the program’s lesser success than we were used to, we came up with a few ideas and let it be.

Post-discussion with client | Several weeks after the program, we discussed the program, and he asked me to speak first. I was very honest, sharing what is described above. I also added that one of our reflections was that this team, for reasons unknown, was less experienced with self –awareness than other team with whom we had worked, but they were just as alert. Perhaps we didn’t lay enough of a foundation for them. The client laughed, said he had thought the program wasn’t as vital as others he had participated in or led, but then said he had sent out a post-survey to participants and was stunned by the results. Apparently they loved the program, thought it had tremendous benefit, and wanted more. There will be lots more!

Main themes | (1) it is essential to have an honest and respectful relationship with your client; (2) you can’t judge the effectiveness of programs by what you perceive in the moment, without really checking with participants at a time and place where they can reflect on their experience; (3) every group and team is different; (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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