Hear how we use the Enneagram to harness our superpowers. It allows us to understand and work with different personality styles and team dynamics, creating deeper connections.
THIS WEEK’S EPISODE IN A VERY LARGE NUTSHELL:
What’s your MO-- your mode of operation (duh) or default settings? The Enneagram is a powerful system for understanding and working with different personality styles and communications. It is kind of Myers Briggs-ish. Once you figure out your Enneagram type you’ll know your MO. It allows you to enhance your communication skills and thrive as the individual you are.
The Enneagram describes nine distinct personality types. Ennea is the Greek word for nine, gram means drawing. This creates a nine pointed circle. Yup, that’s right, circles can have points. F off middle school geometry teacher.
Here is a barebones outline of the different types:
Type 1: Perfectionist or reformer. They’re an idealist that tends to be rational, principled, and judicial.
Type 2: Giver or helper. This caregiving type are people pleasing, generous, empathetic, individuals that are motivated to make a difference.
Type 3: Performer or achiever. The success oriented, pragmatic person, highly motivated to succeed.
Type 4: Individualist or romantic. Expressive, emotional, creative individuals that expect others are committed to authenticity the way they are.
Type 5: Investigator or observer. A very cerebral personality, motivated by the quest for wisdom or knowledge. This type tends to be independent and observant.
Type 6: Loyal skeptic or troubleshooter. These people are responsible and loyal, they are motivated to plan for what could go wrong.
Type 7: Enthusiast or visionary. This type is adventurous, fun-loving, motivated to enjoy life and create. They are also very optimistic.
Type 8: Protector or challenger. Confrontation is no problem for 8s. They protect the underdog, and are powerful, self-confident, and assertive.
Type 9: Peacekeeper or mediator. Comes across as complacent, however this type is accepting, optimistic, and adaptive.
Do you feel like Neo in the Matrix as you read through these types? Can you picture a person that fits these descriptions perfectly as the numbers pop up? It’s okay, we won’t report you for being a cybercriminal if your answer is yes.
Shaun learned about the Enneagram while consulting in Australia. He heard people referring to each other as numbers and was like… WTF, I want a number! He really wanted to be a Type 7 or a Type 2, anddd then he was a 9 (but damn that’s fine!). He suddenly could see all of the parts he didn’t like about himself explained right before his eyes. It was a multimillion dollar business that he was working with, probs owned the rights to Nike in Australia, like they were a big deal, and they took the Enneagram seriously. Everybody’s cubicle had their Enneagram type displayed on the front. He immediately applied his Enneagram findings to his marriage. It allowed him and his wife to depersonalize their issues, allowing them to be side by side looking at life together. You can really see the chemistry between two personality cells, more than when you just look at an individual separately, this is something the Enneagram excels at. Shaun went off the deep end studying it on his own, “typing” all of his friends and family, and introduced it to friend and goodr CEO, Stephen Lease, over a hipster Airstream brunch. Thanks for the invite Shaun. Jeez.
Stephen is a Type 7. A huge thing for Type 7s is avoiding feelings or not showing up for emotions, this was eye opening for Stephen because he’s the king of “all gooding” things. Figuring out his type also made him realize why he liked GTD (you know, that productivity management system we love talking about) so much… because it allowed him to do all of the things!
The Enneagram defines you at your default state, but it’s possible that you’ve already grown through some of the checkpoints. Shaun (a calm, sweet, peacemaking, Type 9) used to have rage explosions, but through the Enneagram he’s learned to face that twist in his stomach before the hot lava spews everywhere. This system encourages you to approach things more directly, instead of letting them fester.
After Stephen learned his type he brought it to the leadership team at goodr, then the Flock Leaders, and the rest of the team. We had Shaun come to goodrSTOCK (our quarterly inspirational meeting slash celebration) and type everyone. We really do know how to party! Ultimately, the Enneagram helps you live a full life. If you play the rules, and talk to people the way they prefer, you can often get your way. For example, Co-founder Ben is a Type 5 and likes info ahead of time. That’s an easy shift for Type 7 Stephen who is capable of excitedly dumping ideas out from all over the place. Instead, he just needs to take the time to write out a plan. As a result, Ben won’t feel surprised, and Stephen is two steps closer to getting what he wants out of the conversation.
Additionally, knowing a type when delivering feedback is hugely beneficial. For example, an 8 can take stern feedback to the face. A 3 would respond better if you’re like, “moving forward, I need this…” By knowing the MO of different types you can eliminate arguments and get that beautiful sounding, “Yup, done,” response you were hoping for.
goodr has a pretty balanced personality type portfolio. It started with a lot of 7s and 9s, because Stephen and Keri were doing a lot of the hiring. It’s easy to hire someone like you!
The art and science of it is to get people to really think about their life. You truly are coming from a different perspective than the person next to you. Allowing people to see that perspective and own it, is a really cool process. A lot of people will want to be two types, but really it’s digging in and finding your core motivations. What is your default and baseline?
There are many benefits to using a personality typing system in a business setting. It helps everyone show up without feeling like they need to fit themselves into a mold. You can be unabashedly yourself. (Hmm... sounds like a company mantra we might have heard before?) Additionally, it allows you to leverage your natural strengths. Are you starting to see how the Enneagram can give you superpowers?!
One challenge is that it can be easy to use the Enneagram as a crutch. The idea is not to reinforce limitations. Our personality is all of the little limitations we’ve built for ourselves, this allows us to acknowledge that zone and break free of it. Another challenge would be if you pick a Type 7 but are actually a Type 4... you’re not going to get any of the growth practices from 7. Like anything where we’re telling ourselves a story that is not true, it’s not helpful.
Shaun is now Enneagram certified. AKA super official. There was a conference in San Francisco, with a month-long case study element. He was taught a bunch of tools on how to look across styles and also explored looking at how we can use it to build teams better. You can actually type a team. Stephen is excited to bring these learnings into practice at goodr.
Hardest thing to accept about being a Type 7? Telling people “no” and disappointing them.
Favorite thing about being your type? My vision, I can see a thousand moves in the future.
If you could change types, which type would you change to? Um, hello bro... 7 is the best type, soooo… but if we’re playing the game, probably a 1. Stephen gets along with 1s really, really well.
What has the Enneagram helped you with the most? For Stephen, showing up for his emotions, and for others learning how to play his cards to get what he wants.
Do you ever try to figure out what people’s types are outside of goodr? Oh all of the time.
How does knowing someone’s personality style change your relationship with them? It makes the relationship way more harmonious, you don’t take things as personally.
A funny personal story: Stephen was on a run with people at goodr, and he asked, “If you could choose what type you would date, what type would it be?” And Mountain (that's a dude that works at goodr, not the GOT character) answers, “SEVEN!” Immediately. Bromance? Maybe? 7s and 9s are super common pairings. Stephen has had three serious relationships and they have all been 9s… So he clearly has a type.
Be willing to take the uncomfortable truths the Enneagram is going to highlight and really look at them. It doesn’t put you in a box, although you might feel like it is. Instead, it’s helping you get out of the box.
1. Take a free or paid Enneagram test. *Please note: Tests aren't always the best way to find your type, it's more about which type resonates with you and hits the most uncomfortably close to home. They can help put you on the right track, but it's ultimately up to the individual to find the # that really fits. HERE ARE A BUNCH OF LINKS:
General type information:
Tests (free & paid):
2. Identify three blindspots that are holding you back that you recognize are not serving you.
3. Build a daily practice to face them directly.
Next episode we’ll be covering our three month onboarding process, until then, be excellent to each other.