Awareness to Action Events

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The Awareness to Action Enneagram series

Series of 6 online talks on Zoom about the wonders of the ATA approach in business

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The Awareness to Action Enneagram

Two Dimensions of the Enneagram
There are two dimensions of personality described by the Enneagram. The first is our inherent system of instinctual values—what we habitually focus our attention on and what is important to us. The second dimension is the strategies we use to satisfy those values. In other words, the Enneagram helps us understand what is important to people and how they go about getting those things that are important to them.
A Model of Personality
People with all sorts of personalities can be successful at work. There are successful introverts and successful extroverts, successful optimists and successful pessimists. Our personality style doesn’t determine our success, but while it is often the source of many of our strengths, it can create blind spots and obstacles that can hold us back.
The Enneagram
“Enneagram” literally refers to a diagram with nine intersecting lines creating nine points enclosed in a circle (“ennea” is Greek for nine, “gram” for drawing). This diagram is used to represent nine personality styles and the interrelationships among those styles.
The Value of the Enneagram
The value of personality models is that they give us a framework for leveraging strengths and more-quickly recognizing blind spots and obstacles. A good model can also provide us with roadmaps for overcoming those blind spots and obstacles. No model of personality styles does those things better than the Enneagram.
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Dimension 1 - The Three Instinctual Biases

Dimension 1 of the Enneagram personality model is the three instinctual biases. The instinctual biases are deeply ingrained tendencies to find certain aspects of life more important than others and to focus our attention accordingly. These instinctual concerns fall into three broad domains. We all pay some attention to each of these domains, but we tend to focus on them unequally and we are biased toward one of the domains noticeably more than the others. 

What we value influences what we focus on at work. These instinctual biases have a dramatic effect on how we interact with coworkers, how we lead, how teams function, and more. People of different instinctual biases will focus on different tasks and objectives and we are often surprised when people place their priorities somewhere other than where we do. Such value discrepancies often a significant source of miscommunication and conflict in the workplace. Understanding the influence of the instinctual biases can help us reduce them.

Dimension 2 - The Nine Strategies

There are nine distinct adaptive strategies for satisfying our instinctual concerns (again, the “Ennea” in “Enneagram” means nine). The strategies are consistent patterns of feeling, thinking, and doing that influence our interactions with the world around us (and the people in it). As with the instinctual domains, we use each of the nine strategies to a greater or lesser degree, but we use one of them more than the others. Because of the habitual overuse, we call this the “preferred” strategy. 

What we value influences what we focus on at work. These instinctual biases have a dramatic effect on how we interact with coworkers, how we lead, how teams function, and more. People of different instinctual biases will focus on different tasks and objectives and we are often surprised when people place their priorities somewhere other than where we do. Such value discrepancies often a significant source of miscommunication and conflict in the workplace. Understanding the influence of the instinctual biases can help us reduce them.

When we combine the instinctual biases with the preferred strategies we get three distinct versions of each Ennea-type. For example, an Ennea-type Three has a preferred strategy of “striving to feel outstanding,” but a “Preserving Three” will non-consciously emphasize feeling outstanding in the preserving domain while a “Navigating Three” will emphasize feeling outstanding in the navigating domain.

It might seem simple, but understanding both dimensions provides profound insights into our own fundamental motivations and tendencies and those of the people we work with.

Because of its combination of simplicity and depth, the Enneagram is at the heart of many of our programs at Awareness to Action International.