Many know the Enneagram as a personality system. Less well known is that the Enneagram can also serve as a change management framework independent of personality. I discovered this aspect of the Enneagram when I asked the simple question, why are numbers used to label Enneagram types. It turns out that the numbers are the order of a change management process! Here’s how it works…
Change Management Defined
Change management is the term used to describe the systematic approach to transforming an organization to solve structural problems and improve organizational performance. I developed the change management tools described in Teamwork 9.0 based on the dynamics associated with each Enneagram number, a change management process comprised of 9 steps.
Change Management Framework
Having a systematic change management process to lead your organization through challenging situations keeps your team focused on objectives and consistently moving towards resilient solutions. Here is a brief summary of the change management steps that I outline in chapter 2 of Teamwork 9.0:
Step 1 – Define the Problem and Set the Goal – Step 1 establishes the Big Why, the starting point of any transformative effort. Clearly define the problem by ensuring you include all stakeholders’ perspectives. The flip side of defining the problem is creating the vision for success—what will the world look like when your team reaches the goal and solves the problem. Step 1 creates purpose for your effort.
Step 2 – Identify All Stakeholders – The people who have any connection with the effort are the stakeholders. This is the Big Who. Who is suffering with the problem? Who will be affected by the solution? Who needs to help in the effort? As new stakeholders are brought into the fold, be sure and loop back to Step 1 and record their unique perspectives on the problem. Also, verify that new stakeholders are in alignment with the effort’s vision and goals.
Step 3 – Brainstorm Ideas – Listen to everyone’s ideas for how to solve the problem. Collect all ideas without prejudice. By creating a positive, inclusive environment, you will enhance your team’s creativity. Don’t discard any idea—keep them all! Out of these will emerge the team’s Big What.
Step 4 – Pick Positive Ideas – That idea’s great! That idea sucks! You will have some emotional reaction to each idea. In this step the team collectively ranks the ideas. The top few ideas serve as the Big What.
Step 5 – Analyze Ideas – Validate which promising ideas actually solve the problem. Perform cost-benefit and pro-con analysis. Prototype and validate ideas. Step 5 determines the Big How for your transformation.
Step 6 – Plan Path to Goal – Taking the best approaches from Step 5, build a plan around the most promising idea — Plan A — and keep a backup approach — Plan B. Consider what resources you will need and schedule a path that will get your team to the goal. Step 6 considers the timing of resource allocation — the Big When.
Step 7 – Get Buy-In – With the plan completed, it’s time to get stakeholder buy-in. In this step you present the plan and get the approval and the resources to start the project. Keeping stakeholders updated on progress in Steps 1 through 6 makes Step 7 buy-in easier by minimizing surprises.
Step 8 – Implement the Plan – Having stakeholder buy-in, you now get to action. Step 8 in the Enneagram change management process is the step in which you actually solve the problem! Up to this point it has been all talk. Now you execute the plan, achieve the goals and realize the vision!
Step 9 – Debrief and Harmonize the Solution – In Step 9, the team assesses how well they realized the vision and solved the problems. Here you assess the solution measured against the problem-goal statement from Step 1. Step 9 requires conversations with and feedback from all stakeholders. Here you ensure that the solutions are working well with everyone and becoming integrated and habituated within the organization. Inevitably, these conversations will uncover new issues which can take you back into Step 1, and that’s why the Enneagram-based process is a circle, a never-ending cycle of continuous improvement.
Change Management Models
There are a number of change management processes. When compared to the Teamwork 9.0 change management approach, I find that some systems will overemphasize some steps while skipping other steps entirely. For instance, the more analytical change management approaches may skip steps related to the emotional aspects of change management like Steps 2 and 4. Skipping these steps may slow or even prevent buy-in in Step 7. Another aspect of strictly analytical approaches is that they can become bogged down in detail—paralysis by analysis. Compare your current approach to the Teamwork 9.0 model and see how they differ. Such a comparison will give you insights into the efficacy of your approach. I share an number of such change management examples in chapter 8 of Teamwork 9.0.
People Plus Process Provides Purpose
Having a change management system that takes into account the distinct gifts of each team member keeps your problem solvers engaged and performing at their best. The Enneagram as a personality system describes nine personality dynamics each with a set of strengths. Since the Enneagram change management process dedicates one and only one step to each Enneagram type, this change management framework is arguably the most balanced approach from a humanistic point of view. The framework considers the strengths of all nine Enneagram human dynamics. Applying the strengths of your teammates to the process creates a powerful and purposeful team dynamic.
What change management tools have you used? Which work well? Which have stalled? How do those approaches compare to the Teamwork 9.0 approach?