The Enneagram Leadership Interview series continues! In this episode, insurance professional and entrepreneur, Jan Berthold, shares how she used the Enneagram with her team to build an award-winning insurance firm.
I really enjoy Jan’s story of how she used the Enneagram with a coach to understand and manage Type A behaviors associated with Enneagram Type 3. I also appreciated her story about a relationship she developed at work with an Enneagram Type 2 and how complementary the Type 2/Type 3 relationship can be.
Matt Schlegel: Thanks for joining me today in conversations with leaders who are using the Enneagram as a leadership tool and a tool for personal growth and development. Today, I’m speaking with Jan Berthold. Jan is an author and an insurance professional who started an insurance brokerage firm from scratch and won numerous awards. She tells a great story of an Enneagram Type 3 becoming self-aware. Now, for our conversation.
I’m delighted to be speaking today with Jan Berthold. Jan is an author and her most recent work is The 80/20 CFO: The Guide to Making Strategic Transformation in Your Company. Jan is an insurance professional with Heffernan Insurance Brokers. Before that, she started an insurance brokerage firm from scratch. It was recognized by The Business Journal as one of the fastest-growing companies in Santa Clara County for 8 years, as well as being listed as one of the top 10 women-owned businesses and top privately-held companies for nine years. Jan also serves on the Board of Fellows for Santa Clara University and Jan is very familiar with the Enneagram and I’m eager to learn more how she’s used this powerful system as a leadership tool. Jan, thank you so much for joining me today.
Jan Berthold: Thank you, Matt.
Matt Schlegel: I just want to start off and I’d like you to share with the audience, how and when did you first discover the Enneagram?
Jan Berthold: Well, I was in a Type A modification class for probably 15 years. I wanted to be more Type B. I thought I was way out of control and I just didn’t want to be that way for my family and my kids and model that, so the instructor or the moderator for my Type A modification group was Dr. Jenna Price. It just turned out that Dr. Jenna Price partnered with Dr. Milton Friedman, who wrote the book Type A Behavior and Your Heart. She was an Enneagram expert and she took his book and her knowledge of the Enneagram and merged them into a whole practice. That was amazing, how she showed how people had Type A behavior and how it related to the Enneagram.
Then she wrote a book called The Enneagram and Type A Behavior, I believe it is. She has since passed away and I tried to find the book and I couldn’t even find it on Amazon. I was hoping I could show you a copy of it because it was an amazing book, the way she correlated the Enneagram with the pitfalls of Type A behavior and it just added so much depth and richness to the whole experience to be able to bring that Enneagram in. Of course, she knew every single person, it was an all women’s group and there were like 14 of us and she knew every single one of us, what our buttons were, what our pitfalls were. She was incredible. She was brilliant.
Matt Schlegel: Yeah.
Jan Berthold: That’s my experience with the Enneagram.
Matt Schlegel: That is fascinating, looking at type a behaviors through the lens of the Enneagram and how each one of the types can come out and express that Type A behavior. Oh.
Jan Berthold: Yeah.
Matt Schlegel: Yeah. Well, if you do find that book, let me know because I definitely want to read that.
Jan Berthold: I know. I know. I can’t find it anywhere.
Matt Schlegel: Yeah, so as you were going through that process, what did you discover about yourself that you may not have known or appreciated before?
Jan Berthold: Well, again, she nailed it and the Enneagram nailed it. Basically, I’m a performer and I always had this feeling in myself that I’m not good enough just the way I am, that I have to perform, and I could see that when I was growing up. I always had to get the best grades, I always had to be the smartest, I always had to be the best. It’s like I had this inner hole inside of me that I just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t good enough for me just to be here. I had to perform and then I was also the oldest of five children and so that all played into it. That’s what I learned.
Matt Schlegel: Wow. Wow. What Enneagram type did you land on as you went through that process?
Jan Berthold: Well, the performer is the one.
Matt Schlegel: That’s Type 8, is that-
Jan Berthold: Yeah, I think it’s 8, yeah.
Matt Schlegel: … Okay.
Jan Berthold: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Then I also had a little bit of the perfectionist, which of course feeds into it. I probably need to go back and refresh my memory, but that’s what I remember.
Matt Schlegel: Got it, got it. Yeah, a lot of those Type A behaviors, there’s a lot of overlap between Type 3 and Type 8 and performer, that’s a little bit of a ambiguous word, too. The 8 is often called the “asserter” and the 3 is the “achiever.” The performer, where does that land? It’s interesting what words we use to describe the different types, but you’re pretty confident that you landed on the Type 8 behavior?
Jan Berthold: But maybe it was the achiever. I mean, “achiever” sounds more like the performer to me, always this relentless need to perform to achieve, to be better, to be better tomorrow than I was yesterday. I still have that, you know?
Matt Schlegel: Oh, right, right.
Jan Berthold: Yeah.
Matt Schlegel: Yeah, so maybe you’re actually the Type 3, that achiever that has that relentless drive to success.
Jan Berthold: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right, yeah. That’s exactly it.
Matt Schlegel: Yeah, yeah. Now, as a leader, you brought the Enneagram into the workspace. How did you use the Enneagram with your team?
Jan Berthold: Okay, so when I owned my company, I did the Enneagram on everyone in the company. It was so interesting because I had one person who was like my right-hand person. She totally ran the back office. She was like a superwoman and she was the giver and it was really enlightening for her and for me to nail that down and she could see how she would give, give, give, give, give, and then she’d get resentful. Something would trigger, somebody didn’t appreciate it, whatever, and it was like that. This is something that she learned and I learned and so that helped.
Then we had another person who was… The 3 of us were really leading the agency. She was a total off-the-wall, I mean, total perfectionist, and so in retrospect, we put her in charge of some things that probably didn’t make sense because of her perfectionism. Her standards were so high for everyone and it made her frustrated and it made us frustrated, so in retrospect, I probably should have not made her in charge of all of our procedures and making sure that everybody toed the line, but those are things you learn in retrospect.
Matt Schlegel: Right, right, because she’ll take that to heart and make sure-
Jan Berthold: Oh, man, did she ever? Yeah.
Matt Schlegel: … I can only imagine.
Jan Berthold: Yeah, so we needed you, Matt Schlegel, back then to… We needed your team Teamwork 9.0 book, but it didn’t exist back then.
Matt Schlegel: Yeah. Well, and the Enneagram in general, it’s such a great tool for, one, helping us understand these dynamics, but then giving us a vocabulary to talk about it with our teammates, right?
Jan Berthold: Yeah, exactly.
Matt Schlegel: Because now, we have a common language that we can work through these things, and it’s no longer so personal. It comes more of this, “Oh, yeah. This is my main dynamic and this is what I’m doing.” You can talk about it a little more objectively.
Jan Berthold: Yeah.
Matt Schlegel: The other thing that you mentioned, too, it sounds like that the giver is the Type Two.
Jan Berthold: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Matt Schlegel: It’s really common for Type Twos and Type 3s to team up and work together because they’re very complementary, whereas the 3 is just so focused on getting stuff done and achieving and sometimes you can lose track of essentially what people are feeling in the environment, whereas the giver, the Type Two, is really tuned into that.
Jan Berthold: Yeah, she was.
Matt Schlegel: Yeah, and then she could give you some feedback on, “Hey, let’s take care of this or that,” which if it has something to do with feelings, it might be in your blind spot where it’s a bright red flag to her, and by teaming up, you can really complement each other and make sure that everybody is taken care of not only getting the job done but their emotional needs are also being taken care of as well, which can be very important.
Jan Berthold: Yeah. That’s totally true and that’s exactly how it played out.
Matt Schlegel: Right, right. Yeah, I mean, that’s great that you were able to use the Enneagram to come to those conclusions and then just develop even a stronger bond together. Yeah, yeah.
Jan Berthold: Yeah, we do. We were amazing together.
Matt Schlegel: Oh, that is great. That’s great.
Jan Berthold: Yeah.
Matt Schlegel: Jan, tell me, what advice would you give to other leaders of your same type, Type 3?
Jan Berthold: It’s really hard to change the way you are sometimes but I think it’s really important to do the work and to realize that you don’t always have to be number one and that you’re great just the way you are. My daughter reminds me of this all the time. Just take more time to meditate, to think, to be more reflective, I think. The Enneagram and this Type A modification class really helped me. It changed my whole journey and changed my relationships in so many positive ways, so they kind of worked hand-in-hand.
Matt Schlegel: Yeah. That’s great also that you have brought your daughter on this journey as well and she’s being supportive of you and giving you some feedback: “Mom. You don’t need to do all of that today.”
Jan Berthold: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that’s her, uh-huh (affirmative).
Matt Schlegel: Yep, we have a similar dynamic in our family, so I’m very well aware of this.
Jan Berthold: Uh-huh (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).
Matt Schlegel: Well, thank you so much, Jan. I really appreciate your sharing, your stories and that insight, especially that powerful story of really understanding as that Type 3/Type A achiever how important it is to recognize that tendency in yourself and to learn to just end up being at peace with yourself so you’re not so driven all the time and influencing all the relationships around you, so thank you so much for doing that.
Jan Berthold: Thank you, Matt Schlegel, and thank you for writing the book. It’s great, it’s very-
Matt Schlegel: Oh, yes, it was my pleasure. I really appreciate how you got so much out of it and sharing with that and I hope you can come back again and share more stories about how you use the Enneagram and Teamwork 9.0 as a leader.
Jan Berthold: … Okay. Thank you, Matt Schlegel.
Matt Schlegel: All right, thanks. Bye.
Jan Berthold: Bye.
Matt Schlegel: Thanks so much for watching. I really enjoyed Jan’s story of her using the Enneagram as a tool to understand and manage her Type A behaviors and how her coach was familiar with the Enneagram and gave her the vocabulary to understand and address those issues. I also appreciated the story that she told about the relationship she developed at work with a Type Two who she called “the giver” who’s the external, emotional type, somebody who’s very in touch with their emotions, and how teaming up with the Type Two can be a very complementary relationship for a Type 3.
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