If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
– Dalai Lama
You just solved the problem—yay! Most teams think they are done. But there is one last important step. Enneagram Change Management Step 9 is going back to the broader set of stakeholders and listening to how the solution is working for them. Did it meet expectations? Were there unintended consequences? Are there new issues to tackle? In Step 9 you empathize with each stakeholder, putting yourself in their shoes, and ensuring that the solution is satisfactory for them. If it is not, then you have identified a new problem and you are back to Step 1—and that is why the Enneagram is a circle of continuous improvement.
Excerpt from Teamwork 9.0
Your problem-solving team has performed an apparent miracle. A transformative change has taken place within the organization. Results have been measured and confirmed. The team reached the goal they set out to achieve and the problem has been solved. Is it time to move on?
Well, hold on just one minute. Whenever there is a transformative change within an organization, there will be perceived “winners” and “losers.” There will be those whose positions in the company are apparently improved and those whose positions are perceived to be diminished. Humans are great at detecting these types of changes—we can’t help ourselves, it’s what we do.
Step 9 in the problem-solving process involves reaching out to all those people affected by the transformation and understanding what is and is not working well in the post-transformation organization. Enneagram Type 9 is called the Peacemaker. They tend to be empathetic and gifted at calming people who are in an agitated state. Step 9 leverages the dynamic of Enneagram Type 9.
At this point in the problem-solving process, the most important skill is listening. It is particularly important to listen to those who have undergone disruptive change. Not only has this change been emotionally unsettling, there also may be new, unforeseen issues impeding their new workflows. It is important to capture these issues, address the concerns as well as possible, and ensure that all workflows are manageable.
During Step 9, someone may raise an issue of great magnitude and importance that requires more than a simple quick fix. Note that the Enneagram diagram is depicted as a circle, implying that Enneagram-based problem-solving process is circular rather than linear; there is a reason Step 1 follows Step 9. After a transformative change in Step 8, new problems identified during Step 9 can be addressed with the same process. In this manner, an organization can continually evaluate its effectiveness and take steps to improve itself in a never-ending cycle of continuous improvement.
How do you debrief your project? Do you interview all stakeholders to determine the efficacy of the solution? Do you anticipate the need for subsequent action to address any new issues or unintended consequences that may arise? Do you ensure that all stakeholders are satisfied with the solution?
Yay. You’re done. The team finished the project. How did they do? Whenever you undergo a transformation, some toes will be stepped on and feathers will be ruffled. Enneagram Type 9 is called the harmonizer. And in Step 9, you want to debrief the project and listen to feedback from the stakeholders. If you have your detailed list of the problems and goals from step one, now is the time to review that and score the project. As you have these conversations with the stakeholders, you’ll uncover that there may be lingering problems and perhaps new problems that need to be addressed. And this is why the Enneagram is a circle, not a line. Step 9 leads right back to step one and illustrates the human desire for continuous improvement.
The aspect I love about this problem-solving framework is that there’s a direct link between each step in problem solving to a specific personality dynamic that is particularly suited for that step. Now more than ever, organizations are being challenged with threats that require everyone in the organization to collaborate and find new ways to survive and thrive working on the business, not just in the business. Using a step-by-step approach to problem solving can get your team to focus on the challenge and invent a new path forward.
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