Guest Post by John Ayers (first posted on CERM ® RISK INSIGHTS – reposted here with permission)
I have some experience with the Enneagram personality method. I found it to be accurate and useful. I suggest it is a good method to consider using to select your project team. The paper starts with a brief description of the Enneagram basics and then explains tips that can be used to select your team. Two figures are included to help explain the basics. You can go online and get a lot more detail information about the Enneagram method.
“The Enneagram of Personality, or simply the Enneagram (from the Greek words ἐννέα [ennéa, meaning “nine”] and γράμμα [grámma, meaning something “written” or “drawn”]), is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. Although the origins and history of many of the ideas and theories associated with the Enneagram of Personality are a matter of dispute, contemporary Enneagram theories are principally derived from the teachings of the Bolivian psycho-spiritual teacher Oscar Ichazo from the 1950s and the Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo from the 1970s. Naranjo’s theories were also influenced by some earlier teachings about personality by George Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way tradition.[i]
HOW THE ENNEAGRAM WORKS
“Everyone emerges from childhood with one of the nine types dominating their personality, with inborn temperament and other pre-natal factors being the main determinants of our type. This is one area where most all of the major Enneagram authors agree—we are born with a dominant type.
Type One is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.
Type Two is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.
Type Three is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
Type Four is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
Type Five is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
Type Six is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
Type Seven is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.
Type Eight is self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.
Type Nine is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.
The Enneagram is a 3 x 3 arrangement of nine personality types in three Centers. There are three types in the Instinctive Center, three in the Feeling Center, and three in the Thinking Center, as shown below. Each Center consists of three personality types that have in common the assets and liabilities of that Center. For example, personality type Four has unique strengths and liabilities involving its feelings, which is why it is in the Feeling Center. Likewise, the Eight’s assets and liabilities involve its relationship to its instinctual drives, which is why it is in the Instinctive Center, and so forth for all nine personality types.[i]
TIPS TO SELECTING YOUR TEAM USING ENNEGRAM
There are numerous articles online that discuss the best number for a project manager. Based on my experience, number 1 is the best for this leadership position. The reason is they are decisive, have a lot of confidence, like to lead and make final decision, can listen to team members, have a vision and a plan. The one thing I learned is there can only be one number 1 on a team.
I was talking to my boss one day and he informed me that h was assigning Marv on the intercity rail project. John was the project manager for the project. I told my boss that two number 1s could not work together because each one wants the project to run his way. I predicted that one of the two would not be on the team within a year because they would be disruptive to the project. Less than a year later my boss told me Marv was taken off the project.
Another thing I learned is you do not want a number 8 on the team because they want it their way and can be very disruptive. For example, General MacArthur was a number 8. He defied President Truman. He wanted it his way. As a result, he was fired.
If you find a number 8 on your team, the best way to handle it is to make him/her an individual contributor. But keep him/her away from team meetings as much as possible.
A mixture of these numbers fills out the team. You need the thinkers, the creative people, the followers, and the helpers to round out the team.
The Enneagram Personality method can be a very useful and valuable tool to staffing your team. This is especially true given the remote working environment COVID-19 has generated. A project manager has to manage a geographical and culturally diverse team going forward. It will be a real challenge. He/she will need a well-rounded team to be successful.
I recommend going online to learn more about the Enneagram Personality method if you want to use it on your project.
Currently John is an author, writer and consultant. He authored a book entitled Project Risk Management. It went on sale on Amazon in August 2019. He authored a second book titled How to Get A Project Management Job: Future of Work. It is on sale on Amazon. The first book is a text book that includes all of the technical information you will need to become a Project Manager. The second book shows you how to get a Project Manager job. Between the two, you have the secret sauce to succeed. There are links to both books on his website.
He has presented numerous Webinars on project risk management to PMI. He writes columns on project risk management for CERM (certified enterprise risk management). John also writes blogs for APM (association for project management) in the UK. He has conducted a podcast on project risk management. John has published numerous papers on project risk management and project management on LinkedIn.
John earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering and MS in Engineering Management from Northeastern University. He has extensive experience with commercial and DOD companies. He is a member of PMI (Project Management Institute). John has managed numerous large high technical development programs worth in excessive of $100M. He has extensive subcontract management experience domestically and foreign. John has held a number of positions over his career including: Director of Programs; Director of Operations; Program Manager; Project Engineer; Engineering Manager; and Design Engineer. He has experience with: design; manufacturing; test; integration; subcontract management; contracts; project management; risk management; and quality control. John is a certified six sigma specialist, and certified to level 2 EVM (earned value management). Go to his website to find links to his books on Amazon as well as numerous papers he has written. https://projectriskmanagement.info/
[i] How the Enneagram System Works, The Enneagram Institute, 2021
[i] Enneagram of Personality, Wikipedia, 2021