It’s fair to say that I’m “in” on the Enneagram. A few months ago, I paid attention to conversations on the periphery. A few weeks ago, I chimed in with what I knew about personality types, particularly my own (all the Type 3s out there, raise your hand!). And now, I find myself instigating conversations on the Enneagram with anyone and everyone, tying it into discussions of food, family, faith and, of course, work.
For those of you not even remotely familiar with the Enneagram, go here now and at least read up on the personality assessment that’s all the rage. If you’re so inclined, take the test and determine your basic type. According to The Enneagram Institute, the types can be summed up with these four words:
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.
From a personal perspective, my wife has educated me on my type (3), hers (9), plus several of my siblings. We’ve had dinner conversations that have spilled into living room debates about where our parents fall on the assessment.
From a Summit perspective, using the Enneagram to better understand basic personality types of my coworkers has stimulated some real breakthroughs on how to relate and manage. That is, I shouldn’t manage a type 7 like they’re a type 3. That may seem like leadership 101, but for me at least, stepping back and studying personality types is easier than assessing a specific person. This is especially helpful in understanding how to challenge (which is a non-negotiable for me). Andrew (a type 1), doesn’t need much reassurance that he’s doing a great job — he knows it. Whereas Matt, a 7, needs to trust that he’s cared for in order to access his peak potential.
Any good, thoughtful leader should crave more resources to better understand their staff, and how that fits into a workplace culture. Leadership is not a one-size-fits-all rule book. A type 2 wants me to reaffirm their value to Summit, and that their work is both effective and important. Noted. A type 5 wants space to process feedback, to internalize thinking before being forced to give an answer. Noted.
So, again, it’s safe to say I’m “in” on the Enneagram. Which is what makes this business collaboration I’m about to share even more exciting. Talk about burying the lede.
A friend of Summit’s, Sarajane Case, started the business Enneagram + Coffee in December through an Instagram page. Ten weeks later, Sarajane has 236,000 followers. That’s insane. Enneagram + Coffee has amassed more followers in the last 2 days than Summit has in the last 2 years. She’s creating valuable, fun, relevant content that people cannot get enough of. Sarajane also is a coffee fan, a Summit fan, and a wicked smart business person.
So together, Summit and Enneagram + Coffee are launching a private label coffee for Sarajane’s tribe. Over the past 5 weeks, we’ve sampled a bunch of coffees to find one that both a) fits a taste profile, and b) tells a story. The winner is a microlot from producer Francisco Cardona Martin, whose farm in Huehuetenango, Guatamela, is home to some spectacular coffee.
Here, in front of us, sits a perfect opportunity for collaboration: Summit and Enneagram + Coffee. Our brands share values and a personality, in so many ways: creative, fun, uplifting, engaging, community-focused.
One of Summit’s 9 Macro Goals is “Stay curious and stay humble.” None of this would have materialized had we not been willing to learn, to evolve, to challenge what we know and dare to improve. We owe it to our businesses, and to ourselves frankly, to do these things. And whether it’s the Enneagram, or conversations over a beer, or a company kickball team, I implore all leaders to find a way today to get to know your staff even better, even deeper, even more intentionally.
And maybe you, like us, will develop a business relationship out of it. It pays to keep your eyes open to new opportunity. But maybe that’s easy for a type 3 to say.