Posts in Articles

Introduction to the Awareness to Action Enneagram

The Awareness to Action Enneagram is a unique approach to this powerful system, designed to be applicable in pragmatic environments such as the business world. It is meant for people who desire self-awareness, a better understanding of others, and also want to know how to apply the system to get results in the real world.

Responding to a Discussion on the Instinctual Biases

Warning–This post is for true Enneagram geeks! I was recently asked on a Facebook forum about my view on the instinctual biases and how they differed from some of the other perspectives; here is my response. Note that I will be part of panel discussion on this topic with Russ Hudson, Peter O’Hanrahan, and Beatrice Chestnut in April 2020 in Cincinnati. It is being organized by the International Enneagram Association and more info can be found via the IEA at Yes, my approach tends to be closer to Russ… Read More

Back to Basics: Peter Drucker and What Makes an Effective Executive

One occupational challenge I face is trying to stay current with the literature on management and leadership. As in every other field, we have more access to more ideas than those even a generation ago could have ever imagined. In addition to internet-based information, there are a number of good business magazines and newspapers to keep up on and each week brings compelling new titles to the local bookstore. The world is always changing (the rapid rate of technological change presents a significant set of new challenges and opportunities for… Read More

Being Mindful

Flipping through a recent issue of a prominent business magazine, I came across yet another article on how organizations are flocking to “mindfulness” training based on traditional Eastern practices. In fact, according to the article some 22% of companies offer such mindfulness training for their employees. There is a lot to be said for such practices, but there is more than one way to become mindful and I prefer the kind of mindfulness work that focuses on developing relaxed, deliberate, and purposeful thought rather than simply breathing and observing our… Read More

The Missing Piece in Creating Change

Most advice on how to change is very straightforward (and simplistic): Become aware of your patterns and what you need to do differently, then make a plan for doing the new behavior. Of course, if it were that easy, everyone would keep their New Year’s resolutions and the whole self-help industry would fade into irrelevance. Executive coaches like me would have to get real jobs… We all know that change is not easy. The reason that most attempts to change fail is because they overlook a critical step between “become aware” and “act… Read More

Instinctual Leadership

Each of us has a particular area of instinctual focus that can significantly affect our leadership style. These instinctual biases incline us to pay more attention to some things and to neglect others, often to our detriment. In a very real sense, because it shapes our focus of attention, our bias shapes what we value. This post identifies those instinctual biases and explores how they influence our leadership style–and what we can do to be more effective. To understand these biases, it helps to imagine watching a documentary about peacocks–yes, peacocks. The first segment of the… Read More

Instinctual Leadership (2)

Each of us is wired with instinctual drives that shape what we value and what aspects of life we focus on. These drives have been wired into us through millions of years of evolutionary pressures and they enhance our ability to survive and reproduce. Understanding how these instinctual drives influence our work lives has a transformative effect. These drives can be thought of as fitting into three distinct domains—Preserving, Navigating, and Transmitting—and while we each exhibit behaviors related to all three domains, we tend to have a non-conscious bias toward… Read More

Instinctual Teams

In a previous article I wrote about “Instinctual Leadership” and the effect of our instinctual bias on the way we perform as leaders. As I wrote there, each of us has a tendency to habitually focus on one of three domains of life’s challenges more than on the other two. Many of our strengths and vulnerabilities as leaders stem from this habitual focus. The effect goes beyond individual performance, however, and understanding how these instinctual biases shape team dynamics can be very useful. Before we go further, let’s quickly recap what… Read More

Instinctual Leadership: Signaling Warmth and Competence

Humans are contradictory creatures. We have the capacity to step back, think rationally, and reason through complex problems, but we often don’t use that capacity—relying instead on snap judgments to guide us. Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” popularized the idea that we have two “systems” for thinking: System 1 is “fast” thinking, which relies on emotion, naïve intuition, and non-conscious mental models or “rules of thumb” (called “heuristics”) that are part of our evolutionary heritage. System 1 is very useful in helping us quickly solve simple problems and… Read More