The three instinctual biases–Preserving, Navigating, and Transmitting–are focuses of attention or systems of values that cause us to focus more on some aspects of life and less on others.
In this video I describe the nine adaptive strategies at the heart of the Awareness to Action Approach to the Enneagram.
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 map we use for identifying personality types is called the Enneagram (pronounced “ANY-a-gram”). The Enneagram diagram consists of a triangle and a hexagon enclosed within a circle. These elements combine to create nine points along the circle (“ennea” is Greek for “nine”; “gram” means “drawing”). In the early 1970s, personality theorists started mapping observations about personality to this diagram. Over time, numerous schools of thought sprang up about this system and it is used by consultants, psychologists, social workers, and educators across the globe. (Adapted from “Awareness to Action:… Read More
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
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
Leaders today–and the teams they lead–must be agile and adaptable, constantly adjusting to the changing demands of a competitive global landscape. Our clients come to us to help them meet those changing demands–to prepare for new career challenges, to create or adapt to cultural change, to understand the forces that may be holding them back. We do this by, first, helping them transform their habitual patterns of thought, feeling, and action. Then we help them develop and implement practical strategies and precise action plans that allow them to meet any… Read More
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
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
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