Creating a Championship Team with the Enneagram

This time of year comes with many emotions. As we transition into autumn, the days are shorter, the weather starts to cool down which may slow down your energy AND it is playoff baseball time which for baseball fans is an exciting time of year!

I have been a baseball fan my whole life and started playing the game at age 9. As I watched both final games of the 2023 League series (Houston Astros v. Texas Rangers) and (Philadelphia Phillies v. Arizona Diamondbacks) I saw the teams that were “supposed” to win – including last year’s World Champion- fade away and the teams that both had lost more than 100 games just two years ago, do what was seemingly impossible.

So what contributed to the exciting outcome of the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks going to the World Series?  Well many things of course, but in the context of looking at team development and team dynamics, I see the same components that make teams great in the workplace.

Moving from good to great team performance

In my work as a leadership coach, I have supported teams to identify the “why” is our team stuck and the “how can we be better performing?” Recently, I was introduced to a framework and a process that can unlock the pathways to team greatness. Ginger Lapid-Bogda,PhD an organizational development consultant and coach, uses the Enneagram framework to support teams moving toward greatness. She developed a concept called the  “3As”:  alignment, attunement and acceleration.

Credit: The Enneagram in Business

Teams that are able to access the collective wisdom of their three Centers of Intelligence (Head Center, Heart Center and Body Center) move to peak performance. Teams have all three centers just like people. So the key question for teams is “Are we accessing and using the wisdom of all three Centers of Intelligence?”

Team Alignment (the collective head center): Aligned teams have a shared understanding of team vision, goals and the team member interdependence to achieve those goals. They know where the team is headed and why each individual team member’s contribution matters to achieving those goals.

Team Attunement (the collective heart center): Attuned teams feel deeply connected to other team members’ needs and feelings. There is passion for the work because each team member sees their contribution to the whole and that energy (from the heart) propels the team forward.

Team Acceleration (the collective body center): Accelerating teams move forward together in a unified direction because they are aligned with passion and energy because they are attuned.

Unaligned or Unattuned teams DO NOT Accelerate.

Teams that are aligned but not attuned may be productive but over time they run the risk of burnout. Teams that are attuned but not aligned enjoy being together but collectively productivity may be low as the task focus is unclear.

Where do you start with team alignment and attunement?

The first step is to determine the team’s dominant Center of Intelligence. I support teams by conducting the Enneagram self-assessment with each team member. Through this assessment, each team member will identify whether their behaviors are driven by the Head Center, Heart Center or Body Center.

With the understanding of each team member’s natural inclination, you can determine the team’s collective dominant Center of Intelligence. If your team is over-expressed in the head center, you have clarity on alignment but not enough connection or attunement so there is risk of burnout. That will point your team to doing more work in building relationships and cohesion.  If your team is over-expressed in the heart center, you will enjoy collaboration but you won’t have enough clarity on team purpose, goals and deliverables. That will point your team to doing more work in clarifying team purpose, goals and individual tasks. Finally, if your team is over-expressed in the Body Center, you will need to work on both relationship building and clarifying team purpose, goals and deliverables.

Let’s Get Back to Baseball!

How does this connect us back to the playoffs and the two teams who are playing in the World Series?  As I listened to the post-game interviews for the Arizona Diamondbacks, many comments referenced the energy in the clubhouse, the connection between team members (attunement), they also stated that everyone knew what their role was and the little things that mattered (alignment) to move toward the ultimate goal of winning the World Series (acceleration). Time will tell which team has developed the right balance of the “3As” to move to peak performance.

Check out my blog series below on the Enneagram, or get in touch if you want to explore how you can move your team toward peak performance or talk about baseball.

Blog Series

Creating a Championship Team with the Enneagram

The Enneagram: Nine Points of View and Core Motivation

The Enneagram: Connecting Ancient Wisdom to Global Transformation

The Enneagram and Neuroscience: Growing New Neural Pathways