Achieving Business Change Using The Enneagram Personality System

Cheryl McMillan

We are pleased to feature the following blog by our Guest Blogger Cheryl McMillan, a Vistage Master Chair who specializes in helping business leaders change. We thought you would find it of particular interest because its message is perfectly in sync with what Simon Associates is all about: helping companies and their leadership change and adapt to today’s shifting business environment.

Using Blue Ocean Strategy®, Innovation Games®, the OCAI culture assessment tool and a variety of workshops and presentations, we apply our anthropological approach to companies who want or need to change, to great results. (Read our Stories2Share.) Similarly, Cheryl writes about helping business leaders change using The Enneagram. Enjoy!


I believe that the health of any company is directly related to the health of its leadership. Therefore, my primary strategy as a Vistage Chair is to help my members learn and grow so that they can become better leaders.

The Enneagram: An effective business tool for transforming relationships and enabling personal growth

When I became a Vistage Chair, enneagram logoI wanted to supplement my business background with a certification in a personality or behavioral assessment system. I looked at the most well-known ones, such as Myers-Briggs and DISC. None gave me insight into the motivation that drives an individual’s behavior. After researching “The Enneagram,” I found it was a great fit and, in 2009, I became a Certified Teacher.

Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

This is a great summary of The Enneagram, which is one of the world’s oldest known personality systems. It recognizes and describes nine distinct and fundamentally different viewpoints, called “Type in Enneagram lingo. Each Type has a distinct pattern of thinking, feeling and acting.

The power of The Enneagram comes from:

1) identifying the core motivation or belief about what each of us need in life to survive and be happy, and

2) identifying the perceptual filters that shape our perception of the world.

Once we discover our own filters and triggers, we can make new choices based on self-awareness

Each Enneagram type also has a blind spot, which is one focus of our self-development efforts. Studying The Enneagram also helps us to understand and have empathy for others.

To learn more, please check out the following books and websites:


The Enneagram: Understanding Yourself and the Others In Your Life, by Helen Palmer

Websites: A portal into the accumulated wisdom collected by Helen Palmer who has been working with The Enneagram system over thirty years. Unique to Helen’s understanding is the integration of psychology and spirituality from the perspective of the Inner Observer, also known as “witnessing consciousness.” The website of The Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition Professional Training Program, which contains more detail about the individual Types. Helen Palmer and Dr. David Daniels, world-renowned authors and Enneagram teachers, founded the training program in 1988 to certify individuals. The website of Ginger Lapid-Bogda, providing specific information for using The Enneagram in business.