Re: Question on Enneagram LO2026

Carol Anne Ogdin (
10 Jul 95 17:06:13 EDT

Replying to LO1998 --

Diane Weston wrote, in LO1998...

> I did not think I had any references to offer, but the next day, I spotted
> an article on "The Enneagram as a Transformative Tool for Leadership" in
> the Spring 1995 issue of "Vision/Action: The Journal of the Bay Area OD
> Network." The journal may not be too widely accessible, but the author
> has also co-authored a book that may be of interest:

> Susan Forster, Susan Forster & Assocs, Oakland, CA,
> "Transformational Leadership: A Guide to Developing Your Leadership Skills
> Using the Enneagram System of Personality"

I attended Forster's one-day introductory program in the San Francisco
Bay Area about 6-8 weeks ago, on the strength of her article. I came
with no clear idea...I left with no clear idea. Her explanations all
seemed to me to be of the "trust me, it works!" variety. Her demon-
strations lead to results that were easily predictable from other
evidence, so served to leave me unconvinced as to the value of

> FYI: Like the Myers-Briggs instrument, the Enneagram is a personality
> type indicator. Forster distinguishes it from the MBTI by saying the
> Enneagram addresses "universal truths about psychological and spiritual
> growth... and offers ways to alleviate some of the painful consequences"
> of personality patterns.

But, Diane, apparently in the same way that Jung's observations
were "universal truths." I'd sure like to see some docu-
mentation for the source of those "universal truths."

My main objection to MBTI & Ennegram is that they tend to get
used in ways that limit people's choices, instead of expanding
them. If I were to adopt the Enneagram, I'd want my goal to
be "I'm able to assume any one of the 9 types at will" (or,
comparably, with the MBTI, "...16 types..."). Instead,
they're used in the stereotyping mode: "Oh, (s)he's just an
XYZ...that's why!"

In my observations, if you are a devoid of education in basic
relationships and communications as most of our high school
and college graduates, and your only tool is MBTI or Enneagram
models, then you're better off than your peers...but not by
much. Learning to be a proficient communicator takes time,
and somehow we've never managed to communicate to students
or employees that it is worth their effort. I've spent
years honing my communicative skills (and I sure do feel like
I've got a long, long way to go...), but it has been most
definitely worth it. Simplistic models, I'm afraid, are
too easy a trap for busy people to fall into.

Carol Anne Ogdin                "Great minds discuss ideas,
Deep Woods Technology            average minds discuss events,            small minds discuss people."
                                    --Adm. Hyman G. Rickover