The Enneagram in Biotechnology

In 2004, the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) decided to initiate leadership development programs for young group leaders and senior post-docs in molecular biology research. Committed to excellence in scientific research, EMBO adopted the Enneagram as a model to support the personal development of these young leaders. The scientists were skeptical of being pigeonholed by some psychological model, so they were delighted that the Enneagram allowed them to both identify their own style and provided support for their further development. Since then, over 500 researchers from Europe, the Americas, and Asia have profited from these courses. Most use the Enneagram to understand themselves and improve their daily interactions in the labs, while others are starting to introduce the model into their teams in their search for excellence.

At about the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic, a leading biotech company adopted the Enneagram at all leadership levels in one of its divisions, integrating each of its leadership competencies with the Enneagram. This helped managers recognize their own and each other's strengths and development areas and provided a common language to discuss and resolve issues. It was only natural that the use of the Enneagram then spread to working with intact teams – especially in clinical trials – to improve team effectiveness through improving relationships and interactions, enhancing communication skills, and identifying and working on team-based biases to action, people, or planning.


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CJ Fitzsimons was a young research mathematician in Ireland in the 1980s when he first noticed how interpersonal challenges could derail a project among even the brightest minds. That's when he decided to make developing leadership skills his own personal research project and his professional focus. Today, he continues to refine his Leadership Sculptor approach (based on the Enneagram, Psychodrama, Performance Coaching, and Tai Chi), while also providing in-depth coaching and conducting workshops internationally. He is co-editor and co-author of International Project Management - Working Together Interculturally (dtv, in German).

He believes that everyone has leadership qualities and his passion is helping people to let these qualities emerge. The Italian sculptor Michaelangelo put it so well: "In every block of marble, I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it."

CJ's role is to help people sculpt their own leadership through helping them recognize the contours of their leadership profile and equipping them with the tools necessary to allow it to emerge.