The Enneagram in Finance

From the East to the West, the Enneagram is being used for team development, problem solving, leadership development and coaching, and communications, as well as systemic Human Resource development.

Several banks in Thailand have been using the Enneagram to increase their effectiveness. For example, Kbank, one of the top three commercial banks, is using the Enneagram extensively across the entire bank. A thousand employees, from the managing director down the individual employee level, have been introduced to the Enneagram with a focus on communication and team building.

In Ireland, a small open economy with a significant financial sector, applications of the Enneagram have focused on local as well a cross-border, multicultural team building designed to increase collaboration in the face of parent-subsidiary culture clashes; this has enhanced group effectiveness within national and multi-national finance teams by illuminating their common objectives even when they have divergent approaches and preferences based on their Enneagram styles.

In the United States, Wachovia, now part of Wells Fargo Bank, has been using the Enneagram for over a decade as a primary approach in their leadership development and coaching for executives. Introduced initially by human resource specialists within the Bank, it proved so effective that they have continued to expand their coaching practices to more and more executives.

Most interesting is the application of the Enneagram within the more conservative domain of central banking and regulation. At the smaller end of the scale, these include one-day workshops for a central bank or financial regulator – insufficient to prevent financial meltdown in spite of a compliance department apparently peopled by Sixes. At a much more comprehensive scale, the Enneagram has been implemented by a central/federal bank since 2000, initially in an IT department of 200 but subsequently migrating to other departments. Key aspects of its success have been the principle of voluntarism and the involvement of a number of professional Enneagram trainers and consultants working on communications, leadership, coaching, conflict, team building, and feedback. The overriding benefit has been a culture of appreciation and understanding of differences both in work and home life, and the creation of teams that are cohesive, trusting, and high performing.

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Martin Hawkes spent the early years of his career as a public servant before moving to the banking industry and structured finance, co-founding and managing his own companies along the way. With interests in sectors as diverse as leisure, education and food, he is currently actively engaged in ecology, education and leadership initiatives.

A founder member of Enneagram Ireland, established in 2004 to promote the Enneagram in Ireland, he has an abiding interest in awareness, creativity, and leadership and the power of Enneagram to illuminate all these areas. Martin is also a director of the Burren Leadership Forum, which is dedicated to exploring transformational leadership, and he is involved with research on creativity and Enneagram style.

Convinced that in-depth exploration of our Enneagram styles and our potential for growth in awareness are limited only by the quality of the presenter and our own receptivity and presence in handling the rich resource which is the Enneagram, Martin currently teaches the Enneagram in open enrollment programmes and within organisational settings.