The Enneagram in Manufacturing

While manufacturing operations vary widely, there is one constant: operations are focused on getting products out the door. Manufacturers are necessarily focused on quantitative measures; productivity, timeliness, and cost of goods sold are critical daily variables. Well-run manufacturing companies also know that quality, safety, and efficiency contribute to bottom line results, and they incorporate these standards into their processes.

Historically focused on production, this industry has struggled with how to stay ahead of market trends. Often decentralized, another common issue is siloing (intentional or unintentional lack of coordination and integration between units or functions within an organization) between corporate and facility functions and among departments and divisions. Human resources concerns include a tendency toward hierarchical structures, turnover, and morale. Cultures can be slow to move when change is called for.

Over the last several decades, some traditional manufacturing operations have come to understand the benefits of team development in consistently achieving production goals, motivating employees, reducing factionalism, and promoting innovation, and the Enneagram is being used to help them respond to these challenges. The Enneagram also offers many advantages to the manufacturing industry and its leadership. Successful applications of the Enneagram include senior management team development and coaching, team building within and across departments, and troubleshooting process efficiencies.

As one example, a manufacturing facility experiencing unacceptable downtime initiated a project to seek out the cause. Among the outcomes of the project was the understanding that the innate personal reserve of many maintenance supervisors was inhibiting effective communication about emerging problems, as well as communication between shifts. By instituting new communication structures and providing coaching – both with the help of the Enneagram – downtown was reduced significantly.

The globalization of manufacturing requires that operations be highly efficient, innovative, and ahead of the market. Manufacturers are learning that capital improvements can only take them so far. Often, the competitive edge they are looking for lies in dynamic teamwork – for which the Enneagram excels.

> back to top

As a founding principal of Clarus, I work with clients - from Fortune 1000s, nonprofits and governments to family-owned businesses - to define and implement strategy; develop, train, and coach strong leadership; and communicate effectively with internal and external stakeholders.

My experience includes assisting clients under regulatory, media, and legal scrutiny to implement solutions leading to best-in-class, award-winning improvements; assisting management teams in achieving measurable, bottom-line results; and training for management skills, diversity, and ERP implementation.

Every client deserves high quality, sustainable outcomes. The key is working from a systems approach that aligns processes, people, and skills, while the impediment to achieving optimum results is not usually a host of things; it is a few blind spots that impact the whole organization. The Enneagram is a powerful approach for diagnosing and addressing organizational challenges, for helping employees assess and redress any attitudes that may impede success, and for structuring systems and relationships that work.

My practice is informed by 20 years of experience as a corporate litigator and mediator and as an adjunct law professor in mediation and negotiation. I am Enneagram certified by Palmer/Daniels EPTP and Ginger Lapid-Bogda's inaugural Train-the-Trainer program. In addition, I present at the International Enneagram Association's annual conference on communications, negotiation, and business relationships, and currently serve as president-elect of the Association of Enneagram Teachers in the Narrative Tradition.