Welcome back to Awareness to Action Enneagram podcast. My name is Seth Creekmore. But you can call me Creek, and I'm with my two co-hosts who you may have heard of Mario Sikora and María José. How y'all doing?María José:
Hey, Creek. Hi, Mario. I'm good. How are you?Creek:
I'm good too. And so I am Mario Sikora and you can call me Mario.Creek:
What did y'all have to eat today?Mario:
Had to eat today? That's great question. I had some leftover Chinese food. We got Chinese food for Father's Day yesterday.Creek:
Yeah, so I had some leftovers. Was yummy.María José:
I had some leftover paella. Yes, it was really good from yesterday. My brother prepared it for Father's Day.Creek:
What was in the paella?María José:
Pork, sausage, and shrimp.Creek:
How about you, Creek?Creek:
What did I have? I haven't eaten much today. It's been kind of a busy day. So I had some raspberries this morning. And then I had some tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa. And that's all I've had time for today. So I'm going to be chowing down after this. That's for sure. Anyways, so today we're talking about patterns of expression and going a little bit more in depth into what are the orders and the practical applications of them.María José:
I think I shared in the first episode how that was a first thing I heard about you and your work with Enneagram - this guy who had this weird theory about how the instincts expressed. So when I met you, that preceded you. And it was interesting to start hearing about your approach in that regard. Which I think I also mentioned, I tested in real life for a while before believing, before just swallowing it, because you said it. And the truth is that the more I use it, the more I see how it is present. And the more I see how useful it is.
So what we're talking about here is that we mentioned the three zones: the zone of enthusiasm, the zone of inner conflict and the zone of indifference. Now, if I'm a navigator, according to other approaches, I could be navigating, transmitting, preserving, or navigating, preserving, transmitting. What we're saying here is that there's only one way in which they express. So if I'm a navigator, my zone of enthusiasm is navigating in my zone of inner conflict is always transmitting, and then the zone of indifference would be preserving. And that's the case for the other two domains. So we all have one particular order in which they express and that creates three particular profiles.Creek:
And those profiles to reiterate is navigating, transmitting, preserving; preserving, navigating, transmitting, and transmitting, preserving, navigating.Mario:
Yeah, but I want to also say that this is one of the distinctions between thinking of this in terms of a pattern of expression and thinking of it as a stack. Okay, because, again, if you think of it as a stack, it's 1-2-3. This is first. This is second. This is third.
But what we're proposing here is that each of us has a specific relationship with the three domains. And that relationship plays itself out in only three ways rather than six ways. And again, a lot of people disagree with this. In fact, I think, everybody.María José:
Nah, not everybody. We agree. I agree.Mario:
I said us, María José. I didn't say you.Creek:
And to be fair, this is like one of the only things in your work that is kind of just your subjective experience versus well thought out, science-backed, all of that, but you've just seen it work very specifically.Mario:
I'll quibble with that actually, Creek, because I would argue that none of the things in my approach are particularly science backed. The Enneagram is not a science model. It's an empirical model, meaning that it's based on observation. And then structuring that observation into a heuristic way of thinking about things.
And so, it's the same as everything else, and everything about the Enneagram is based on people's observations, and then saying, Okay, let's now... we've observed this enough that we can let go of some of our equivocating about it, our qualifying of it. Go ahead, María José.María José:
We just try that it doesn't... We make sure that it doesn't contradict science. And that's why we don't use the term instinct, and we use instinctual biases and things like that. It's not scientifically kind of based. It's just doesn't contradict science.Creek:
I think what I'm maybe more saying is the pattern of expression. We've gotten a lot into how each of those instinctual biases have evolved over time. And there's lots of work out there. But the pattern of expression is just there's not much out there other than just observation.Mario:
Exactly. Yeah, sure.María José:
I have to just make a comment here. It is very tempting to come up with rationalizations of why those patterns of expression exist. And if we wanted to, we could have come up with several stories about it. That could make sense. They would seem like reasonable.Creek:
We've avoided... We've tried to stay away from that, because it's really hard to know, for sure why they're there. But if we wanted to, we could have a really good story about it.Mario:
Yeah, you could make up causal mechanisms very easily. I mean, we talked last time about people suggesting, well, the reason that somebody is self pres is because they felt a lack in their childhood. You can build a story like that, but there's no way to prove it. And with things that are not falsifiable, then we just rely on our observation. And I always tell people, there's a billion people give or take on the planet, and I have not met them all yet. So there might be somebody out there, even multiple people out there who do not fit the pattern that I described.
I just have not encountered any yet, who have stood up to the scrutiny of observation. I've had people say, Oh, no, that doesn't fit me, but it's either because they don't understand the descriptions that I'm making, or they're just blind to behaviors in themselves. And so, people could argue back and forth. People could say, you know, simply say, Well, I see it differently, or I've encountered people who don't fit your pattern, and I can't argue with that.Creek:
All I can say is, well, here's why I think this, and here's why I continue to teach it.Creek:
Yeah, well, and I think that's just invite... I want to invite the listener to whether you agree with how this is formed or not, I think you can still approach it with some curiosity. And I mean, even when I started learning your approach, it was, in some ways hard to really well, trust you, that you knew what you're talking about.Mario:
Because you couldn't see my trustworthy face.Creek:
Established in earlier editions.Creek:
I've seen your face way too much. No, but if nothing else, it gave me something to compare and contrast with. Something to just be curious on how each of those domains exist within myself and how I relate to them. And that's really the end of the day, what we're going for here, not if this is empirically accurate or not.Mario:
When it comes right down to it with all this stuff, these are all tools to help us answer the questions. What is happening to me right now? And what do I need to do about it? A model is like a finger pointing to the moon. It's saying, hey, don't forget about this. Look over here. And this is what the Enneagram does for us. It doesn't matter.
Because how many times have we seen people, Enneagram teachers who for years, said, Oh, I'm this type, and then they change their mind. Does that invalidate any growth they have made? When they were under the illusion that they were a different Enneagram type? No, they still grew. They might accelerate their growth even more once they get their type correct. But this is all just stuff to help us look at ourselves, like you said.
So here's where this came from. So, you know, I'm an executive coach. I've been an executive coach for 25 years. And for all those years, for hundreds and hundreds of clients, I have done 360 assessments, where I have talked to a dozen or so of their co workers, what's this person good at, what they need to get better at. And then I do assessments of them and then I coach them over time. And I have seen over and over again, that there are certain patterns. And I started noticing it years ago.
I started noticing, for example, that everybody that I thought of as a navigator tended to not be so great at the process and structure stuff. That they just weren't all that interested in budgeting their books or doing the administrative stuff, that sort of thing. That people that I saw as preservers were pretty terrible at self promotion. It just didn't occur to them. It just wasn't something they thought about. They were more interested in being comfortable than they were in peacocking.María José:
It's like, they don't feel the need.Mario:
They just don't feel the need. It's just that I'm just not interested in that. And then people who are transmitters, and this is something I've seen in the corporate world all the time, they rise quickly, because of their assertiveness, because of their ability to stand out, etc. And then they get to a certain point where their indifference to organizational dynamics and politics undermines their success. And that's all navigating domain stuff.
So I started seeing over and over again, that there was this predictable vulnerability in people with each of the instinctual biases that I just kept seeing over and over and over and over again. So I started looking more closely at that. Okay, well, why is this? Why is this going on? And then I started also seeing this inner conflict that we talked about, in this middle sort of domain. So for me, it's not just oh, I do this one 60%, I do this one 30%, I do this one 10%. It's because I have a navigating bias. This is what my relationship to the transmitting domain tends to be. And this is what my relationship to the preserving domain tends to be.
And here's the problem. We're all victim of confirmation bias. So whatever idea we start out as, we can find evidence of, or if we have a belief, we can fail to see evidence that exists. So we hear people say, Well, I don't fit your pattern, because I'm a sexual subtype and I'm awful. I never do any preserving. But then they talk about preserving things all the time. They might not be good at it. They might not be skillful. But again, that's the inner conflict that we're talking about.
And people who are preserving, who say, oh, I'm sexual second or transmitting? Well, usually what they're seeing is that relationship orientation in the preserving domain that I talked about in another episode. But what they don't ever even think about is this tendency to display, and that, again, they're conflicted in the navigating domain. See this in preservers all the time, where they have a small group that they're very close to, but they don't like to extend out beyond that. They kind of want to keep to their own knitting.
Even a book, it's close to me somewhere, I can't find, called Social Chemistry. Woman's name is Marissa King, and she identifies three networking styles. And if you read that book, you can see the three instinctual biases there. And you can see the shortcomings that spell out what we're talking about with this pattern of expression. María José, did I miss anything?María José:
No, I think that it might be useful to discuss how each of the profiles relate to the three domains. So for example, the preservers, the zone of enthusiasm is preserving. So they just do the preserving things without even thinking. And that's something that sometimes causes some confusion, because they are doing it without thinking and they don't see it. It's the water that they swim in.
But then the zone of inner conflict is navigating. And as you said, it's, I'm not sure that I'm doing enough, but I don't want to do a lot more. I'm not sure that I'm good enough. And I should reach out to more people, but I don't feel like I have the energy to do it. And my experience about preservers is that, for example, at work, they can navigate, but it's not something that they really enjoy doing. It's a skill that they can apply but it's not something that they get enthusiastic about necessarily.Mario:
And it's also something that they pay an energetic cost for. Just like you and I as navigators, we can transmit, but we pay an energetic cost for it. We funded a little more time.María José:
And finally with preservers, transmitting, it's something that I shouldn't need to do. That's kind of the mindset. I shouldn't need to promote myself, to sell myself. I should do my work well, and that should speak for itself. I shouldn't need to reach out to people to tell them how good I am. That's kind of the mindset of the preserver.
Navigators is different. So I am a navigator as well. So we do navigating without thinking. We just scan the room. We know who is who. We know who to trust. We just engage in relationships in a navigating way. But then transmitting, it's what we're conflicted about. So navigators feel like, Oh, I wish I were like those transmitters, but not so much that I would be the center of attention. So I don't want to do too much. I envy them, but then I kind of disliked them in a way. So it's a conflicted about it. Preserving, it's something that can always wait until tomorrow.
So I was talking to a Navigating Three the other day, and we were talking about how they manage their kind of own energy. And he said, I can always sleep tomorrow, but today, I'll kind of be where I want to be and even if I have to stay until really late. So it's always something that can wait. It's low priority, the preserving domain. He was also talking about how he drives people really hard and doesn't pay attention to their well-being. Because that's kind of the domain where he pays the least attention.Mario:
I always forget to schedule bathroom breaks when I'm doing a training. I just lose track of time. And then you see people starting to squirm and all that sort of stuff, and you realize oh, I've had these people here for two hours instead of breaking at 90 minutes, you know, that sort of thing.
So now, the reason I think is that most people don't agree with this pattern is because they're not defining the terms in the same way that we are very often. So for example, we have lots of transmitters who say, Oh, I'm social second. And they're confusing wanting to transmit at an audience. even if that's an audience of people at a cocktail party, with being social.
And we're saying that might be social, but it's not navigating. Because navigating is about taking in information, understanding and putting context, reading nuance, like María José said, but transmitters don't do that. Well, why? Because busy transmitting. If you're transmitting, you're not receiving most of the time. So when people get the definitions right, then they start to see it.
They're looking for prey, as one of our friends put it, who's a transmitter.María José:
They're not scanning the room to understand the room and every piece of it as navigators would. So they transmit without thinking, and then the sort of inner conflict will be preserving. That's at the service of transmitting most of the time. So I can want to have a good home, a nice home to transmit, or the resources to transmit, personal resources. I want to look good. I want to be healthy. Well, that's so that I can transmit better or more.
Yeah, I was just going to finish with the last, the third profile, the transmitting profile. So they do this transmitting without thinking. What you're saying, it's a typical confusion. It's transmitters scan the room, but most of the times to see what's interesting.
And then the Navigating domain, it's almost wrong. It's amazing how in like... We were doing this session the other day, people were asking if navigating was immoral. Because it was just like, it feels wrong to a lot of transmitters, just a waste of time, spending time talking to people who you don't need in the short term, or building alliances or scanning or understanding the politics.
Or gossiping. So there's a particular order, and I agree with you that some people don't get the definitions. And sometimes I think the other confusion is that they see traits that have to do with the strategy as being part of the instinctual domains.Mario:
Or gossiping.María José:
Yes, just an example. I was working with this Navigating Three through the other day. So a lot of people thought that he was transmitting because he's a Three, and they challenge him because they said, no you're not navigating, you're transmitting. But the guy resonated with all the navigating things, but because he's a Three, "Striving to Feel Outstanding," that felt a bit like transmitting, but he was definitely navigating.Mario:
María José touched on something that I think bears expanding. Very often when we do the things in the zone of inner conflict and the zone of indifference, we do them to satisfy the need of the zone of enthusiasm. So when navigators will preserve, it's usually in a way that reinforces their sense of solidity in the navigating domain. They're not preserving like a preserver. They're preserving in service of the navigating bias in a lot of ways.
Now, again, not all the time, because we do need to just take care of some of the fundamental survival things at times and so forth. But, you know, for example, you get navigators who like to cook, and they'll say, Well, I must be, you know, preserving or self-pres, because I like to cook, but the cooking is different from just a preserving activity. It's an expression of who they are at times. It's an identity issue, even if they're not aware of it. And it's a social activity.
You know, when I have a party at our house, for me, I'm very focused on making sure there's enough food, making sure there's enough to drink, everything anybody could want is there. But it's not because I'm preserving that we're going to have enough food to feed three times the number of people. It's going to be because I don't want anybody walking out of their saying, "This guy didn't have enough food." Again, it's in service of the navigating thing,María José:
If we go a step further, the only way to work on these things where we have issues is to think about it that way. So navigator, the only way I can get to work on my preserving or transmitting is when I think about the navigating benefits to it. Otherwise, it's just too much energy. It's just too much effort in it.Creek:
Alright, so let's talk about some real world application and especially as it relates to Awareness to Action and how you apply it to business and your clients.Mario:
I started off by saying earlier that I started to see these patterns in people's 360 assessments. And that same predictability, or I'll say, high probability that I saw an individuals, I would also start to see in teams and in organizations. I always like to think that culture and personality are very related. And culture is a, you know, it's a personality writ large. It's a way of, you know, an agreed upon habitual way of solving group problems.
How do I deal with time? It's either a clock time where the bus comes at 12 o'clock, I show up at 12 o'clock, or the bus gets there when it gets there. It's called event time. And different cultures are... You go to Egypt, it's event time. The bus gets there when it gets there. Go to Switzerland or Germany, the bus is there at 12 o'clock. Okay, so that's one element of culture. It's agreed upon way of dealing with the problem of time.
Personality is a set of adaptive strategies for dealing with problems. How do I get things done that I need to get done? So you see the same sort of patterns in groups, in organizations, in cultures that you do in individuals and with the instinctual biases, it's no different. You will see functions in a company that have the culture of an instinctual bias.
For example, preserving is correlated to finance. It's correlated to operations. It's correlated to health and safety in an organization. Navigating is highly correlated to marketing, going out and finding what the customer needs, and human resource issues, organizational development issues. And the transmitting domain is very correlated to sales and to innovation. And because organizations take on cultures that are related to the instinctual domains, you start to see this high probability of once you identify the organizations or the group's instinctual bias, you're going to know what areas are underdeveloped. And you'll see different industries.
So for example, the finance industry is a very preserving industry. I was just talking to a woman today, who does innovation work with companies. And she was talking about working with a company that's in a very much a preserving domain. But she's speaking about a transmitting topic, innovation, like a transmitter because that's what she is. And then she can't understand why these people just think what she's saying is completely unimportant. Because she's speaking to preserve as like a transmitter, she's speaking to them from their zone of indifference. So what's the reaction? They're indifferent.María José:
Yeah, so it made me think of another example of I was talking to other consultants who are working with a company who develops and sells HR products, like software to manage the different HR functions, and their sales force are all transmitters. They're kind of prepared and asked to work as transmitters. Now they're selling these... transmitting these products in a transmitting way to people who worry about the processes in HR, and who do not only resonate with the tone, but they even doubt things that are presented in a transmitting way.
Because it looks like they're trying to sell me something that might be not good for me. They're trying to oversell something that it's not that good. So it's the thing that they're selling, but also the tone and the way. When transmitters sell to a preserver, or sometimes even to a navigator, sometimes it's hard to trust.Mario:
Because we see these patterns over and over again, right? Again, it's useful to understand these things going in to any engagement with people. That because it accelerates you understanding what they need. And so the question can always be thrown back, because I am quick to say, Well, the reason that people don't believe this is because they're stupid or ignorant, or, you know, whatever. That's not what I say, but they're just not seeing it, and they fall victim to confirmation bias when they see something different.
And of course, the same charge could be leveled back at us. The only thing I have to say to that is that we work with people with whom there are consequences to peddling things that aren't accurate. And so that our clients see this and keep having us come back for us as a sign that well, we're onto something here.María José:
And they can very quickly draw conclusions from it. It is amazing how once they get it, they start seeing why certain things are working for them or are not working for them.Mario:
I had that experience earlier today. Talking to a woman again. This woman about innovation. And she immediately saw. Soon as I explained these three instinctual biases. That's the example she came up with. She said, You know, I couldn't figure out why these people didn't call us back, but now I understand.Creek:
Well, we've finished one of the more provocative episodes that we've recorded thus far. Hopefully, everyone that's listening is doing okay. Deep breaths, you'll be okay. So again, just inviting everyone to be curious and just see what happens. And all of this is useful on some level.
So next week, we're going to be talking more specifically about the instinctual domains. And...Mario:
We're going to focus on the preserving domain next time, I believe.Creek:
That's right. That's right.Mario:
The boring one.Creek:
Just little proof of concept here was all I was trying to say.María José:
There is one thing we have not been able to get rid of or unbiased, it's our dislike for preserving.Creek:
Not people with a preserving instinctual bias. We love you. The preserving domain is you know...Creek:
Okay, that's fair. That's fair. All right. Well, yes, the preserving domain next week. Bring your blankets and your food and all the things. So we will see you next week.
Thanks for listening to the Awareness to Action Enneagram podcast. If you're interested in more information or talking to Mario, MJ or myself, feel free to reach out to us through the links in the show notes or by emailing email@example.com. All episode transcriptions and further information can be found at awarenesstoaction.com/podcast.