I’ve recently learned about the enneagram—an ancient system of personality typing. In business, it’s generally used as a tool to increase understanding of workplace dynamics. And, to that end, it’s also used to gain self-awareness and the subsequent success that comes from knowing who you are and how you operate in the world. The enneagram offers nine personality types. And each of us, essentially, is one of these types.
I took the test and was identified as a number 7. I read quite a bit on 7′s and was blown away by the fact that all signs did indeed point to me being a 7. Until I started to read about the other types. Some parts of me are very 6 like. Some very 8. And on and on.
Which is when I learned that though 7 is my type…I’ve got wings. We all do. My wings add flavor to my type, they show up in certain environments and situations, they support me in my 7-ness. They help make me Chris Chambers and not ‘just a 7′.
Imagine how boring it would be if we let just one thing define us. If, instead of living multifarious lives, we did just one thing. I’m an accountant—I only do accounting. I’m a drummer—I only drum. I’m a loud person—I only yell. I’m a leader—I only lead. I’m a dreamer–I only dream.
Yep, boring. But, also why would you limit yourself in that way? Why would you put yourself in a silo…and then stay there?
Corporate meeting building literally begs for silos. Silos look good on paper:
- You have your PowerPoint guy here.
- Your writer there.
- Your producer over here.
- Your meeting stakeholder right up there.
But so much gets lost in the silo-ness.
As part of any team, look at your skill sets in two ways.
1. Identify your core set (this will likely be the one in your job title and consequent silo name tag)
2. Identify your wing sets (the skills that round you out)
Now, look left and right, up and down, across the table. Where can you contribute?
Let’s say there are five people on your team, according to the silo’d org chart. Now, pull out everyone’s wings—you likely just tripled your team size, your resources, your energy and your skill sets. When you flush out the silos, you literally get more. Say your producer happens to be a sculptor on the side. She likely offers three-dimensional, big picture perspectives to the budget or very succinct, in-budget ideas to the graphics department in a way they, as creatives, can understand. Maybe your digital media director is also an actor and has the perfect voiceover voice for your next video. Who knows!!!
Opens things up. And right under your own roof.
None of these opportunities will be accessible, however, unless you loosen the silos and create an environment that encourages lateral viewing, sharing and activation. And none of this will be accessible if you don’t stretch into your wings.