Let’s be real. Your employees likely think the communication at your company stinks. After talking to hundreds of companies in the past 10 years, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter if your company is small or large, under one roof or scattered across several locations, if you are high-tech or old school … the one common complaint your employees likely have is communication. It’s hard to get the right balance for each individual and to make sure that the company message is delivered and received with the same intended outcome.

Why is communication so hard? Many reasons, but an important one is that every person is unique, and different personality types require different communication styles as everyone sees the world, well, differently. Take StyleBlueprint for example. We have employees across several states with our headquarters in Nashville. This can make communication more difficult, as we have both office employees AND remote employees. When building team culture, we concentrate on both our headquarters office and our remote team.

Three times a year we gather our whole team together under one roof for a 24- to 48-hour company retreat. We learn together, but we also laugh together and get to know each other a little more. These mini-retreats make our team function better. At our last gathering, we did something that we hoped would help communication and community building. And it absolutely did — more so than we ever hoped.

We brought in 9Paths to kick off our spring 2018 work retreat, and our team feedback was incredible. This was a total win for everyone.

Enter 9Paths. With a focus specifically on businesses and team building, using their unique Enneagram workshop, they were able to capture the attention of our team and provide insights that enriched both their personal and professional lives. During the workshop, which lasted about three hours, we all had several “a-ha” moments.

While at first, this may sound hokey (can we all really be categorized into nine distinct groups under the Enneagram theory?), we were astounded at how accurate and intuitive the system is. We found out why we each gravitate to certain things and avoid other things, which has created a better functioning team.

(SB TIP: If you are unfamiliar with the Enneagram, it breaks humans down into nine groups identified by number. Your number is assigned basically by an assessment identifying your outlook and what motivates you while better understanding others. As 9Paths says, “It is an EQUALIZER that crosses all cultural, gender, socioeconomic and political differences. It brings people together!”)

9Paths Founder Sharon Ball, LPC-MHSP

An example? I am one who likes to avoid conflict by nature, and I know this about myself. Being an Enneagram 7 (simply said, I’m a glass is half full type personality), this makes sense. A pitfall of this personality type is that I may forgo having important, yet uncomfortable, conversations. And, these uncomfortable conversations lead to growth for everyone. This was a big reminder that knowing your team, having clear communication from the start and knowing how to address issues that arise are critical to team morale and a good business culture. Thanks to the Enneagram workshop through 9Paths, I could really see why others need different communication styles than I do and why I need to do a better job being attentive to these varying styles of communication needs.

9Paths works with companies three different ways: the Enneagram Team Training Series, the Team Alignment Series and via retreats. “From small businesses to some of the most recognizable companies in the world, to high-performing individuals looking to expand your edge, we are the company you want to work with.” — 9Paths.

What was the feedback from our own team?

“I think it’s awesome that I work for a company who invests in things like the Enneagram workshop! It was a lot of fun, and I learned so much about my coworkers, which is very important in team building. I gave the cards to my husband, and he picked the exact three I knew he would pick that he thought described himself!” — Cindy Acuff, Nashville Sales

“I feel lucky to work for a company that recognizes the importance of understanding each of its member’s personalities and uses that information to better communicate and strengthen work relationships. Through the workshop, I learned that many of my SB team members think with their heart, which makes for wonderfully written, passionate pieces and helps me communicate with them more efficiently by understanding what motivates them. As a 6, I learned that when anxiety seems overwhelming, a good tactic is to have a mantra or saying (one that always works for me is ‘one day’ — or task or question or article, etc. — at a time). This helps me move along at a calmer level, which has affected both my work life and my home life.” — Bailey Torkelson, Customer Success Rep, Birmingham

“Personally, the benefit for me was gaining the tools to understand habits common during healthy and unhealthy times. I consider myself to be relatively self-aware when it comes to my strengths, so where I think my results will come in handy is in examining my unhealthy habits. I believe the strength of StyleBlueprint comes from having varying personalities and viewpoints. Learning more about my coworkers allowed me to see these strengths more clearly. Not only do I know what everyone brings to the table, but I can recognize what motivates them, how they are likely to respond to specific scenarios and how we can play our strengths off each other.” — Alex Hendrickson, Lead Nashville Writer/Associate Editor

“The codification of personality that the Enneagram offers is great in that we can examine how to best react to situations and relationships. It is often easy to forget or not recognize our ‘bad’ traits/episodes when they are happening. The Enneagram educates us on best ways to orient ourselves and continually teaches us how to understand those tendencies. I like that my company emphasizes these learning experiences, as I’ve found an empathy-first approach to work is much more sustainable.” — Jesse Gillenwalters, Digital Analyst

“I absolutely loved this and I REALLY think it has helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses. I think it was incredible that we did this as a company, especially being all women where emotions can run high. Now we understand not only the where but the why people act/react the way they do. It has helped me to hit the pause button on acting or reacting a certain way to co-workers so I can be the ‘best’ me possible.” — Amanda Stanfill, Memphis Sales

“I thought it was nice to gain perspective into why people are how they are — the natural tendencies that people have and how it impacts how they work and interact with one another. It was insightful for sure!” — Ashley Haugen, Managing Editor

“I found it interesting to understand ‘where I go’ when I’m at my best vs ‘where I go’ when I’m under stress. Being aware of those tendencies — especially when under stress — helps me make better choices.” — Ginny Staggs, Director of Sales

“I love the Enneagram! I think it’s an incredibly useful tool that has improved my communication in my professional, social and personal life. It has also given me more confidence in my own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. I love the foundation that it provides for all of us to understand each other better, and I was thrilled to be able to explore that with my co-workers at the outset of a new job.” — Lacy Greene, Traffic Manager

“The Enneagram workshop was super helpful for me because now I have a better understanding of why people do what they do. I feel like I am now better able to communicate with my team, and I understand where they’re coming from.” — Wesley Ware, Customer Success Rep Louisville

The StyleBlueprint team at our Spring 2018 mini-retreat. While some of us were skeptical at first, in the end, everyone had over-the-top feedback for including 9Paths as part of our retreat, and we’ve grown into a better-communicating company ever since.

We tried 9Paths and we were so impressed that we are looking forward to working with them again in the future. If you are looking for a good way to provide true team building in a way that not only affects office morale but also your team’s personal lives, consider 9Paths.

And, yes, 9Paths travels to any destination where they are needed!

9Paths offers:

  • Enneagram Team Training Series
  • Team Alignment Series
  • Retreats
  • Individual Development Coaching

For more information: 9paths.com