I’ve recently participated in two online classes to learn more about the Enneagram, a personality assessment tool. I am certified in other instruments so I’ve been hesitant to invest time in something that is complex enough to require multiple classes to understand it but have enjoyed gaining a new level of understanding about my strengths and what I tend to run away from.

I think the Enneagram is like so many other things where the complexity provides its power even though it creates an initial barrier to access it. Einstein is said to have dismissed high-level mathematics as too abstract until he later realized he needed to know it to prove theories that he could not physically demonstrate.

In a similar vein, Excel works well for common purposes, but SPSS or more robust software is required to handle advanced calculations. Simple hammers work for DIY projects but not professional construction, and home kitchen implements are adequate for families but not for banquet preparation.

And so it goes. Don’t be scared off by tools that are complex and non-intuitive. Taking the time to harness that deeper understanding can unleash a new layer of power to you.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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