Posted on 30 May 2016 by Christopher Lindberg

Since joining Ennea International last year, many people have asked me what makes our core platform, The Five LensesTM (“5LQ”) Development Platform different when compared with other personality tests or psychometric analyses.  So, I thought I would take a moment to share via our blog. 

First of all, we shy away from the term assessment or test; we prefer to use words like index and developmental platform.  As you probably know, most products on the market do a fine job of identifying a person’s traits, natural strengths, or behavioral tendencies. However, they rarely (if ever) capture the true complexity of the human operating system and we are left with a report, or type, showing how we are in a static setting, and then left with an “ok, now what?”  scenario.

You see, humans are quite contextual; we experience the world differently and through any given moment we change our behavior(s) in relation to what is happening around us.  When we encounter stressful events, financial burdens, challenging leadership, family issues, etc. these items impact us, sometimes deeply, and thus affect how we operate in the world, and how we engage with those around us.  The Russian philosopher George Gurdjieff, in his teachings about consciousness, said that “A man [woman] is never the same for long. He [she] is continuously changing. He [she] seldom remains the same, even for half an hour.”   

Further, we live in a world where participation trophies and bobble-heads are the new norm. We say “great job” when we don’t mean it, we say “it’s ok” when it’s not, and because we are [overly] concerned about offending people, especially of different races or cultures, we might simply say nothing at all.  Do you and/or your employees have a personal development plan?  How effective is it?  How well do you manage it?  How well does your boss really get involved with its success?  Can you truly say – “I’m getting better and making conscious choices about my development every day.”

All that being said, our behavior impacts those around us, just as theirs impacts us.  There may not be an “I” in TEAM, but there is a “ME”.  A team is also a system in itself, and in Systems Theory we teach that everything affects everything else in the system.  Therefore, the inputs not only affect the outputs, but they create feedback loops that reinforce our behaviors within the system – both positive and negative.  Take a moment to think about a family member, acquaintance, or person you work with, and how they might drive you crazy, or make you feel uncomfortable or on-edge.  You will mostly likely change your behavior when you’re around them, if you don’t try to avoid them altogether.  This is not healthy for you, them, or the team.

These issues are why Ennea International developed The Five LensesTM. With this tool, we look at individuals and teams through the application of System Thinking. The result is a much deeper understanding of “Self”, and in the context of workplace/community, of “Team”. I will keep it brief for the blog setting, but thought I would highlight what we measure in each of these Five Lenses.

Lens One: Personal Mastery – Informed by the work of Dr. Peter Senge at MIT, this section of The Five LensesTM measures a person’s ability to learn and adapt [versus judge] in 6 different categories: Self-Acceptance, Directed Passion, Acceptance of Reality, Curiosity, Impact on Others, and Global Connection. Each one of these components provides a different angle as to where a person is in the context of learning and understanding in the world around them. If we have low Personal Mastery, our ability to learn and develop is negatively impacted.

Lens Two: Emotional Resilience – Here we measure one’s ability to cope with stress. The impact that stress has on people is tremendous and therefore has a direct impact on their health and ability to act effectively in the world.  Imagine how you would feel if a family member suddenly became ill, or if the company President called you while you were on vacation. When these things happen, you are most likely not exuding your most positive traits.

Lens Three: Social Drives – Extracting from the work of Maslow and Richard Barrett, in this lens we measure a person’s Drive to Survive, Affiliate, and Achieve, plus their Drive to Transcend (thinking about the Collective versus the Self). Our social concerns drive the context in which we seek our place among other humans. If we are consumed by things that personally affect us, will we truly be able to think about a team or larger group beyond ourselves?

Lens Four: Energy Centers - As humans, we embrace the decision making and problem solving processes in 3 ways, Intellectually, Emotionally, and Instinctually (simply said – Head, Heart, and Gut). In this area, we measure a person’s natural preferences for making decisions or solving problems and how they process the data/context provided.

Lens Five: The Enneagram [Greek: Ennea=9, and Gram=Model]. The Enneagram is an ancient model that was first brought into the business world at Stanford University in the early 1970s; it is 9 ways of viewing or 9 ways of being in the world. We use the Enneagram as way to model the combination of an individual’s behavioral styles, combined with the first 4 lenses, hereby showing not just WHAT a person is, but WHY they are who they are. By doing this, we don’t just identify a person’s behavior with a type or a label, but demonstrate a score in all 9 areas highlighting their natural strengths, while also showing their areas for development.

Through the research of multiple PhDs, psychologists, and business consultants, The Five LensesTM was originally developed in South Africa and is rapidly gaining global attention. It is incredibly powerful and being used as a tool for personal development, team performance, academic research, veteran transition, and other places where humans want to better understand themselves and how they interact with others.

If anyone in this blog community wants to experience The Five LensesTM, please feel free to contact me at +1 215 499 0910 or via email at

Christopher Lindberg is a Partner and Managing Director of Ennea International North America with more than 25 years of management and leadership experience.  He holds a BSBA in Accounting from Drexel University, an Executive MBA with a foundation in Systems Thinking from Villanova University, and an MCR Certificate from CoreNet Global.   Chris is also an adjunct professor with both Drexel and Villanova Universities, and is the current VP of Education of the Villanova Executive MBA Alumni Association.