Core Quadrant by Daniel Ofman

Core Quadrant by Daniel Ofman - ToolsHero

This article explains the core quadrant model, developed by Daniel Ofman in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this effective communication skills and behavior tool.

What are core qualities?

Everyone can sometimes be annoyed at someone else’s behavior. We think other people are difficult and we feel that they should make an effort to change their behavior. But do ‘difficult’ people really exist? According to people behavior expert Daniel Ofman the answer to this question is no! Every human being has certain core qualities and these qualities can be very different from person to person. Big differences in these core qualities can cause a certain friction between people.

The Core Quadrant model

In order to gain an understanding of the mutual relationships, Daniel Ofman developed a core quadrant or core quality quadrant model from which it becomes clear why this friction arises. Someone’s core quality could be directly opposite the behavior one is allergic to.

Subsequently, Daniel Ofman indicates, how a core quality can go too far and transgress into a pitfall and in which way this core quality could take on the challenge to adjust behavior.

Core Quadrant model example by Daniel Ofman - toolshero

Core quality

The core quality is someone’s natural positive quality that has not been acquired. This strong point of the personality can, however, go too far because of which the strength becomes a weakness. Example: punctual and tidy.


When the limit has been exceeded Daniel Ofman speaks of a pitfall, in which the quality has a negative effect on the environment and which also is an obstacle for the person in question. Example: perfectionist and overly organized.


The positive opposite of the pitfall is the challenge, which is a good supplement to the core quality. The challenge provides more of a balance. Example: leave things as they are and learning to postpone.


The allergy is directly opposite of the core quality. When someone goes too far in their challenge that is linked to the core quality, there is a risk that quality will deteriorate into the allergy. Example: untidy and disorganized.

Core Quadrant model by Daniel Ofman - toolshero

Application of the core quadrant

Many people are allergic to the behavior of other people for fear of the fact that they may have the same behavior hidden deeply within themselves. Ofman’s core quadrant does not only provide information about other people’s actions, it also provides information about one’s own actions. Applying the core quadrant, will create more sympathy for one another and for different situations.

Core Quality examples versus pitfalls

By giving depth to our understanding of the different, personal core qualities and pitfalls, it is easier to understand that a pitfall could be perceived as an allergy by someone else. By using self-insight people will discover that a core quality sometimes goes too far, which could irritate other people. Below you will find some examples of core qualities and their pitfalls.

  • Core Quality perfectionist -> pitfall: faultfinder
  • Core Quality Helper -> pitfall: Meddler
  • Core Quality Successful employee -> pitfall: Social climber
  • Core Quality Romantic -> pitfall: Hothead
  • Core Quality Observer -> pitfall: Know-all
  • Core Quality Loyalist -> pitfall: Slave
  • Core Quality Bon vivant -> pitfall: Party animal
  • Core Quality Leader -> pitfall: Dictator
  • Core Quality Mediator -> pitfall: Busybody

Develop your skills

During this short learning journey, you'll have a closer look at other cultures to get a better understanding of people with different behavior.

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Do you recognize the core qualities from the Core Quadrant? What is your experience regarding behavior and effects like challenges, pitfalls and allergies? What are your success factors for good behavior analysis to understand certain behavior?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

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More Information

  1. Ofman, D. (2004). Core Qualities: A Gateway to Human Resources. Cyan Communications.
  2. Ofman, D. & Weck, R. van der (2004). The Core Qualities of the Enneagram. Scriptum.

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