The Core Quadrant ®

We all have something in us that makes us come alive...

Core Qualities

Core qualities are characteristics that belong to the essence or the core of a person. They ‘colour’ a person; it is the specific strength that we immediately think of when we have someone’s in mind. Examples  of  qualities  are  caring, diligence, orderliness, decisiveness, receptivity, empathy, and so on. There are hundreds of them. Some of them are so specific to you that you could call them core qualities. With our core qualities, we express who we are. Core qualities are not primarily behaviors, but rather possibilities that one can be attuned to. Just as the quality of sound on the radio is partly determined by the precision with which it is tuned to the right wavelength, so can one also become more inspiring when he is tuned to his own core qualities. Just as the power of the amplifier influences the final sound quality, so too is the creative power of man also decisive for the effect he has on his environment.

A core quality can be recognized by someone’s special ability about which he himself says: “Surely everyone can do that!” But not everyone can do that. In fact, if you were to remove this core quality, you wouldn’t even recognize this person anymore. That’s because that one core quality permeates or radiates through all the other, less pronounced qualities.

A core quality is always potentially present. You can’t just turn a core quality on or off, though you can hide it or keep it dormant.

The difference between qualities and skills lies mainly in the fact that qualities come from the inside and skills are taught from the outside. In English, it’s about the difference between ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’. Skills are ‘nurture’, nurtured, or learned, core qualities are ‘nature’, innate, and developable. The clearer the image we have of our core qualities, the more conscious we can let them shine through in our lives. Those who have ‘perseverance’ as their core quality, for example, know that they will be able to function well, especially in situations where a long period of time is needed. And they also know that this persistence is something they will always be able to do, both at work and in their private life. Whether they will do so in their private life is another matter. Everyone was born with a number of core qualities, but that’s not all, because as a logical consequence of each core quality, you automatically receive three more gifts. The first is your pitfall, the second your challenge, and the third your allergy.


Just as there can be no light without darkness, every core quality has a sunny and a shady side. The shadow side could also be called the distortion. The distortion is not the opposite of the core quality, like how active is the opposite of passive and strong is the opposite of weak. The distortion is a core quality that is taken too far and overshoots the mark.

For example, the core quality ‘flexibility’ can turn into ‘fickleness’. When this happens, the power of a person becomes their weakness. This is popularly referred to as ‘too much of a good thing’ and that is exactly what it expresses. Someone who is too careful runs the risk of becoming fussy. In the same way, helpfulness can be taken too wich then becomes experienced as meddling. This will sometimes be thrown at the person as an accusation. The distortion of one’s core quality is one’s ‘pitfall’. The pitfall is that which is often labeled as such. For example, a person with the quality ‘decisiveness’ may be accused of being pushy. Whether this is justified or not, the pitfall is simply part of the core quality. They are inextricably linked, so consider it as a gift.


With the associated pitfall, one also finds their ‘challenge’ when it comes to their core quality. This is the second gift, as it were. The challenge is the positive opposite quality of the pitfall. The positive opposite quality of being pushy, for example, is something like patience or restraint. In other words, the pitfall of ‘tightness’ necessitates the challenge of ‘patience’. As the figure shows, the core quality and the challenge are always complementary qualities. What matters is to find a balance between flexibility and consistency. When this balance tilts too far towards flexibility, there is a chance that this flexibility will turn into fickleness. In other words, in order to avoid falling into one’s pitfall, it is advisable for one to develop the challenge.


Usually, a person’s pitfall is a source of conflicts, irritations, and tensions that the person has with their environment. This is especially true if the pitfall also turns out to be someone else’s allergy. The problem is that the average person turns out to be allergic to too much of their challenge, especially if they find it in another person. For example, the energetic person will have a tendency to freak out when confronted with passivity in another person. They are allergic to passivity. If you look closely, you can see that this is because passivity is too much of his challenge (= patience). He often doesn’t know what to do with it.The more you are confronted with your own allergy in another person, the more likely it is that you will fall into your pitfall. The person with the core quality of ‘decisiveness’ then runs the risk of acting even pushier, while he or she accuses the other person of being passive, and so on. In other words: if you encounter your allergy in another person, your pitfall is lurking. So what makes a person most vulnerable is not their pitfall, but their allergy, because it is mainly the allergy that makes a person fall into their pitfall.The formulation of the allergy completes the core quadrant. In the core quadrant, the connection between your quality, pitfall, challenge, and allergy quickly becomes clear.

Daniel Ofman developed the Core Quadrant model in the 1990s.

With this model you can quickly gain insight into your personal Core Qualities, pitfalls, challenges and allergies (resistances). The model is mainly used in the business world but also from Universities to Business Schools to Healthcare to almost every field where leadership and personal development are considered to be important.

We believe that the model should also be accessible to young people, which is why we wrote the book Mission9!

The use of the model is free for non commercial use only

Advantages of working with Core Educational Qualities can be:

  • Enable better study and professional choices.
  • Support pupils and teachers to get to know themselves and others much better.
  • improve communication and cooperation between colleagues, pupils and parents (greater understanding of the differences between people).
  • Prevent or stop bullying.
  • Create an environment in which naming and developing positive qualities is a matter of course.
  • Create lasting relationships, increase motivation and learning performance.
  • Prepare yourself optimally for the labour market.

Wouldn't this be great?

  • young people who are aware of their personal qualities.Teachers who are able to attune themselves to their own qualities and challenges.
  • Support a new generation of young people on the road to (personal) leadership!

Shine & be Authentic!

A Core Quadrant can be explained in 5 minutes and will keep you busy the rest of your life because of its depth and beauty.

Discovering your true core quality is a profound and touching experience.

I am very grateful for the work I can do and the numerous responses from readers I get every week...

- Daniel Ofman-

This concept helps everyone to know their own Core Qualities and challenges, rather than to externally recieve direction...

-Albert Heemeijer-

The most important result of all education, is self-knowledge

Core Quality International

Daniel Ofman (1949) studied Business Administration at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He started his career in Philips in the field of Logistics and Material Management. His interest in new forms of management led to his going for three years to the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, where he filled various posts, from plumber to manager (or ‘focalizer’ as it is called there) of the Business Division.

From 1980 he has been an organization developer, responsible for providing guidance to organizations in their development process. In 1984 he founded a semi-large consultancy company, Kern Konsult. After 20 years he left his company to start all over again and founded the Core Quality International organization development agency in 2004, which is currently located in The Hague, The Netherlands.

As a speaker, he is much in demand for seminars and congresses.

In 1992 his book ‘Core Qualities, a Gateway to Human Resources’ was published of which so far over 125.000 copies have been sold in the Dutch language. It has been translated in many other languages, (e.g. English and Russian).

In this first book he presented the Core Quadrant® concept, which is now widely being used in all sorts of educational institutions, from Universities to Primary Schools. In the last 25 years, over 1500 professionals (consultants, trainers and coaches) have been certified to apply his Core Quadrant® concepts both on an individual level as well as on an organizational level in mergers and restructuring processes.

He created a Core Quality Card Game, an Android/iPhone app (Core Quality) and in 2007 published You Just Wouldn’t Believe It, a case study in Philip Morris (with Guust Verpaalen, vice-president Marketing and Sales Northern Europe).

In 2008 he published Fancy Meeting Me Here…! (all about Core Qualities) and in 2015 his latest book Building Commitment and Enthusiasm in Organisations was launched.

Core Quality Education

Albert Heemeijer (1967) was born in Amsterdam and studied Speech Therapy and Phonetics, specializing in the treatment of dyslexia. He managed a speech therapy practice in Germany for 10 years, beginning in 1997.

Mission and vision

To support young people and adults in getting to know and make the best use of their personal Core Qualities.

Author - Trainer - Guest Speaker & Coach for Core Quadrants, Leadership and excellent Communication

Consulting partner and subsidiary of Core Quality International - Daniel Ofman

Albert has worked together with Daniel Ofman since 1999. Together they wrote the book, Mission9: the secret of the core quadrant, which was first published in Dutch and later translated to German and is now also available in English. They are also co-creators of The Great Core Quadrant Game.

Albert is responsible for giving all German-language training workshops for authorization to work with the Core Quadrant system in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Leadership and communication are two of Albert’s biggest passions, both of which are central themes in this model.

Albert offers trainings, workshops, certifications and (video) coaching.

A central idea in his work is the idea that, in order to produce sustainable results, it is important that you have:

  • A good understanding of content and facts (the “it-world”, which focuses on knowledge, numbers and the analysis of information and data)
  • A good understanding of and connection with others (the “we-world”, which is about communication, making contact, and active listening)
  • A good understanding of yourself and your personal qualities, competencies and motivations (the “I-world”, which revolves around personal reflection and knowing oneself)

If one of these “worlds” is missing, then the effectiveness of a person, company and even of a country is greatly diminished.

His favorite Quote:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.

Because what the world needs, is people who have come alive.”- Howard Thurman –

Get in Touch


Koningstraat 83

6121 HS Born



Albert Heemeijer

VAT - BTW: NL002129526B84


+31 6 123 25 250

Albert Heemeijer

+31 6 538 19 851

Daniel Ofman