Opportunity knocking

Back in school, at one of my psychology courses, I learned about the different personality types. Everyone from type A, conformists, leaders, early adoptors to introverts and extroverts, etc. As you know, we each find ourselves as attracted to some of these traits as we are repelled by others. So, introverts don’t “get” extroverts, socialists don’t “get” conservatives, so on and so forth.

I don’t know enough about other cultures but it seems to me that in deciding one’s... compensation package or worth, our western culture puts a lot of stock in pretty much two main criteria. 1) How much “education” you have and 2) whether or not you are an extrovert.

Sadly, our measure of education is the subject matter studied in school, the number of years in school and the school at which the studies were undertaken. But what if one’s education were gained through one’s travels, from mistakes made, by trial and error and/or on-the-job life experiences, so-to-speak.

On the subject of extroverts. Let me first say that I would describe myself as an extroverted-introvert, so no disrespect here. But these individuals cannot do it all. No-one can. What my nine years of school in three faculties failed to teach me was that we absolutely need all types of people and personalities if we are to be successful, holistic, sustainable and productive, not just at work but as a society as a whole. The dreamer or ideas-person is the spark, followed by the backers/financiers and the believers who see their vision. Then come the accountants and the conservatives who each see an angle not visible to others. Next in line, the early adoptors who will see the need for that particular product or idea and provide the support behind it.

And then, there’s that segment of society that many may not have given a lot of thought to, in as far as the contribution they make to the whole picture. These are individuals, some of whom learn to read later than their peers or may not acquire the social skills that come so easily to others. They may be more black-and-white than most. A few years ago, we started to label these traits as Aspergers, ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, mild autism,..

Although newly labeled, the character traits themselves are not at all new to us. Individuals with these character traits have been around for thousands of years. So why should you care, either way? Because not only are these folks often overlooked, they are in many cases misunderstood rather than provided the opportunity to express their unique talents.

What can they possibly offer you? What did Gallalaio, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Robin Williams, Will Smith, Walt Disney, Jaime Oliver, Agatha Christie, Mozart have to offer? Yeah yeah, they all have/had ADHD traits but this is only a very short list of the gamechangers. Your search will show a much longer list.

Those character traits are different from intelligence. I'm merely discussing resilience here.

You will find a name there of a person that you love or were inspired by but, for every one of those famous individuals, there were and are probably thousands who’s gifts were not recognized or worse, who were instead bullied and otherwise persecuted... simply because they are not the norm.

While psychologists were busy labeling them and focusing on “learning disabilities”, they neglected to see how their brains were working on problem-solving, finding a different route, thinking outside the box. And when plan A or B failed to produce results, they continued down the alphabet with plans C, D, E… So whether they were wired with resilience, efficiency and productivity or were forced to learn them, the end result was the same. Of course I’m speaking personally and cannot speak for all individuals on the spectrum.

You would be hard-pressed to find a business or company that would tell you that they want to be a follower, that they want to have mediocre performance, products or offerings That they love filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. By the way, the same goes for our governments.

So today, I’m here to let you know that if you don’t have at least one person in your company with those character traits, you are doing yourself a disservice. Take advantage of these individuals’ talents, if only for the sake of excelling your organization.

If you don’t know where to start or how to locate these individuals, contact me because sometimes it takes one to spot one.

Now is the opportune time to revamp and go bold as you emerge from a period of unprecedented dormancy and because business as usual, as we have known it, is over.

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