The ablity to grasp the big picture,persistence,and creativity are a few of the entrepeneurial traits of many Dyslexics…The fact is , that most Dyslexics have had to find new ways of learning.
Dr.Sally Shaywitz a respected professor of learning development at Yale University suggests that dyslexia should be evaluated as an asset not just a handicap.It’s not clear whether dyslexics develop their special talents by learning to negotiate their disability or whether such skills are the genetic inheritance of being dyslexic suggests Shaywitz who plans to explore this area of thinking, along with trying to change the way dyslexia in the educational and the business world is viewed.
One project will be a series to train executives to recognise outside-the-box thinkers who don’t perform well on standardised tests.
Perhaps the rejection and early perchant for creativity may help explain why so many dyslexics become entrepreneurs.Julie Logan a professor of entrepreneurship at Cass Business School found that from a study, 35% of entrepreneurs in the U.S showed signs of dyslexia compared with 20% in Britain.She attributes the gap to a more flexible education system vs. rigid tracking in British schools,The broader implication she says, is that many of the coping skills dyslexics learn in their formative years become best practices for the successful entrepeneur.
A child who chronically fails standardised tests must be comfortable with failure.Being a slow reader forces you to extract vital information so that you constantly get to the point.
Casco Systems CEO John Chambers says dyslexia helps him to step back and see the big picture.He says alternative teaching and supportive parents helped him to deal with it at an early age.”Dyslexia forces you to look at things in totalityand not just as a single chess move.I play out the whole scenario in my mind and then work through it…all my life I have built organisations with a broad perspective in mind.”.
Those entrepreneurs who have embraced their dyslexia have also made it their personal mission to pave an easier way for the next generation.Discount brokerage pioneer Charles Schwab started a foundation for children to overcome learning difficulties.
Closer to home we have Louis Barnett whom I interviewed recently on Bridge radio, who has become an ambassador for Dyslexia by embracing and promoting it in a positive way.He has set up a scheme taking on youngsters to mentor for business so perhaps Louis will follow suit and set up his own foundation?
More on the dyslexic entrepreneur to come……