America needs creative thinkers to revolutionize advanced manufacturing and the future of work.
The COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns and related global recession of 2020 have created a highly uncertain outlook for the labor market and accelerated the arrival of the future of work. A world of technologically enables change, how people work is fundamentally changing. Workforce augmentation, where parts of jobs are automated to complement and enhance the workforce, will create significant shifts in the types of jobs and competencies (skills, abilities, and tasks) required for organizations.
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, demonstrates how the change of skills, abilities, and tasks, called competencies, is shifting because of automation, and more widely, labor force transformations initiatives. These findings indicate:
- Processing, manual, and transaction-type competencies such as coordination and time management, management of financial, material resources and reading, writing, math, and active listening, are declining.
- Creative, problem-solving, and social-type competencies such as analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, and creativity and initiative, are trending up.
To cope with this fast-changing world businesses needs more creative out of the box thinkers to make sense of the changes and disruptions of the digital age. The need for creative thinkers will require more of the likes of Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell all were innovative thinkers and businessmen who were dyslexics.
Human Resource (HR) departments must learn how to adapt the on-boarding process to take full advantage of dyslexic candidates by not rejecting them because they did not fit into their transitional model for accepting new applicants. By these standards they were rejecting bright minds who are the next generation of designers and makers.
See how a young person with Dyslexia was asking an organization to just give him a chance and once accepted became an exception applicant.
I encourage you to think about how you measure ability. If you are using a process that relies solely on reading and writing effectively you are eliminating people who would be your best problem solvers. If you want new, different, better ideas you need someone who thinks differently. And for that you need someone with a brain that is wired differently.
CEOs and business leaders will benefit from understanding dyslexic thinking and the changes needed to harness this value. Hiring, resourcing and performance management will most certainly need to shift, moving from a primacy of experience-led, generalist to include cognitively enabled, specialists.
Value of Dyslexia
Dyslexia affects about 15 percent of Americans. But the apparent weakness can also be a covert strength, especially in business, Shark Tank investors Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary have found.
Dyslexia is far more common among entrepreneurs than the public. A study by Julie Logan of Cass Business School in London showed that 35 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs—more than twice the national average—identified themselves as dyslexic. (High-profile dyslexics include Virgin’s Richard Branson, Jet Blue founder David Neeleman and investment guru Charles Schwab.) In a survey of 69,000 self-made millionaires, 40% of entrepreneurs were found to show signs of dyslexia.
So, what is dyslexia? Dyslexia is a genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information. Highlight the changing demand for competencies expected to emerge showing how a typical dyslexic capability could support and help drive the required shift in effort in the workplace. New jobs will be created that match closely to the strengths of dyslexic thinking could provide an opportunity for organizations to bridge the skills gap of the future.
However, the traditional approach to dyslexia in the workplace is typically directed at the remediation of dyslexic challenges. An alternative approach based on skills, could allow for organizations to focus effort toward both the remediation of challenges and harnessing of strengths, aligning a deeper understanding of dyslexic skills with that of organizational values.
Leading the Way Forward
Technology is dramatically changing the way we interact and work with each other. This means different jobs and tasks need different minds. Dyslexia can be an important part of this picture. As reported, dyslexic individuals exhibit a range of capabilities that are real strengths in the evolving business environment. Dyslexic strengths and the changing world of work we need to recognize how dyslexics other individuals who think differently could support the technological revolution.
Dyslexic thinkers are often able to see connections that others may miss and create narratives that can simplify complex products or tasks. For organizations to successfully adapt, thrive and access these dyslexic strengths, there needs to be support for and celebration of a change and growth mindset. This mindset is a skill can often be more important than specific areas of experience. This, coupled with diversity and inclusion, is key to future success.
Douglas Carlberg President CEO, M2 Global Technology Ltd. and Glenn Marshall, Newport News Shipbuilding Career Pathways (retired), are both on the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Management Team initiative for leading a “Manufacturing Renaissance” and a member of the Reshoring Initiative and Job Creators Network. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com we are both