Dyslexia Linked to Business Acumen

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. Principessa

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    Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia

    By BRENT BOWERS
    December 6, 2007

    It has long been known that dyslexics are drawn to running their own businesses, where they can get around their weaknesses in reading and writing and play on their strengths. But a new study of entrepreneurs in the United States suggests that dyslexia is much more common among small-business owners than even the experts had thought.


    The report, compiled by Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London, found that more than a third of the entrepreneurs she had surveyed — 35 percent — identified themselves as dyslexic. The study also concluded that dyslexics were more likely than non-dyslexics to delegate authority, to excel in oral communication and problem solving and were twice as likely to own two or more businesses.


    “We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” Professor Logan said in an interview. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”


    The study was based on a survey of 139 business owners in a wide range of fields across the United States. Professor Logan called the number who said they were dyslexic “staggering,” and said it was significantly higher than the 20 percent of British entrepreneurs who said they were dyslexic in a poll she conducted in 2001.
    She attributed the greater share in the United States to earlier and more effective intervention by American schools to help dyslexic students deal with their learning problems. Approximately 10 percent of Americans are believed to have dyslexia, experts say.


    One reason that dyslexics are drawn to entrepreneurship, Professor Logan said, is that strategies they have used since childhood to offset their weaknesses in written communication and organizational ability — identifying trustworthy people and handing over major responsibilities to them — can be applied to businesses.
    “The willingness to delegate authority gives them a significant advantage over non-dyslexic entrepreneurs, who tend to view their business as their baby and like to be in total control,” she said.


    William J. Dennis Jr., senior research fellow at the Research Foundation of the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group in Washington, said the study’s results “fit into the pattern of what we know about small-business owners.”
    “Entrepreneurs are hands-on people who push a minimum of paper, do lots of stuff orally instead of reading and writing, and delegate authority, all of which suggests a high verbal facility,” Mr. Dennis said. “Compare that with corporate managers who read, read, read.”


    Indeed, according to Professor Logan, only 1 percent of corporate managers in the United States have dyslexia.


    Article continues here.
     
  2. JustAsking

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    This is a very interesting article. I concur that the success of a startup company is directly related to how fast you can delegate to reliable employees. You usually start out doing everything yourself. But then when you get financing you have to hire and scale like crazy.

    I can believe that dyslexics may need to learn quickly how to rely on verbal communications rather than developing a lot of written memos, procedures, and processes. Although those things are important, during scale up of a company, you have to rely on the good judgement of your employees before you ever get a chance to make all those documents.

    Being the owner of a start up company, this is fully evident to me. Its not how fast you can hire, its how fast you can get your new hires to be effectitve and productive, and making decisions in your behalf.
     
  3. Principessa

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    *BUMP*
     
  4. JustAsking

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    Yes, very worthy of bumping. I have been thinking about the implications of this article ever since you posted it. Lets to to the call-in lines. Anyone?
     
  5. Principessa

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    The interesting thing to me about this article is that I am dyslexic and have often been told that I have great ideas or skill and should start my own business. The thing is I am also a right-brained, visual-spatial learner and am very disorganized.
    The work necessary to start and maintain more than a lemonade stand is truly beyond me. :frown1::redface:
     
  6. IntoxicatingToxin

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    Well, hell, start with a lemonade stand! :biggrin: Everyone has to start somewhere.

    And yes, that article is pretty cool. My cousin is dyslexic... I wonder if she'll start her own business someday!
     
  7. earllogjam

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    I believe the Mayor of San Francisco also suffered from dyslexia as a child and has grown into a very eloquent speaker.

    I think this article glorifies dyslexia as having some sort of silver lining when the fact is that most kids with the problem just end up slipping through the educational system with the self perception that they are just not as smart as other kids. I know because I was one of them. You can graduate from high school without knowing how to read or write in America and I am sure many of these functional illiterate graduates are dyslexic or have learning problems. They don't grow up to be successful entrepreneurs.

    I can see how driven people who don't do well or fit in any type of established system lean towards being entrepreneurs simply out of necessity but to link dyslexia with business acumen is a stretch. I think underdogs and people who don't make the cut are acutely aware of their shortcomings which may be why there are many more business underdogs, entrepreneurs, who have self diagonsed themselves with dyslexia.
     
  8. Principessa

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  9. Not_Punny

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    Kids with dyslexia require special education, which is almost never available. They have to try so much harder than other kids. I guess this makes them more competitive.
     
  10. JustAsking

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    I didn't take the from the article the idea that dyslexia has a silver lining. What it is saying is that some of the "workarounds" that dyslexics develop end up being useful in business. It says more about management style and ability than it says about dyslexia. The business-enhancing skills are a side effect of the workarounds. Naturally, if one had those skills without dyslexia, one would be in an even better position as a business leader.

    I admire those in the forum that have to work in a competitive knowledge-based environment through disabilities like that. One poster in a thread a while ago wrote how he sees a sentence first off until he works it out. It was unrecognizeable from the original sentence he was using as an example. I was curious as to how he eventually worked it out, but he never responded to my question.
     
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