I firstly want to state that I am a Dyslexic and I don’t mean someone who badly spells but someone with a real condition which has made life a challenge for me from a young age and effects many areas of my life other than just the obvious.
Despite this initial negative statement I have in recent years begun to see Dyslexia as a positive condition which has actually helped me excel in my career and has allowed me to successfully deliver a number of well-known high-profile projects and programmes.
So if you’re feeling down about being dyslexia and you are an aspiring Project Manager and want to learn how to make it work to your advantage then read on.
Looking around the internet I have listed from some good sources some of the positive attributes of Dyslexics:-
- Great visual thinkers- thinking in pictures
- Fast problem solvers, able to think laterally
- Excellent trouble-shooting skills
- They are intuitive good at reading people
- Verbally articulate- great communicators
- Creative so many dyslexics are employed as designers, artists, actors, chefs
- Spatially talented many Dyslexics are employed as engineers, architects, designers, artists, mathematicians, physicists, physicians (esp. Surgeons and orthopaedists), and dentists.
- Dyslexic people frequently enjoy above average physical co-ordination
- Strong Sense of Justice
These are all attributes which mean Dyslexia can make talented and successful Project Managers. So how can you make these attributes shine?
- If taking your APMP or PRINCE2® examination see an Educational Psychologist. They should be able to test you and if the outcome of the test is positive for Dyslexia the associated report will be very helpful in getting you extra time to complete your PRINCE2® and APMP examinations. Remember if you do not have above average IQ you cannot test positive for this condition.
- Make sure you use daily task management software so you can list all the things you need to do each day and constantly reorder and change task priorities. This will help mitigate short-term memory recall issues.
- Let Process do all the walking. Make sure you implement PRINCE2® correctly and let the method drive the delivery rather than your email account and a need for a strong short-term memory skills.
- Use a Word Processor – Never write anything freehand. If you have to do whiteboard sessions (I always try to avoid these) get a member of the project team, to write things up for you on the board
- Get a relative or your partner /wife to check and read important documents before they are released to project stakeholders. I have never released a Business Case or a Project Initiation Document without a review by my wife from an English grammar and spelling point of view.
- Use spreadsheet templates wherever possible so much of the formulation work can be worked out for you if you hunt down good templates online and copy populated and peer-reviewed spreadsheets from other projects run by project managers with great reputations.
- Always have a repository of previously used peer-reviewed project documentation that has been completed by yourself /others and are examples of good practice that can be repurposed with the minimum of effort on your part and risk in terms of injecting in poor grammar, spelling etc.
- Always be honest to your team about your condition. This was not possible many years ago but these days people and organisations are far more sympathetic to these kinds of conditions and providing you emphasize the advantages of Dyslexia and how you go about mitigating the disadvantages of the condition you should be ok.
- Use PowerPoint wherever possible. Visual thinking and explanation through imagery is a strong point of dyslexic so PowerPoint can really allow you to shine when trying to get concepts and ideas across to stakeholders.
If you have any questions about this condition and how to turn it to your advantage as a project manager and in taking the PRINCE2® examination please post up a question on our Facebook page facebook/balance-global.com.