The speed of business today is remarkable. Think about it – just 20 years ago we were still figuring out email and dial-up internet connections; and just 10 years before that we were using typewriters and carbon paper. Back then we were joyriding on Kitty Hawk; today, we’re straddling rockets. Many who navigate the fast lane have said they’ve had to develop ADHD just to keep up, much less thrive.
Hmm. Because of this Indy 500 business environment, hiring and/or investing in an individual with ADHD can be an incredibly smart strategic decision…so long as they are put into a position to succeed.
So, what does an ADDer bring to the conference table? Here are five attributes that give them an edge:
Passion & Energy. Individuals with ADHD bring an intense passion for subjects in which they have an interest. This passion creates a flow of super-charged energy that will breathe life into projects, initiatives and campaigns.
Novelty Seeking. Look, someone with ADHD gets bored quickly. However, if they have interest in the subject, they will turn things upside down and sideways to find nuance and novelty. They’ll reverse engineer, forward predict, and tear apart stuff until they are experts.
Hyper-Focus. A hallmark of someone with ADHD is their ability to hyper-focus. This means they will pin-point their attention to the subject at-hand to the exclusion of everything else. This is a state of mind that is very similar to “being in the zone” – a business version of Steph Curry raining 3-point shots from anywhere on the court.
Diverse Connections and Solutions in Solving Problems. When diving into their subject, the ADHD mind will make connections that may not be readily apparent – stuff others can’t see. At the time it may not make much sense, but will typically lead to unique, often ground-breaking solutions.
Creativity. Studies have shown that those with ADHD are highly creative – often more creative than “normies”. They become an unstoppable force when creativity is combined with the other attributes listed here.
Academicians and business gurus are beginning to identify ADHD as the “entrepreneur gene”. Those with ADHD are great creators, visionaries and risk-takers. They give birth to pioneering ideas that can literally change the business and cultural landscape. Sir Richard Branson, Einstein, and David Neeleman are great examples.
You can’t ask, so, how do you know if someone has ADHD? True ADHD is a neuro-medical condition in which brain chemistry affects a person’s executive functions – so, you can’t ask if someone has the condition. Check out these symptoms – ways ADHD shows up. Do you have employees that fit this profile? You may have folk that will self-identify (again, you can’t ask!). So, experiment.
A note of caution – while there may be exceptions (there always are), don’t expect an ADHDer to actually manage or administer a program or initiative once the project is complete. Pair them with someone whose mind is focused on detail and organization. Administrative stuff may just bring about boredom once the novelty has worn away. Be aware of this – hand off administration to someone else, and encourage your ADHDer to simply be themselves. And then get out of the way.
After all, you’ve just equipped someone to ride a rocket!