After explaining that he was deaf for three years as a child and that he’s dyslexic, Douglas Merrill, CEO of ZestFinance describes what he’s gained:
There was a nice side effect to all that, though. I spent a lot of time having to figure out ways to do things differently, because I couldn’t do them the normal way. Looking at everything differently has been a pretty key part of what I’ve been good at as an adult. Oftentimes, when there’s a problem or everyone knows how a problem should be solved in a certain way, my knee-jerk reaction is: “Well, why? Why does it have to be solved that way? Can we try something different?…”
If that sounds contrary or like creative showboating, it may be worth a second look: What do you expect from problem solving with others? How do you know when you’ve got a great approach to the problem?
Leaders need to develop agility, which includes creative agility, the ability to step back from the familiar, proven way to address novel situations and free ourselves from some of the limits that come from that familiarity.
Read the whole interview with Douglas Merrill at Adam Bryant’s New York Times column Corner Office