Richard Branson is dyslexic.  He says: “Dyslexics are very good at looking at things differently, at seeing the big picture.  This means we see some things more clearly than people who aren’t dyslexic.”

Other notable dyslexics include Tom Cruise, William Hewlett (co-founder of Hewlett Packard) and Whoopi Goldberg.  Kate Griggs, (founder of Xtraordinary People) writing in the latest HR & Training Journal highlights Yale University’s view that dyslexia can be a source of exceptional creativity, innovation and higher level thinking.

It got me thinking about “person specifications” and how often we look for just those characteristics.  When we talk about the sort of person we want for that key new role the sort of things we look for are:

  • Lateral thinking
  • Creativity
  • Someone who can see the “bigger picture”
  • Innovation
  • Vision

Julia Goodman (Founder of Personal Presentation Ltd) writing in the same journal, suggests that dyslexia wires people to think “outside the box”  and gives them “a natural aptitude for compelling verbal communication, producing people who have the potential to inspire those around them with fresh vision.”

Looking at posts on I was struck by comments from those who had been at an event where it was suggested that dyslexia should be “eradicated”.  People, quite justifiably, weren’t too keen on being eradicated! On a more practical note, there is good advice for those applying for jobs:

Judith Sanson, Executive Director of Dyslexia research suggests people with dyslexia are upfront about it at interview, and explain the benefits:

“this means that I work extra hard to reach the highest standards in my work; I walk the extra mile with added commitment; I see the wider picture and use my special gifts as someone who sees outside the box”.