“Sorry, I can’t really offer any suggestions; my brain is just not wired for it!” That was a note I received from a colleague this morning letting me know that I was in the right place, thus making significant contributions. This was music to my eyes as I read this note, in response to an action item that needed to be accomplished at this client company, which utilized my executive management skills. This was right up my alley, and my cue or “Batman” signal to jump to the rescue by chiming in solutions.
Also, this was not the first time I’ve received this type of comment or responses, which made me feel extremely valuable and cherished during the past 12+ months I’ve contributed to executive level management consulting since I relocated to Northern California during Fall 2011.
Suffice to say that I’ve become accustomed to solving complex problems, improving intertwined processes throughout organizations. The amalgamation of skills and background were built on my life-long history of problem-solving skills and process improvement suggestions and applications.
While growing up with a profound hearing loss, I thought that I would be stuck in first gear for the rest of my life. Instead, I quickly saw that there were many different options and avenues that could be explored in response to various types of adversities and vicissitudes. My first-hand experiences with these types of life-long situations, which I have improved and solved, have instilled an inherent need and strive to solve many situations and improve the quality of the processes within the organizations I’ve been at.
A recent on-line article by Ray B. Williams, “Wired for Success” pointed out that successful CEOs have “self-awareness” and make people around them successful. My unique perspectives allow others explore the options while thinking outside the box, thus helping the organizations and the teams shine within their industries. My approach, as a management consultant with profound hearing impairment, stems from various complex problem-solving experiences.
In my opinion, professionals with disabilities within executive management level and board rooms are in the position to prove themselves and demonstrate their track record, thus are wired for success. Over a century ago, the general public started to consider the value of contributions made by women, within societies, especially pointed out in the letter in Science magazine published in 1887. This letter was written by “L” and pointed out the valuable contributions of women by using examples of well-known contributors such as well-known female English authors and female Russian mathematicians.
Two decades ago, significant growth has occurred within the corporate culture, since women alone, have come a long ways in attempting to crack the codes of corporate culture as more women grow vertically within management positions, as described within Science magazine’s 1993 edition.
During the past several years, professionals with various diversities have contributed to the corporate culture as persons with disabilities have made significant contributions over time, and have proven themselves to be exceptional problem solvers.
Recently, we have both men and women, from various backgrounds, making significant contributions across the fields. Some of them may have a disability. In 2003 Science letter to the editor, Cooper and Seelman stated that “People with disabilities are among the lowest represented groups in science, engineering, and medicine.” This was nearly 10 years ago, and I’m pleased to have witnessed lots of positive changes that have occurred since them, which included having professionals with disability within executive management levels and executive board rooms.
According to the Department of Census, in 2010, 54 million Americans identified themselves as having disabilities, which is 19% of the United States population living independently. There are hundreds of specific types of disabilities, which can be placed into categories. Some of the types of disabilities are “visible” types while others are “hidden,” meaning that others can notice the assistive technologies such as wheelchair, crutches and other types of assistance such as animals, sign language interpreters.
For me, I wear a hearing aid and a speech processor for my cochlear implant, both covered up by my hair. My disability has not been quite visible within groups of others who can hear and speak effortlessly. When I speak out, others immediately notice my accent. A funny example occurred during a professional function that I attended couple weeks ago when a colleague asked me where I was from, since he was trying to match a country with my accent, in order to quickly build a common bond such as a potential visit to my homeland. I’ll save this experience for another article.
In summary, professionals with disabilities were able to succeed in the workplace, through perseverance and their unique problem solving skills, which have been adapted from years of practice. Professionals with disabilities have proven themselves and demonstrated their impressive track records. With assistance of executive coaches, professionals with disabilities can be successful in applying their own practical skills and ideas within management level, the organization can become successful. The inclusion of professionals with disability brings the true meaning of diversity within the board rooms and executive management levels, as I’ve recently experienced. Knowing that I’m wired for success, I look forward to many more years of continuing contributing my background and skills within the executive management level and corporate boardrooms for many years to come, and help the organizations grow and shine.
Cooper, Rory A. & Seelman, Katherine D. Science 20 June 2003: Vol. 300 no. 5627 p. 1877. DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5627.1877a. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/300/5627/1877.1.full.pdf?sid=482ad334-c38b-4b4d-8de3-4c2f0b1fca1c
Culotta, Elizabeth. Women Struggle to Crack the Code of Corporate Culture. Science. 16 April 1993: 398-404. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/260/5106/398.full.pdf?sid=65a81f52-6a02-4cad-820f-db1e007fc916
L. Women. Science. 1 July 1887: 10 [DOI:10.1126/science.ns-10.230.10]. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/ns-10/230/10.1.full.pdf?sid=8b9c58bf-7f23-4157-a0f0-165cf234baf2
Williams, Ray B. Why Every CEO Needs a Coach. Wired for Success. Published online August 13, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201208/why-every-ceo-needs-coach?goback=%2Egde_2835253_member_183557891