How would you work with Lord Sugar if he walked into your start-up training room today, looking for advice? Just in the same way as with everyone else, you might reply. Sounds reasonable, but for one significant and legal adjustment to training to be made for him and 20% of all entrepreneurs: consideration of their dyslexia.
The UK’s 300,000 dyslexic entrepreneurs typically experience regular short-term memory lapses and face mental challenges when processing language and organising information. This group is big on ideas, building teams and problem-solving, but less concerned with fine detail, being organised and keeping the place. Unlike Lord Sugar, many business people do not even know they are dyslexic, but know that conventional classroom settings stifle their talents. Trainers of them therefore must deploy non-conventional teaching methods for their success.
So how do you prepare for highly talented individuals who may:
- not engage with your written handouts;
- not write down notes;
- keep changing the subject?
Your preparation for working with these learning styles is key to the success of your training. Dyslexia disrupts thinking more when the person is stressed or under pressure, so your training room and materials are crucial tools for removing dyslexia as a barrier to business success. And removing this barrier is a legal requirement in the UK.
Dyslexia is recognised as a learning disability in the Equality Act 2010. The Act requires trainers to take action to ‘anticipate’ reasonable adjustments they could make to their training to remove barriers to people with disabilities; they cannot wait until a disabled person asks them to do so. In short, your training must be adjusted to remove barriers to progress which affect up to 20% of your clients.
So when the next Lord Sugar walks into your start-up training session today, would you know what adjustments to make to enable him to learn effectively the important stuff for business success, or would he instead decide ‘you’re fired’?
Jan Halfpenny writes, conducts research and trains organisations and individuals on dyslexia and business.
Recent research on dyslexic entrepreneurs: In Their Element: The Case for Investing in Dyslexic Entrepreneurs