- Human Psychology
- Strategy and Implementation
- Systems and Processes
- Self Knowledge
- Mental Processing Speed
- Challenge Leadership and the Status Quo
- Cultural Entanglement
- Work Isn’t Play Time
- Tinkering Instead of Producing
- Unrealistically High Expectations
- Information Fire House
- Prey Drive
Corporate courtship is the elaborate mating process that businesses and corporations go through with candidates during the hiring process. Companies present themselves as the Shangri-La of working environments, while candidates present themselves as flawless gifts to mankind.
If cash or climbing the ladder was my goal, I might play along with this collective fiction. However, since my goal is adventurous co-creation to help build a better world, I won’t hold any pretenses.
Here, you'll find a ruthless assessment based on my personal insights, feedback from mentors and bosses, and input from my employees and coworkers over the past decade.
Over the past decade, I have worked with over 2000 businesses in nearly every industry, with valuations ranging from $0 to $50M. I have experience in all six functional areas of business. Having lived and worked internationally, I have experienced a variety of leadership and communication styles. My curious mind compels me to learn a little bit about everything. This enables me to see the full picture and understand how all the pieces work together, as I have sat in all of the seats.
As an autistic man, I have had to understand human psychology from an outsider's perspective. This gives me a unique viewpoint on how humans navigate the world and how group dynamics function. Due to my upbringing as the son of a therapist, an armchair philosopher, and a practicing mindfulness instructor, I perceive things that others may not. However, I am also blind to things that others can see clearly.
Strategy and Implementation
I have combined strategy, implementation, and ongoing management into a way of being. It's compelling to see growth and evolution happen, but it's demotivating to see strategic plans that have not been implemented just sitting in a three-ring binder collecting dust.
There's always a next step for us to be 10% better, even at the cost of disruption. I'm at home in discomfort, and I've got the grit to last through the change. Constant forward progress is a necessity.
Systems and Processes
I visualize interconnected systems, so I'm quite adept at understanding and optimizing a process and turning it into a tech-based, scalable system.
My stamina, communication speed, and mental endurance are high. This means that a constant firehose of information is present in my brain, which can sometimes splash those around me.
With a direct communication style, a penchant for candor, little ability to mask my inner world, and a distaste for indifference, my team and clients know where I stand. This can be both a strong asset and a liability.
With strong intrinsic motivation and a thoroughly and professional investigated understanding of my psyche, I know how to get things done and am at home in high-paced environments. Feeling awkward and being in over my head is where I prefer to be.
Mental Processing Speed
Listening, ingesting, processing, and integrating data into an information architecture are skills that my Asperger's Syndrome has gifted me with. I can self-teach and contribute to most conversations by identifying the core issue and offering up possible solutions. Psychiatric testing has placed me in the 85th percentile for this skill set. Some may call it confidence and BS skills, but it’s more than that.
Challenge Leadership and the Status Quo
"Alright, you're the boss" is antithetical to my nature. Thus, unless I know and agree with the "why," I'm going to push back against leadership. When you combine this with a natural distrust of the status quo, it means I can be very disruptive.
Sports, pop culture, mass media, small talk, internal dramas, and automatic social construct mode are not my forte. Thus, integrating into a workplace or client culture that values these social norms can be difficult.
Work Isn’t Play Time
My Danish friends have remarked on the difference in work cultures between the US and Northern Europe. In the US, we work nine-hour days, of which several hours are wasted on ping pong tournaments, low-value meetings, and water cooler chit-chat. In Northern Europe, workdays are often six hours long, for four days a week, and deeply focused on high value work. Recreational chit-chat is left for after the workday is done.I very much adhere to a Northern European work style, which often doesn't mesh with the standard American work culture.
Tinkering Instead of Producing
I over-invest in improving the efficiency of the gear ratio in the box, instead of simply turning the wheel and getting the work done. When I should be grinding and just getting it done, instead I’m optimizing the systems, tweaking the tech stack, and trying to program that handy automation.
Unrealistically High Expectations
A recurring theme in my life is setting unachievable standards for myself and others, while still trying to maintain a healthy balance in other areas. I tend to see people as their best selves and engage with that idealized version of them, instead of accepting who they really are with their current limitations.
Information Fire House
Doesn't everyone want to know all the details and why we made each choice? And don't they want this information delivered at lightning speed? I tend to over-explain the why and how.
It's not because I'm lazy or moving too quickly. My spelling and grammar skills are just deplorable despite a metric ton of effort to resolve that challenge.
Most carnivorous animals have a "prey drive" hardwired into their nervous system. To be balanced, they need prey to hunt down, and when they are on the hunt, tunnel vision develops.
I also have a high "Prey Drive," meaning:
A) I must have clear prey to chase; otherwise, I'll spin out and chew up a couch or pick my own prey, even if it's not yours.
B) When I get my teeth into something, I don't drop it easily. I'm dedicated and not likely to drop it just because you tell me to.
C) When I'm on the hunt, I'll ignore other priorities.
D) If I don't like the prey you tell me to go after or if the hunt involves navigating swampy terrain (like toxic political/social structures), I'm not going to go hunting, and I will leave and find another project. I'm a carnivorous primate, but I don't function well when my coat is covered in mud and I can't move in my natural strengths. It's not weakness; it's wisdom to hunt in the territory I'm strong at and leave other territories to others.
We wouldn't ask a shark to chase down a gazelle, and you wouldn't expect a lion to hunt a dolphin.