Sunday, June 5, 2011

Demonstrating Value in the workplace beyond your focused interests; keeping ASD folk employed

A few years ago I worked for a rather unenlightened executive who referred to anyone not in sales as 'non-revenue generating employees'. The reason I considered that exec unenlightened is that in any company, even a not for profit, every employee better be involved in creating the product sold by the company. To make a logical argument take cars; if a car company only hired Sales people they would have zero revenue. Every single person from the designer to the person who announces when a sales person is needed in a given part of the lot is participating in bringing in revenue for that company.

So how does that related to ASD? As an employee you are involved in bringing in revenue so know your worth and demonstrate your worth. A person on the Spectrum's natural tendency is to become so focused on what our obsession is that we lose touch with the larger picture of a business. However we do not focus on our obsessions so much that we ignore eating, relieving ourselves and other necessities. Think of understanding the business as one more puzzle to unravel and one more thing to add to the 'must do to survive list'.

You will be amazed at how well you are perceived when you can talk about the business or even ask about the business; even though you may say odd things or come across as aloof it is a feather in your cap when someone can say "She/He really knows the business" and help bulletproof you against attacks. Keep in mind that communication and connection with others is not just an emotional one when inside the company; perceived dedication and interest in the business is valuable as well

So with any job you have know these things:

  1. Who are the competitors
  2. What advantage does your company offer in relation to the competitors; what do they offer that your company does not
  3. What is the overall revenue for your market space (i.e. the area your company and its competitors fight it out in)
  4. What is your company's annual revenue
  5. How many employees work for your company
  6. What are the latest innovations in the area that your company is in

Once you have these answered you can take these next steps:

  1. When speaking about your competitors internally be sure to stress the advantage your company provides; makes you look like a 'company person'
  2. Ask yourself how you can help your company overcome the advantages of the competitor, if nothing comes to mind ask your boss the same question; makes you look interested in the outcome of the company
  3. Divide your company's revenue by the total revenue for the market; ask yourself how you can help grow that market share and again, if nothing comes to mind, ask your boss; as before makes you seem tied to the outcome of the company
  4. Take the company's annual revenue and divide by employees which gives you the mean revenue you are responsible for. If your salary is higher than that look for ways to justify that gap and keep in mid for you to be making more than average revenue percentage someone else has to make less; add skills and knowledge that helps justify a larger percentage.
  5. When you know the latest innovations you can then emulate or copy them at your company, or it might spur you on to a moment of creativity to do an innovation in your workplace.

These actions will help you retain the job at hand in spite of whatever NT/ASD gap there is. You will be seen as quirky but valuable and any smart company wants to keep valuable people because we all are involved in generating revenue.

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