Kate Griggs, Founder and CEO, Made By Dyslexia

Kate Griggs is the founder and CEO of the global charity Made By Dyslexia, host of the Lessons in Dyslexic Thinking podcast and the author of This is Dyslexia (Penguin) and Empowering Dyslexic Thinking at Work, a free access course on LinkedIn Learning.


The workplace is transforming and businesses are struggling to hire the right talent to keep up. Technology like AI is taking on more tasks at work, which means that companies are more desperate than ever for staff who have the ‘soft’ skills AI can’t replicate – skills like adaptability, emotional intelligence, creativity, and innovation. And there is one specific pool of talent organisations should look to: Dyslexic Thinkers.

Why? Because some of the biggest changemakers in business have been Dyslexic Thinkers – from Henry Ford and Steve Jobs to Richard Branson and IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad. And Dyslexic Thinkers will drive the future success of organisations. The World Economic Forum’s ‘Skills for the Future’ are an exact match for the skills associated with Dyslexic Thinking. The unique challenges that leaders are facing need unique minds to solve them, so it’s vital every organisation understands the benefits and value of Dyslexic Thinking — or risk getting left behind.

What are Dyslexic Thinking Skills?

Dyslexic Thinking was recently added to dictionary.com, where it is defined as:

“An approach to problem solving, assessing information, and learning often used by people with dyslexia, that involves pattern recognition, spatial reasoning, lateral thinking and interpersonal skills”.

Dyslexic brains process information differently. Our neural pathways are different from someone who is not dyslexic, meaning we literally think differently. This sometimes results in a pattern of challenges, like with spelling, reading, and memorising facts. But, more importantly, it gives us a pattern of valuable strengths too, which we refer to as Dyslexic Thinking skills.

These Dyslexic Thinking skills include:


Dyslexics are great at creating new pieces of work or giving new ideas a completely new spin. Many dyslexics are great visualisers, which means they can take a problem as a whole and imagine how something will look after changes. Dyslexics who are good at visualising in your organisation may be able to visualise complex user journeys or see project plans come together in their mind. They may excel at product development and seeing a challenge from multiple angles in their mind.


In an organisation, dyslexics who excel at imagining drive innovation. Because they see the world differently, Dyslexic Thinkers can come up with new ideas and approaches that no one else has thought of. As we move forward and embrace new technologies, we need workers who can imagine the unimaginable, adapt and create. Dyslexic Thinkers offer exactly this.


It can be easy to get caught up in typos and writing errors at work, but once employers look past that, they will notice Dyslexic Thinkers are often great communicators. These kinds of Dyslexic Thinkers excel at simplifying concepts, building narratives or selling a vision. These skills can help make them great leaders by building, supporting, and empowering teams, people, and organisations.


Many Dyslexics have above average reasoning skills, which means they can make connections across complex issues and come up with innovative solutions to problems. Dyslexics often talk about having sudden leaps of insight that help us to tackle challenges in an unconventional way. We use our intuition, our brains think around a problem and connect the dots of insight, which makes dyslexics a huge asset in any team or on any project.


Dyslexic Thinkers excel in empathising, negotiating, and expressing themselves orally. They’re also highly self-aware. These skills help make them great leaders who can build, support, and empower teams, people, and organisations.


Dyslexic minds energise a workplace. Our natural curiosity drives us to seek out new things, learn new skills, and find different ways to do things. The energy and passion we use to do it means the most is learnt, and it inspires others.

How to attract Dyslexic Thinkers

These skills highlight the value that Dyslexic Thinking can bring to any workplace. But dyslexia is still largely misunderstood, and recruitment teams often overlook Dyslexic Thinkers. This is because many organisations still hire using standardised tests that do not suit dyslexics’ non-standard, divergent thinking.

How can leaders tailor their recruitment processes to align with Dyslexic Thinking?

  1. ACKNOWLEDGE Dyslexic Thinking in all recruitment materials and show you value it. Ensure your HR and Talent department are all trained in understanding it.
  2. SPECIFY Dyslexic Thinking skills in job role profiles and job adverts, like creativity, problem solving etc.
  3. REVIEW your methods of recruiting to ensure that Dyslexic Thinking is not being disadvantaged by your processes. Help dyslexic candidates show their abilities with a mix of skills-based assessments and interviews.
  4. TEST your recruitment process with the dyslexics in your organisation – consult your Employee Resource Group (ERG) or dyslexic community – to help you spot which parts are potentially filtering out the talent you need.
  5. CATEGORISE dyslexia as a skill, rather than a disability, and don’t insist any employees are formally assessed before triggering reasonable adjustments – a self-declaration of dyslexia should be enough.

Creating workplaces that empower Dyslexic Thinking

Organisations must go beyond recruitment and ensure that they nurture cultures where Dyslexic Thinkers are properly supported, empowered and have equal opportunities to thrive. To do this, leaders should redefine dyslexia as a skill and highlight the strengths of Dyslexic Thinking through organisation-wide training. As a result, you will create a culture of openness and inclusion where Dyslexic Thinkers feel understood and valued. When Dyslexic Thinkers feel recognised for their strengths and not penalised for their difficulties, they can make the most of the vital skills they offer, which benefits the whole organisation.

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