Book Review: Asperger's and Adulthood-A Guide to Working, Loving, and Living With Asperger's Syndrome
Brad was an incredibly bright young executive with a very promising future. Ever since graduating college, he seemed to take on increased responsibilities in his company like a duck to water. He married his college sweetheart, Nancy, right after graduation and has two small children. Brad's talent didn't go unnoticed in the industry, with several competitors approaching Brad about his willingness to join another firm. He steadfastly resisted, that is until the offer of all offers came his way.
Cantata Group, a larger and more prominent competitor to his current company, wined and dined Brad and ultimately offered him a VP position with a higher salary and better benefits. The offer was too good to pass up so Brad talked with Nancy about the job and they both became enamored with how this was going to advance Brad's career and what they would be able to do with the extra money. Brad joyfully accepted Cantata's offer, gave his current company two weeks' notice, and started in his new VP role.
Within a year of joining Cantata, he noticed some unexpected side effects of his new position. He was required to be in weekly global executive virtual meetings which could happen at any time of the day or night. He was routinely working 60+ hours a week, missing dinner with Nancy and the kids. He traveled at least once a week, many times to put out fires at clients. His eating habits were horrendous and he wasn't exercising due to his schedule. He began putting on weight. Nancy was frustrated with him not being around and his kids missed their daddy. The stress was unbearable and led to Brad one day grabbing his chest and collapsing during a customer meeting.
Greg, a team leader, is meeting with team members Tarun and Priyanka. “So, you’ll get that report done next week?” he said to them.
“Sure thing,” Tarun said.
“Great, see you next week. Have a good weekend.”
Greg gets up and leaves the room. Priyanka closes the door after Greg leaves.
“Why did you agree to get the report done?” asked Priyanka, who had just transferred to Greg’s team and had no experience working with him.
Tarun smiled. “Don’t worry about it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Greg does this all the time. He makes these off-the-wall requests then totally forgets that he even asked us to do something. I used to burn the midnight oil stressing over meeting the requests—only to find out he didn’t even remember asking me. I learned to ignore the requests since they probably would never be brought up again.”
“So, you just say you’ll do it, then do nothing?” Priyanka asked.
Tarun got up and walked toward the door. “Yup, you’ll get the lay of the land here soon enough.”
“Um, okay,” Priyanka said as she got up to leave the meeting room.
*** *** ***
Tarun had been burned multiple times by seemingly important requests from Greg, only to find out that nothing would come of the hard work. Ironically, Tarun was able to positively influence his work satisfaction by not spending time on things he knew Greg would never bring up again. He figured out one of his manager’s biggest weaknesses...
Read more at ProjectManagement.com.
Our son, Trevor, has worked for our company twice—once right after he graduated from college in 2015, and again in September 2021 after working three years at a non-profit. His official title is Chief Storyteller.
Since working for us, Trevor has written and published two books, re-illustrated a third, and is actively learning the publishing business. He also has a goal of writing young adult books, and as of this writing is working on his first fiction piece.
Trevor was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 6, and throughout his life has had his share of challenges. When we first hired Trevor, we were faced with how to align on goals, give him some flexibility as to how he achieved the goals, and avoid micro-managing him with frequent “What are you working on today?” requests.
To address the need, we devised something we call the “dones” process, which aligns us on long-term goals and short-term deliverables that align to the long-term goals. We have successfully been using this throughout his employment tenure, and it has proven to be effective in keeping my wife Patty and I aligned with Trevor’s work.
After I told a few colleagues about the process, I consistently heard how valuable this could be for neurotypical people, not just for people on the autism spectrum. So I wanted to explain precisely how we manage to dones and provide a tool you can use with your leader (or if you are a leader yourself, use with your staff).
Read more on ProjectManagement.com.
Driving to an optimal work-plan level of detail means balancing accurate reporting of progress with the degree of effort to needed manage the work plan. When a work plan is too high-level, task progress is left more to subjective assessment, which can create surprises as due dates approach.
When the work plan is too low-level, then administering the work plan becomes a project in and of itself—coupled with team member frustration with too many status reports. To balance the level of detail and reduce surprises, I’ve adopted a 1:1:1 principle for task level of detail, as follows...
Read more at ProjectManagement.com
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