Understand The Wiring
As you drive through the entrance of Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, you quickly realize you’ve entered a different world. On the right, you notice a field of cows with huge horns that end in a sharp point. A brightly painted chicken house on wheels sits further on, surrounded by loudly cackling hens looking for lunch.
Inside several old stone farmhouses and some newer buildings scattered around the 450-acre grounds, the residents are busily working. Working with the cows in the dairy or the clay in the clay studio; harvesting vegetables in the greenhouses or the gardens if it’s the right time of year. And baking a variety of breads in the wood fired bakery oven, some to be used to make wonderful sandwiches at the café.
It’s a friendly place where everyone is happy to chat with you and explain what they’re doing while finding out what they can about you.
Camphill Village Kimberton Hills is an intentional community that includes people with a variety of developmental disabilities. For many years I was on its board, the last 4 or 5 years as president.
My time at Kimberton Hills has shaped my understanding of how there is a place and a job for everyone, no matter their skills and abilities. It has also helped me to understand just how important it is to recognize what people can and can’t do and to give them roles that put them in the best positions for success. It’s what makes Kimberton Hills a welcoming place for all the differently abled people who live there and it’s what contributes to success for all organizations.
I was reminded of this when I read the wonderful article in the Wall Street Journal by Alexandra Samuel called “What My Son With Autism Taught Me About Managing People”.
She shares how difficult it was to deal with her son until he was finally properly diagnosed and she “realized his brain was just wired differently from mine. I was able to recognize how often I was asking him to do something he couldn’t do, rather than something he wouldn’t do.”
Her journey to learn the connection between her son’s wiring and his talents led her to recognize the same connection in all her colleagues at work, and explained much about their behavior and skills.
The connection between wiring and talents applies to everyone—it even explains why the cats who wander around my house are so good at capturing field mice, while I am completely incompetent at this task.
Everyone in your organization is wired differently, and is equipped with unique skills. It’s important for you to recognize this and to delegate work accordingly. If someone isn’t doing what you expect them to do, understand that perhaps it’s not because they don’t want to do it, it’s because they can’t do it. They’re not wired to do it.
At Kimberton Hills there is a very detailed assessment process to figure out how someone’s wiring works. Once this is determined, it’s much easier to figure out what their skills are and thus the job they’ll be able to do and will like to do. A perfect fit.
Right person in the right seat with the right guidance and management. The path to happier people, happier employees, and better results.