Helping Your Team Member Who Has Autism Become More Productive

I’m Autistic. Two words, a lifetime of implications. People with Autism have hard enough lives without trying to get into the workforce. Or finding a job that suits them and their unique circumstances. People that have an Autism Spectrum Disorder need a little bit of help to assist them in doing their job. This can range from something as simple as more breaks to more complex things.

People with Autism work best without distractions

Have you considered putting your employee in the corner where they can’t see outside? People with Autism tend to become more distracted when they can see what’s going on outside. I worked in a Web Development firm at Stanmore for a short period, and I had a desk that overlooked the main stairway. I became distracted and didn’t get a lot of work done. It was not a fun experience and not one that I would recommend for anyone. Least of all if you’re on the spectrum.

Another thing is that Autistic People are quite good at focusing on one task, and are creative.

We like to do one thing at a time and get it sorted before we move onto the next task. We are also passionate about the work we do. We want to do it with perfection. But it needs to be within our interest areas.

Flexible Working Hours

Some people with Autism also need flexible working arrangements. So, for example, one day, they might be able to pump out 12 hours of work, but the next day, may not be able to come in at all. Or worse, they will burn out, and not be able to work at all. Learn about their strengths and weaknesses. Workaround them, and you’ll have a loyal employee that will work with you for a long time.

Learn more about working with people with Autism from Ben Cousins at the Smart Thinking Festival.

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Are You Customer Obsessed?

Luke Jekes, is the Former CEO of Naked Wines. He founded and led an online wine business that operates in the US, UK and Australia. Naked wines connects wine lovers and boutique wineries. They achieve this by using a subscription model. The consumers pay a monthly subscription to help fund the winery’s next vintage. They are then able to order their favourite wines. Their wines are paid for from their subscriptions. It’s a customer funded wine business.

Pouring Wine Naked Wines wine glasses

I asked Luke how this came about.

He replied: “The most important thing in the wine industry is that the only way this online business could work would be if we could have consumers that were “sticky” to the business. If we could get loyalty in perpetuity we would not have to be a business that is constantly out there chasing new sales. Instead what we could do is invest in loyalty in the consumer and if we did that we would have a sustainable business.”

“So we needed a model that did not trap consumers but made them want to stay. So the questions we had to answer were: How do you reinvent the wine club and its benefits with a subscription that had no cancellation fees, had no minimum period of membership, you could walk away at any time, and any money you put into the subscription you got back?”

“We found that a segment of wine consumers need to see a choice, a benefit, a feeling of being in control and where they feel they can connect with the values of the business. We felt that to keep customers in the long term we needed to make them feel proud – because they mattered and were part of the key wine choices being made and understood their role in making the business a success and the winemakers successful. Also proud because they feel they are doing good through the stories behind the winemakers that can’t happen without them”.

I asked Luke how this relates to customer-centricity. He said: “To me, you must have an “attract” model and not a “trap” model. It is a model where the customer plays a vital part in the success. So it is important for us to measure the customer lifetime value – that is how long they stay with us and how much they spend. That is much more important than today’s transaction. We believe that if we can get loyalty, we will get sales. We tested this by sending “high engagement” emails to half our consumers and “buy” emails to the other half. It turned out that the “engagement” emails created loyalty and those consumers bought more. We asked our consumers to rate their happiness with us. We found that people who rated us 5 stars (90%-100%) had much bigger lifetime value. So we set about investing to get 90%+ ratings by putting more people in the business, paying our staff more, investing in career programs for our staff and empowering them to empower our customers.

I asked Luke what the result has been. He said:

“From a standing start 5 years ago Naked Wines now has more than 100,000 angels. But more important than this number is the high level of loyalty. This has created a growing, profitable and sustainable business.’

A customer obsessed business has loyal customers that buy from you because they want to. Who stay with you because they see that you care and that they are important.  Businesses like Naked Wines create great customer experiences. They do this by investing in and empowering their people. This creates great customer experiences. This, in turn, translates into increasing customer lifetime value, sustainable profit and growth.

Dr Linden Brown is the author of The Customer Centric Imperative.

He will be speaking at the Smart Thinking Festival Parramatta. Limited tickets. Buy Now

Confidential Information – Keep Your Secrets Safe

Confidential information, also known as trade secrets.
What is confidential information? Examples include:

  • formula
  • devices
  • compilation of information (e.g. client lists)
  • know-how
  • salary information
  • formulas
  • specifications
  • patterns
  • inventions
  • unpublished works of authorship
  • software
  • industrial methods
  • techniques and processes
  • marketing and sales plans, and
  • marketing forecasts and pricing information

used in a business that gives the proprietor an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it.

The law determines whether is “confidential information” by considering the following factors:

  • Is the information widely known?
  • Is the information a secret?
  • Does the information have a value to the owner?

Answering Yes to all the above questions classifies the information as Confidential Information.

Claiming information is confidential does not make it “Confidential Information”.

For example: assume you and John enter into a confidentiality agreement. John gives you a copy of the front page of today’s Financial Review. The information on the front page of the Financial Review is known to the public. The Confidentiality Agreement does not alter the nature of the information. The information on the front page of today’s Financial Review remains public. No confidentiality agreement can change this fact. You will not breach the terms of the Confidentiality Agreement if you use any information on the front page of the Financial Review.


Most forms of intellectual property have a limited duration. Copyright is for the life of the author plus 70 years (there are some exceptions). The life of Confidential information is eternal. While the information is “secret”, it remains confidential information and protected by law.
The Coca Cola Recipe is a trade secret also known as Confidential Information
The key to keeping and guarding confidential information is secrecy.

John Stith Pemberton invented Coca Cola in 1886. The formula has remained secret for 133 years. No one can market or sell a product which is precisely the same as Coca Cola. Keeping the recipe for Coca Cola secret maintains its uniqueness. The courts will protect the secret from misappropriation. The formula for Coke being kept secret makes it Confidential Information.

A court will penalise a person who steals or wrongfully appropriates a secret. You cannot protect an idea from a competitor who independently comes up with the same idea. If someone
independently develops what you have found and
kept secret and makes the information available to the public
you lose your protection.

The responsibility for keeping the information secret lies with its owner. You should only reveal confidential information (the secret) on a need to know basis. Limit access to your confidential information.

Example: Only State Business Development Managers need to know who your customers are. Not all your sales staff. By all means, not the receptionist.

Confidential Information is your advantage over your competitors. Remember to keep your trade secrets SECRET. You are the only one who can maintain the competitve advantage given to you by the law protecting your Confidential Information.

Take this quiz to see if you have the knowledge to protect your businesses Intellectual Property.

Intellectual Property Quiz

Want to know more about Confidential Information and Intellectual Property in general?

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Check the Schedule here. Buy Tickets