Extracts: Justine Musk, Elon’s ex wife: “One reason they become the entrepreneurs they become is because they can’t or don’t or won’t fit into the structures and routines of corporate life. They are dyslexic, they are autistic, they have ADD, they are square pegs in round holes, they piss people off, get into arguments, rock the boat, laugh in the face of paperwork.”
Autism and other cognitive differences aren’t always disabilities or disorders.
That’s why Google, Microsoft and Virgin advertise for employees on the spectrum; not as part of a charity employment initiative, but because of the special skills and unique abilities they bring with them.
Square holes for square pegs: Current practice in employment and autism By Daniel Wiles, Disability Consultant
Here’s the opening paragraph: People with autism think and behave differently to others and employers must recognise the need to make them feel comfortable. In essence, employers need to be prepared to make adjustments for employees with autism, instead of attempting to force a ‘square peg into a round hole’. It is possible to create a square hole for a square peg: a workplace willing to shape itself around a person will enable the person to be productive. Workplaces are shaped by the working environment, organisational culture and open communication. Workplaces that accept difference, such as the difference presented by autism, can benefit hugely from adapting to allow people to fit in.
I recommend this well written report.
NLP identifies behaviour traits called meta programmes. Over thirty of these have been identified but for this example I will use the five dimensions discussed in Successful NLP by Jeremy Lazarus
These are shown in the table below
My preferences and their strengths, together with those of a hypothetical client are shown following:
Plotting those as a radar plot gives these peg shapes:
So a procedure led, detail focussed role in an organisation that is averse to change and micro managed is not going to be a good fit for me, while a senior role in a growing entrepreneurial company, managed by shared values, vision and belief would be ideal.
If the star shapes are not similar there will be a clash and the peg won’t fit the hole!
My MBTI classification is ENTP. If I plot how strong my preferences are in these dimensions, I get chart below where 5 is the maximum possible score.
That’s my ‘peg shape’. If the organisation or people that I am working with have a similar ‘peg shape’ there will be harmony.
But if I’m working with and organisation that is predominately ISFJ, then that peg shape will clash with mine.
There’s more on clashing MBTI types in the article The MBTI Likeability Index: Which Types Naturally Like You, and Which Don’t?
My MBTI profile is ENTP and there are 16 types in the MBTI classification. The Truity website summarises the key differences in the MBTI traits as follows (chart added by the author, text from Truity)
Bold text shows the MBTI classification letter.
|Extraversion/Introversion Dimension: This dimension refers to where you focus attention and get your energy
|Extraverts are focused on the external world and other people, and are energized by external stimulation and interaction with others.
||Introverts are more focused on their internal world, thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and get energy from spending time in solitary activity or quiet reflection.
|Sensing/INtuition Dimension: This dimension refers to how you prefer to take in information
|Sensors gather information in a very concrete, detail-oriented, and factual way. They tend to be practical and oriented to the present moment.
||INuitives tend to be more abstract in their perceptions, and tend to think more about meaning, connections, and possibilities. Intuitives are often more imaginative than realistic.
|Thinking/Feeling: This dimension refers to how you prefer to make decisions
|Thinkers prefer decisions that are based on facts or data, and like to reason things out logically
||Feelers prefer decisions that are consistent with their values and help to build harmonious relationships.
|Judging/Perceiving: This dimension refers to how you prefer to organize your life
|Judgers tend to prefer structure, schedules, and plans. They like clear expectations and feel accomplishment from completing tasks.
||Perceivers prefer an open-ended, spontaneous and flexible existence. They enjoy feeling that their options are open and that there are many possibilities available.
That doesn’t mean that all the traits of an ENTP personality apply to me. For example, I often prefer to work alone so that I can follow my ideas without distraction and explanations. I tend to see problems and solutions quickly and focus on achieving these. This sometimes means that following documented procedures and rules may take a lower priority than achieving the right end result. In NLP terms of meta programmes, my preference is for Options over Procedures I’m more of doer than a documenter! I prefer action to the paralysis of analysis and am a great believer in the 80:20 rule of spending time on getting things 80% there, with exceptions according to risk.
The website Understanding the Myers Briggs Type Indicator provides more details of MBTI. The key thing is that we are all different and we need to recognise these differences to work effectively together. No personality type is better than another, but there are differences that that should be recognised in our careers and relationships.
I’m not an expert on MBTI but my thinking started from the point of view of fitting square pegs into round holes. Please criticise and comment so that these thoughts can be developed further.
For another view on square pegs, I recommend the white paper SQUARE PEGS AND ROUND HOLES available via the link on sign up from So
In NLP, a meta programme basically describes how our personalities are ‘wired’. In the description of the Matcher – Mismatcher personalites following, Mismatcher personalities are what I associate with Square Pegs:
‘A person with a matcher response type is often optimistic, approving and tends to find similarities and common ground while interacting with others. In order to influence, motivate and build rapport with a matching personality, you’ll be more successful reflecting their experiences, beliefs, values and perceptions. Creating a sense of likeness will help you to develop a healthy emotional bond and greater levels of trust.
People who understand the world through mismatching are often more individualistic and may go against the grain. They tend to first see differences in situations, experiences and others, which can make them difficult to manage on a team, but extremely valuable to drive innovation and growth. In order to create positive influence and build rapport with this person you will need to understand the purpose of their questioning focus and how it can actually serve your greater vision by providing balance and stretching the group to new limits & visions’
The full article, from Tony Robbins, is here: https://www.tonyrobbins.com/stories/influential-power-meta-programs/
An article from From Ann Mehl, annmehl.com , retrieved 7th December 2017.
Square Peg Round Hole – Women’s Adventure Magazine
Comment from me: People need to find the hole that fits them to realise their true potential