Cameron Gott, PCC
ADHD Coaching for Leaders & Professionals


The Global Creative Blog

Master Structure Responder


Spiderman wouldn't be so awesome without his swinging gig. Am I right?

Spidey senses, web shooting, and velcro fingers aside, Peter Parker would be a ho-hum super hero if he could just run, jump and climb his way across New York City. If you are going to set up an awesome swinging system you need an awesome system of structures to attach the webbing to. The canyons of tall buildings in NYC provide the perfect environment for Spiderman to perform his signature swinging move.

When he swings, Spiderman is just responding to the optimal environment around him. The natural structures in place allow him to relish in the role of a Master Structure Responder.

What does this have to do with ADHD, Cam?

ADHD disrupts ones ability to create and maintain useful structures. Those who are Master Structure Builders will often scratch their heads as they observe a Master Structure Responder attempting to function at work either without positive structures (e.g. a positive work culture with clear objectives and role clarification) or worse, environments that provide negative structures (e.g. toxic environments, too much pressure, micro-managing bosses). For Master Builders, building structures is an innate process... planning a project over a time horizon, creating work-flow process or simply being on time. This makes sense since they can readily access their sequential (System 2) processor.

Master Responders innately build associations through their associative (System 1) processor. Association can only occur when there is some related structure near by. Sticking with the spider theme a spider cannot spin a web in midair. It needs a doorway to anchor its webbing. Likewise, Global Creatives need structures to anchor meaning to (by association or context).

The most successful ADHD entrepreneurs that I know locate structures and environments that allow them to respond their way to project completion. Like Spiderman's swinging between buildings, these structural landmarks provide them with an environment where they can perform.

Positive Structure Examples

  • Conscientious and supportive people with no hidden agenda

  • Positive work culture where open and honest dialogue is welcome

  • Clear distinction of roles and tasks outlined in Anatomy of a Task

We can be a tenacious lot and spend our time tolerating sub-optimal work environments - “I have to prove myself here before I can move on!”. Self-esteem can come into play too - “I’m not deserving of a better way!”

If Peter Parker lived with his aunt in Topeka, Kansas would you tell him to start building skyscrapers or tell him to get on a bus to NYC? Global Creative Master Structure Responders often think they have to become Master Structure Builders. This is not in our wiring. We are wired for response. Build just enough structure where you can set up some basic response practices.

Experiment with locating structures you can respond to. For me it is all about positive collaborations. I find that a simple appointment with a collaborator is an elegant way to create structure in my week. Each week I count upward of 10 of these collaborative meetings in my calendar. Each meeting provides an opportunity to position up ramps (prep) and down ramps (follow-up). With respect to deliverables, under promise and over produce to counter the nasty habit of promising castles in the sky. Have an agreement that you can show up without your homework completed as long as the collaborator can trouble-shoot the problem with you.

Want to find out more about your own wiring? Check out the Cognitive Peak Profile assessment offered by The Avalon Institute and find out if you prefer to build structures, respond to them or enjoy a mix of doing both.