Demystifying Resourcefulness – What is it, Examples, and Importance

Demystifying Resourcefulness

Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr states, “The ability to extract maximum value from resources while creating minimum waste is a profitable skill to have.” Though all human beings possess a unique skill set or competency, building your skills in resourcefulness enables you to successfully deal with all workplace challenges. Being resourceful is an imperative skill that can make you a perfect fit and a valuable asset to any business or organization. Also, because of budgetary controls and cost-cutting, the only way to manage your work and projects is to work smarter and be more resourceful. This means you need to find ways to use your available resources or work within the constraints to achieve your goals. Read on to learn more about this necessary skill, its examples and importance, and how a team or organization can enhance their resourcefulness.

Defining Resourcefulness

Let’s understand the definition of this term. Resourcefulness is the competency or ability to find fast and ingenious ways to overcome some challenges and get tasks done in the face of constraints and some obstacles. This means dealing with the tasks in front of you and optimally utilizing what you have at hand. This means that you are efficiently utilizing whatever you have rather than wasting your bandwidth on what you wish to have — to make the task or project a success. Resourcefulness is a combination of your mindset and a smart work strategy and helps leaders to come up with innovative ideas to bring in efficiencies and unlock unexploited potential and solutions. Additionally, resourcefulness also means finding solutions when a clear and straightforward solution may not be available. Hiring managers always wish for resourceful employees as they mostly demonstrate useful skills and passion toward their target by applying their problem-solving approach.

In other words, resourcefulness can be termed as an attitude or a unique way of approaching the challenges at hand. Being resourceful means:

  • You should be strategic to leverage your resources in the best possible manner
  • Optimally using the resources or skills you have
  • Not wasting any time, effort, or money
  • Being adaptable and flexible
  • Thinking beyond the usual 
  • Having the willingness to learn or try new skills or upskill oneself when required
  • Finding alternative ways to manage a challenge rather than giving up

Examples of Resourceful Skills

Now that you know how resourcefulness is so important to succeed in your professional and personal arena, let’s take a look at some examples of resourceful skills that you should develop and put into practice.

1) Adaptability

Enhancing your adaptability could go a long way in improving your acceptability and responding positively to any changes in your environment. Recognizing your capabilities and developmental areas enables you to attain your goals and complete new tasks more efficiently. Having said that, accepting different approaches to your work and mastering strategies to adjust to dynamic factors, situations or environments is a very valuable skill in organizational set up. If you view problem-solving as a process, you need to first clearly define the challenge or problem, and then explore all likely solutions. Next, you can evaluate each solution, and implement the best one out of those. 

2) Patience

Patience is one of the key virtues that contribute to your resourcefulness. Think of yourself in a tough situation. Though most people would get affected by the stress created by this unexpected situation or circumstance, a resourceful individual will always think differently and deal with the issue at hand with patience and focus. Patience enables one to pause, analyze the challenge without bias or getting distracted, and then find a strategic solution. Such patience would always arise from the awareness that every challenge surely has a solution and it’s simply how we approach the problem. 

3) Open-mindedness

Being open-minded is a big factor in enabling a person to optimally utilize all the resources at hand. Open-minded professionals are able to craft better plans and execute out-of-the-box solutions as they can openly listen to diverse opinions and come up with more effective solutions. This comprises being open to various beliefs, perspectives, ideas, and cultures and having the ability to reflect on your own thoughts, decisions, and experiences. It also includes being empathic to individuals around you and honing your mental strength and reasoning skills.

4) Coordination

To execute and deliver any project, you need to coordinate with many other departments or teams to plan and implement aspects of a project that can be streamlined to make the workflow smoother for everyone involved. It may sound like a cliché, but for almost all tasks, teamwork is imperative to deliver them successfully. Also, perfect coordination between team members will increase the productivity of individuals and reduce the errors. Therefore, the ability to work as a team helps to minimize the possibility of difference of opinion or clashes and helps to produce a better output.

5) Creativity

Another important attribute for a person to be resourceful is creativity or the ability to figure out innovative solutions to problems. This means always being open while thinking and not being limited by the constraints. Having a creative mindset is also a key component of resourcefulness, as it enables you to use the existing resources in some unconventional or new way to attain the desired results. Being creative includes contributing to the improvement of products and procedures with new ideas and displaying initiative promptly and independently. Additionally, it includes drafting operational policies and guidelines that effectively utilize the available resources.

6) Initiative

Unlike waiting for someone to give you instructions or direction, taking initiative means evaluating situations and then making decisions. This helps you take that leap of faith with a sense of ownership and helps to improve your performance. Attention to detail and noticing areas of development where you or your process can improve demonstrate your quick thinking and ability to make smart decisions. Taking initiative also displays your confidence and an ability to respond to challenges and resolve them independently and without a delay.

7) Persistence

Being persistent in the face of challenges or problems requires a sharp focus and dedication until you find the best solution. Persistence is another important attribute to develop for being resourceful. It’s an important skill both in terms of your personal and career development as it enables you to learn from the mistakes and consider them as an experience. Displaying persistence also inspires you to keep working until you accomplish your set goals.

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Ways to Develop Resourcefulness as a Team and as an Organization

Let’s now look at some ways to develop your resourcefulness skills as a team or as a business.

1) Recognize the challenges

Imagine that you can foresee certain challenges or roadblocks in a project or for your team. Can you come up with potential solutions to address them with your team? To be able to resolve any challenges that might crop up during the development lifecycle of a project, the first step is to utilize your resources to predict the challenges. This gives you an opportunity to prevent or reduce the chances of those obstacles. Organizations value employees who can take initiative and identify likely challenges so that they can find alternatives to resolve them.

2) Instill resourcefulness in the culture

Resourcefulness is a skill and a mindset that can be imbibed. All businesses should make it their priority to embed resourcefulness in their organizational vision and culture. For example, instilling innovative approaches, resilience, providing the employees with more authority for trying new options for problem-solving, and considering challenges as opportunities is something that every organization should aim for. 

3) Slow down and find your North Star 

Finding your north star means analyzing your internal compasses, identifying your core desires or purpose and then charting out a plan accordingly. Many businesses keep on operating in a rut and are never able to find their North Star. However, when they hit a roadblock and get an opportunity to do a root cause analysis for their failure, they realize where they were going wrong. At times, entrepreneurs and organizations also realize that they are just chasing timelines and don’t know their strengths or North Star. However, some businesses are brave enough to take that leap of faith and follow their purpose. To do this, it’s important to slow down, clarify your goals and mission, and then prioritize the best possible path for meeting them. 

4) Be proactive

Being proactive means thinking positively and having responsiveness. Resourcefulness means having the ability to be objective when you are faced with challenges so that you can formulate the right strategies to resolve them. But the question is: how can you do that? A proactive mindset can be achieved by identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Some examples are making a to-do list, setting a priority for all tasks, taking initiative, and actively participating at work. It also includes following up in a timely manner, sending updates to stakeholders regularly, planning work on time, and then communicating openly and effectively with your team members.

5) Redefine the possible

Nandan Nilekani, who is one of the co-founders of InfoSys, once encouraged his fellow countrymen to “Redefine the possible” and realize ways to leverage their strengths and talents to fulfill their goals. So, how can we redefine what is possible? By being open minded and looking at things from a new perspective and identifying new possibilities, The leader who can take initiative and say, “Yes, this is possible and we can do this,” is someone who can push everyone forward to take action and think out of the box.

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6) Utilize the excellence available in the team

A team always comprises a mix of people – some would be excelling at certain tasks, while others may be average and yet some may be struggling. So, the best strategy is to utilize the pocket of excellence available in the team and share best practices with the ones who are average performers. Research proves that re-using some tried-and-trusted ideas always speeds up innovation.

7) Get inspired by your competition

Looking at what your competitors do in terms of products, strategy, marketing, etc. can be productive. It can help to inspire new ideas and inspiration for your products and business. For example, strategy to drive traffic, add features to your products, pricing of the products, and the positioning of the brand. You can also learn how to design your website and offer things that they are not offering.

8) Not operating in silos and enhance data visibility

Working in silos is bad for an organization or business as there is a lack of visibility if teams are disconnected. Also, if teams work in silos, it takes a lot of time to collect information and validate data at an organizational level. Breaking down such organizational silos will always save resource time and ensure data-driven decision-making.

9) Set up cross-functional teams to handle systemic issues

As we just discussed, disconnected teams can be the cause of various delays, particularly if a workflow runs through several departments. While reviewing the operational workflow, it’s important that individual teams do not just look at their individual processes. Having some cross-functional teams review or audit the end-to-end workflow is imperative.

10) Sharing the lessons

To encourage people to use their resourcefulness, leaders should praise people’s accomplishments and successes. Resourceful people should be lauded and recognized so that they can share their learnings with others. Resourcefulness is a critical skill in today’s dynamic and competitive world and should not be only used in times of crisis. It’s wise to train people in this skill by sharing tips with them and prepare them to utilize it in their day to day operational tasks.

11) Don't hesitate to seek help

Resourceful people are mostly quite skilled at not only problem-solving, but they do not shy away from asking for help when required. Resourcefulness is not synonymous to standing on our own and not asking for help. If you feel stuck, seek advice and get the needed support from others. This is also a form of resourcefulness and is in no way your weakness. If you think no one in your workplace will be able to help, then just leverage some online community or resources and connect with other professionals in your skill area or entrepreneurs or even advisors.

12) Be innovative

Resourcefulness is about optimally utilizing whatever you have to get your work done. Innovation does not always mean creating something fresh or new. It also means making existing things function in a better manner. For example, we maintain our facilities such as office buildings, manufacturing units, transport, etc. Figuring out how and which tools to use to maintain an old or existing machinery, tool, or facility is also innovation and resourcefulness in action.

13) Adopt new technology

With more and more digital transformation and the use of the latest technologies, you need to adopt the latest tools and solutions to gain operational and cost advantages. Leveraging the latest tools and software minimizes manual and redundant tasks and enhances collaboration while saving time and effort. The saved resources can be deployed for other strategic tasks or projects resulting in increased productivity and profitability. For example, implementing a resource planning and management tool can help to streamline your project and resource management. By incorporating the right resource planning and management tool into the early phases of project development, businesses can enhance their resource utilization, raise their productivity, and deliver projects in a timely manner.

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