Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Defining resourcefulness, part of Developing Resourcefulness.
- Let's think about what it means to be resourceful for a minute. Yes, it does mean to be crafty or clever, but it means much more. To be resourceful means to be able to create useful and unique solutions in challenging situations. Now, useful and unique are the cornerstones of creativity. Useful means your solution works and it's practical. Unique means the solution is interesting, unexpected, or clever. I also mentioned situations that are challenging or difficult.
For example, you could be facing a crushing deadline. Or maybe the situation is very new and foreign to you and you simply don't have a good base of experience. Or it could be that you know exactly what you want to do, but you don't have the resources to get it done. When you find creative solutions in tough situations, that's resourceful. It's a skill you have to have because you know what? You'll never have enough time, the perfect skills on your team, or a big enough budget. Let's consider a couple examples.
Here's the first situation: You're a brand manager of a product category that is well established with low growth rates. You of course want high growth rates. Well, the resourceful manager will look for solutions beyond their normal product category and industry. A great example historically was Procter & Gamble and the famous SpinBrush toothbrush. When P&G introduced the very successful SpinBrush it was a game changer. The P&G executives who made this happen were resourceful in two ways.
First, they looked outside their own industry for ideas, which was a serious departure from their normal practices. Second, they introduced completely never-before-used technology. The little engine that makes the SpinBrush spin. In fact, the inventors of the SpinBrush technology who sold it to P&G, first developed it and sold it to the candy industry. It was originally used for spinning lollipops. But the inventors and the P&G executives saw completely new possibilities.
That's resourceful. For a second example I'll share with your the concept of OPM, which stands for Other People's Money. This is a concept known to entrepreneurs and managers alike. For entrepreneurs, it's about using bank loans or other sources of funds to start a company instead of using their own money. For corporate managers the concept is also useful. Every manager has a finite budget but infinite needs. Sometimes they can't invest in certain things because there simply is no budget.
Other times if they are clever they can find money that is part of other budgets in other parts of the organization. For example, there might be funds set aside for certain types of innovation or education they can tap into. It's also possible for a manager to appeal to higher level authorities in an attempt to get special funding. Meaning it's not part of their normal budget and is being allocated on a one-time-only basis. Of course in addition, it's sometimes possible they might find funds available through industry groups or government programs, depending on the type of need.
These types of efforts don't always work out, but the resourceful manager will do the reasearch and seriously look for the opportunity. You see, in the end, there are limited number of hours in the day, and we all have a limited IQ, and you have a limited number of teammates with whom to work. But with practice you can get more out of all of those things through unlimited resourcefulness.