We are all acutely aware that the world will be different following coronavirus and with so much control taken out of our hands, even the most organised and determined of us can find it challenging to remain positive and focused. During this time, many individuals and companies will thrive, and the key to achieving this is a super-power. This super-power is resourcefulness.
Resourcefulness is about finding quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties, figuring out how to break through those surmountable barriers and in doing so, spot opportunities which others can’t. Essentially, resourcefulness is the most important competency there is. It’s a mixture of many rolled into one; including creativity, energy, intelligence, initiative, pragmatism, risk taking and tenacity. These are all traits which we need as individuals to be successful in balancing work, health and family life as well as for companies whose income has declined or ceased following social distancing.
As commercial properties are locked up and empty, machinery sits idle and products sit on shelves with customers unable to purchase them - any companies are increasingly finding their assets are no longer working for them. The successful ones are finding ways to be resourceful with the resources they have. Looking around, there are great examples of businesses taking this approach by exploiting these different traits - take creativity. Restaurants are turning their dining in experience into take out and brands including Wagamama’s and McDonalds are showing customers how to create their most popular meals at home. For many it’s about generating some revenue and in doing so, they’re keeping customers connected to the brand which will be essential to drive footfall when we no longer need to cook for ourselves.
As individuals, we’re at our creative best when we’re curious, open-minded and imaginative. For business leaders, the key is to encourage this within teams. Adobe’s State of Create global benchmark study unearthed 8 out of 10 people felt creativity was the key to economic growth yet it was sacrificed for productivity. Creativity may be difficult to embrace or balance when faced with the immediate situation, however it’s important that teams have the free space to think and are given the confidence to pursue new thoughts and options in line with the organisation’s strategic goals. At your home workspace, having a visual brain storming or problem-solving board can be a way to keep creativity front of mind and if you can see it, the chances are you’ll add to it or action it regularly. Likewise, scheduling a weekly, 15-minute team ideas session can allow individuals to share their thinking and in doing so, allow others to question, contribute to them and develop these ideas further.
Pragmatism is another attribute of resourcefulness. Being able to compromise or accept that you can’t get everything you want can help companies create action and move forward quicker. Whilst many business leaders will be worried that the current environment will speed up industry disrupting innovation, essentially the disruption has happened. Instead, we’re all having to be pragmatic by adapting our processes and systems brought on by enforced, remote working. Berwick Partners and Odgers is a prime example of this. Lockdown has allowed us to bring forward digital transformation and whilst in an ideal world, we may have organised a staged approach to training and adoption, we’ve delivered remote, bite sized training quickly in order to bring it forward. In accepting a different approach, our clients will benefit from an enhanced customer experience and more comprehensive insights, which will put us in good stead, providing competitive advantage both during and after the pandemic.
As individuals we can be more pragmatic by thinking ‘how can I get this done’? This question focuses on the outputs required to make a new task or project happen rather than focusing the outcome. This is important right now because we cannot control the outcomes. A real-life example is how we’re all managing to balance work with interruptions from pets and children. In many instances work no longer needs to be (or cannot be) 9-5 and activities may be carried out early in the morning or late at night, allowing teams to work when they’re at their most productive.
Whether we’re at home or at work, all we can do right now is work with what we have. This means making the most of every interaction, the best of the resources we have available and focusing on what will make a difference. We should all be celebrating the small wins, praising initiative and encouraging those trying new things, just like we do with our children at home. By repeating and rewarding resourcefulness, we’ll be better equipped to get through the challenges ahead.