Updated: Aug 14, 2019
“It doesn’t matter how many resources you have.
If you don’t know how to use them,
it will never be enough.”
This photo speaks volumes. I refer to it as the PILE UP. The misuse and mismanagement of internal resources (people, time, finances, etc) can lead to losses for your business. Effective resource management is critical for any organization. For purposes of this article, let us focus on one type of resource - PEOPLE.
The art of “being resourceful” is knowing how to strategically utilize current internal and external resources so that current strategic short-term and long-term goals and initiatives have a higher likelihood of success. People are critical to achieving such goals. If not utilized properly, your business may experience employee burnout, high turnover, unequipped teams, and untapped potential.
The following best practice tips will guide to be both an effective, resourceful leader and business owner:
1. Notice when your business is at a point where change is needed
As a leader in your company, you should stop to notice when change is needed, especially during times of growth and changes in the external marketplace. Are your resources, people and teams being used optimally? The first step to fixing a pile up, is acknowledging there is a pile up.
2. Know your talent base and current resources
Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current talent base in regard to their current job roles.
3. Realize your “untapped” knowledge base and potential
Understanding staff strengths and limits in their current role is one thing, but do you know what other talents your team possesses? The truth is, most people are multi-talented and their skills go beyond the confines of a job description. Assess "untapped" knowledge and potential by observing or asking about other interests and capabilities. For example, your cashier may also be an amazing graphic designer. While he is ringing up customers and providing top customer service, he may also be a talented graphic artist who wants to grow his skill set and portfolio. Maybe he can and is willing to assist in branding initiatives.
4. Build on knowledge and potential
Now that you know your teams' potential, build on it by providing additional training if needed to keep that skill set internal. This will show employees you appreciate their talents and believe in them enough to invest in them. This behavior demonstrates that you actually care about their growth and applying their skills. Perhaps create some round table discussions where people feel they have a seat at the table and able to create and provide input for the betterment of the company.
5. Cut down excess and redundancy
Within that pile up of resources, you may find unneeded resources. This happens as your business grows, priorities shift or in response to market demand. As such, your resources should always be assessed, moved around or "cleaned up" accordingly. Cut down on excess or redundancy of resources that no longer align with what is currently needed for the business. This is not an easy process, but it is necessary.
6. Delegate and organize accordingly
Delegate tasks and organize your people and teams according to short-term and long-term goals. Just like a football coach may re-position players on the field for the next play, focus on re-positioning your teams talent to company objectives.
7. Optimize performance and operations
Once you have your resources figured out and in place, it is time to optimize and strategically align them with your short-term and long-term goals.
8. Pace yourself
Just like an engine, there’s a time to ramp up and ramp down. A car going 100 mph non-stop will eventually burnout. People burnout. Best practice is to pace you and your people. Know and communicate to your teams when they should prepare to exert 150% and when they can ramp down to 40%. Running at speeds of 150% consistently will lead to underperformance, burnout and turnover. There’s a time for acceleration, time for “cruise control”, and time to slow down. Otherwise people begin to feel like a hamster in a hamster wheel- never getting anywhere.
9. Acknowledge and reward your staff who have gone over and beyond to achieve goals
Recognize those who have gone beyond their call of duty to contribute to the betterment of the business. If you see your company profiting from such individuals, be sure to reward your people. This incentivizes your team to stay in your business. They begin to see value in themselves and the contributions they make to the company. People want to feel valued and appreciated. Even a simple “thank you” goes a long way.
10. Know when you need to extend resources
Sometimes it’s important to take a step back for the sake of your people.
As a business leader, you may find you don’t have the valuable resource of time to manage resources and “be resourceful.” You may not be able to always use your current internal talent pool to meet objectives or to do things diff