Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Key Leadership Qualities - Resourcefulness

I found some great hints for this article at a blog called Lifehack, so, credit where credit is due. There's a lot to be said for having a good system and being prepared, but there are times that you just have to figure out a way to get things done. That's the subject matter for today - resourcefulness.

One of my youngest son's favorite programs is Mythbusters. It's a group of science geeks and former Hollywood stunt specialists who have a blast proving or disproving urban legends and myths. Some of their favorite projects are working on MacGyver themes. MacGyver has to be the poster boy for resourcefulness. On one show he made an explosive out of salt, sugar, and weed killer. I'm not sure if it would really work because my mother wouldn't let me try it. The point is that there needs to be a little bit of MacGyver in every leader.

Resourcefulness has been defined this way: Necessity + Creativity + Persistence = Resourcefulness. There are times in our leadership careers when we are faced with unforeseen circumstances that don't fit inside the box. What we do at those times will go a long way to determine our success or failure. So, what can we do? Here is some great advice that builds on the Lifehack article by Lorie Marrero.

Ask these questions:
Is there another way to get what I want?
Is the desired result really the best result?
Who else has information that might help me?
What is something very similar to what I need that might also work?
Who is the expert in this area?
What is one more thing I can try?
What would someone I admire do in this same situation?

Don’t reinvent the wheel
Look for a solution that someone else has already created. You'd be surprised at how many people would be glad to share. Why start from scratch when someone else may have already created it. You can learn almost anything from a book or - now - a google search. Look for affordable resources that are readily available. When you come across something you think might be helpful in the future, file it for later.

Have "Go-To" People
Who around you has faced the same situation and may already have the solution you're looking for? Who is just a couple of steps ahead of you that may have already figured this one out? Build and maintain a network of people you can call on for questions and support, and make sure you make yourself available to these same people when they need help from you. I've made it a practice of having mentors with different areas of expertise for just this kind of situation.

Be A Learner
If you are reading this article on the web, you most likely know the basics of querying your favorite search engine. However, many people do not know Boolean search techniques such as AND/OR searches and other ways of narrowing search results. Here is a great page of explanations about advanced features in Google. Even in these days of online information, don’t forget your local library and even the librarian!

Take an existing system or idea and improve on it. Put two things together to create something brand new. Think outside of the box.

Give Permission
A lot of leaders unwittingly create a culture of fear within their organization by criticizing what they see as crazy ideas. It reminds me of one of Walt Disney's teachers who criticized his artwork as a young child. She said, "Flowers don't have faces." He responded: "Mine do!" Who knows when the next great idea may come along looking foolish at the outset? So hold "blue sky meetings" with your staff where no-one's suggestion will be tossed out without consideration. You might be surprised at the outcome.

Pass It On
If your assistant or peers want to know some information, teach them how to look it up themselves, and show them reference books other than just the dictionary. When your team members come to a meeting with a problem, make it part of your company culture that they are expected to also show up with a proposed answer to that problem. Make sure that initiative is encouraged. We all tend to take the easy way out; we have to learn how to get creative and work for a solution. Model what it means to be a "can do" person. Find a way where there isn't one and they'll call you a pioneer.

Related Articles:
Key Leadership Qualities - Servanthood
Key Leadership Qualities - Security
Key Leadership Qualities - Communication
Key Leadership Qualities - Perspective
Key Leadership Qualities - Discernment
Key Leadership Qualities - Adaptability

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