Resourcefulness in simple terms would be to get the required things done by creatively optimizing the resources that you already have.
In his insightful article on this topic, Paul Graham talks about THE quality that he looks for in founders, THE quality that will set them apart: to be relentlessly resourceful.
In one his talks, Mark Suster, an entrepreneur turned VC explained his method of assessing entrepreneurs who reach out to him. When an entrepreneur gets in touch with him for the first time, Suster makes a mental note of where they are - sort of setting a benchmark point. When the same entrepreneur meets him after a certain period of time, Suster expects that he or she would have made a reasonable progress in terms of creating value. If they are resourceful they would have created more value in a reasonable amount of time.
The same logic applies to those in sales as well. If you are in sales there is always going to be a catch up game when it comes to having all the resources available to you to win a deal.
These resources may include (but not limited to)
• Your own time,
• Time from colleagues that need to chime in,
• Readiness of your offering to meet the customer needs
• Marketing materials to help you tell a great story
• Competitive analyses with other solutions your prospect is considering
and so on
The trick is in NOT aiming for availability of all resources, but in maximizing the combined power of ALL the resources that you do have available at this time.
So where do you start.
You start by being N.I.C.E
Let me explain by breaking this down
Notice: Most people are not even aware of all the resources that are available to them. If you don't ACTIVELY notice what's available to you, many things will be INVISIBLE to you. Resources rarely don't announce themselves and ask them to be considered as potential allies for you. You need help so it's your job to be alert and notice them.
Intention: If YOU are the only resource available to you, there is something wrong with the picture. By extracting more out of yourself, you are not being resourceful; you are just being more productive. You need to have the intention to set aside your ego (however smart you are, you can't do everything that's required) and be open to being a piece of the puzzle to make things happen. The larger the goal, smaller the puzzle piece, and that should be just fine if your intention and heart is in the right place.
Choreography: This is the core skill for you to be resourceful. You have to master the art of bringing the right resources in the right proportion to make something meaningful - not once, not twice but every single day. Think of this like a movie that is unfolding right in front of your eyes - you are the director the movie and you are bringing together the cast of characters to play their part.
By this time, you are asking the question - "How will I ever make it happen? Why will anyone listen to me?"
You may not like the answer if you are looking for a shortcut. You need to earn the right to influence someone before you try to influence him or her. If someone else have to give their precious mindshare, THEY have to BELIEVE that it is well worth their time. Of all the available things that are on their plate, they need to take the time to lend you whatever it takes to help you complete the puzzle.
It's not easy.
That's why choreography is an art and a skill that you need to invest in for a long period of time.
How do you know you have mastered it?
When you face a big enough task at hand if you first think of choreography and ecosystems rather than "how hard YOU will work to make it happen," it has become your second nature. You are on the path to mastery.
Excellence: Minor details matter. You need to show excellence in small things. Since your choreographing your moves by bring to bear various other resources at hand, you need to be EXCELLENT in asking and giving help where applicable so that the whole show goes on smoothly.
If you are interested in other articles in this series so far, here they are:
A is for Alignment (title changed)
P is for Please (coming soon)