In our dealings with CIOs we often hear the refrain ‘I don’t have enough resources’. Not surprising perhaps – demand for IT services grows very quickly, and it is the role of the senior executives to make hard decisions about what to do which is realistic and achievable, recognising all of the constraints and opportunities.
By resources people usually mean two main things – people and money. I personally have a problem with referring to people as resources, a trend reflected in having a Human Resources department. But my problem doesn’t go away when people over react to that by having a Talent Department, although at least in my opinion that is setting a better tone. When I was at Pearson plc, there was a Director for People, which makes no comment on how people are seen, and is my preference.
In NLP terms, resources are defined far more widely than the everyday use of the word. Resources refer to the inner strengths and abilities within people – and how to tap into them. Success comes from having inner resources to deal with all of the setbacks and challenges of everyday life, and having the strength of mind to cope with success. Resources in this sense need to be strengthened through recognition that they exist and developing them through use. Being ‘resourceful’ as an individual reflects this meaning.
People can be helped to be more resourceful. Training on creativity was a big thing when I was a relatively junior manager. HR felt they had to undo the conformity of thinking that had come through schooling and ‘norming’. Great approach, and it challenges a big driver of behaviour in corporate business life which is order and conformity. But such training has limits. There needs to be a guiding mind and controls on what changes to avoid chaos.
Resources are a state of mind. Creative people who can collaborate to remove obstacles and improve the way organisations work will be successful when they feel resourceful. The amount of change that can be adopted can be increased when people feel resourceful. To get to that state of mind in an organisation requires an open approach to new ideas, valuing people and giving them sensible boundaries within which they can find ways to solve problems. The people on the shop floor usually know the answers but feel helpless to make the changes because they perceive that as someone else’s responsibility.
Leadership is to give space to people to develop their resourcefulness. Leadership is about guiding people’s development too. A lack of resources can be an indicator of an environment that is too controlling and in that way restricts developing resourcefulness.