The One Skill Everyone Should Have

Don’t get me wrong. Collaboration, diversity, and authenticity are definitely things we need more of in this world and conformity isn’t something I value. But, in my experience, there is one skill that flies under the radar, is mighty, and can put you on a new playing field: resourcefulness.

Every successful team has someone with it. The person who is able to beautifully throw together a last minute request from the boss. The co-worker who helps on the project, magically knowing the right people to include. The admin who finds a way to fit more into what was budgeted.

People who are resourceful have an innate way of figuring things out, not only for their own benefit but also for the whole team or organization.

When I think of the resourceful people I’ve worked with, they have varied backgrounds, creative and operational roles, front-line workers and executives. They can be as different as night and day. But when you see these skills comes out, there’s so much to learn—if we pay attention. Because the thing about resourcefulness is that it’s quiet.

Being resourceful is part of the entire process to accomplish a task or goal. It’s not a one-and-done skill. Resourcefulness shows up best when it saturates. It combines efficiency, understanding how other people work, and an acute knowledge of your surroundings. It’s being able to see the whole picture and the details simultaneously and intrinsically.

Not only is being resourceful many times a quiet skill, but it can be so quiet that many people don’t even know that this skill is being manifested in them. For example, some of the most resourceful people I’ve ever met are single moms. These are women who know that the stakes are high and that it’s up to them to get whatever it is done. They are the ones providing for their family so they must find a way to achieve it—whether that’s putting food on the table (physically and financially); planning childcare logistics so they can get to work if their kid is sick, as vacation days can be a non-existent luxury; or a myriad of other things. Being resourceful means using your connections, time, relationships, and knowledge, paired with a larger understanding of things happening outside of yourself.

So, how do you become resourceful or know if you are, since it’s a quiet skill?

Below are some questions you can use as a framework to help you understand if you have this skill or need some work.

The qualifiers:

1. Do I personally know anyone who can help me gain quick access to the information I need?

2. Before I bring them my emergency, is there any obvious thing they are trying to accomplish this very minute (like payroll, for instance) that feels to them like an equally-sized emergency?

3. What do they need to know that will help them feel like helping me will ultimately help them?

These questions start the process of understanding all your assets in a given situation. Once you have the full picture of your own assets, you can begin to understand how the puzzle can be filled in. You’ll also have the clarity to know if this is a resource that is easily replenished, or if it’s rare and should be saved for only things of utmost importance.

One of the best things about resourcefulness is that it can be contagious, if the environment is right. When you think of the people who are resourceful in your organization, you can see how the way they lead through the process is lateral as well as vertical. They have influence not only with those they supervise, but also those on equal footing and above them. Because they see the good of the whole and help them win at the same time. When resourcefulness is not rewarded, it shuts down all manner of things and a hoarding mentality of information and access begins.

Let’s find ways to be our most resourceful selves so we can win as individuals and as a team. And if we find ourselves in positions of authority, honor those who hone this skill and encourage it. Doing so will open up a new level of accomplishment for those around you.

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