" I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and to see if I could not learn what it had to teach"  Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1846

The working landscape has changed.  Whilst we're all safe indoors and working from home, we have access to less than we had before and we're being asked to do things differently. The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing everyone to make do with what we have and to develop a skill in doing more with less.  

Resourcefulness is a crucial leadership skill for today's generation of leaders.  A resourceful person is one that is able to quickly adapt to new or different situations, is able to find solutions, think creatively and sometimes manage with what they have available to them.  They will be full of their own resources, confidently access the tools they have and be able to generate ideas.  It's not about coping with deprivation, it's about maximising opportunity and thinking on your feet.  What better skill do we need right now?

Sherie Campbell, Psychologist, describes resourcefulness as a mindset. "With a resourcefulness mindset you are driven to find a way.  An attitude of resourcefulness inspires out of the box thinking...and the ability to visualise all the possible ways to achieve what you desire."

So now that we're remote from our colleagues, our usual work environment and all of the fantastic tools we have there,  how can we apply the principles of resourcefulness whilst we continue to work during the Covid-19 Pandemic?

We have a positive opportunity to develop our talent for resourcefulness and adopting the right mindset for this in a number of ways.

  1. Be open minded and flexible

Radical acceptance of where we are now is essential.  The plans we had set for ourselves are, at least temporarily, out of the window.  It's important to change how we feel about this, if we're struggling with it.  With plan A on hold, we need to park it and focus in on things that are in our control right now.  Being open to new ways is crucial.  We might find also that new limitations are put upon us as the weeks develop so expecting these and being ready for them, with an open mind, will also help.   

2. Be inquisitive and stay persistent

Using what we've learnt in the past will put us in good stead for being resourceful right now.  We can take the time to reflect on what we've learnt.  We can ask ourselves and others open ended questions to learn more.  The qualities of Belbin's 'Resource Investigator' role are relevant here too - take opportunity to research and generate new ideas and opportunities.  Catch up on what's happening elsewhere, keep your enthusiasm and arm yourself with knowledge as much as you can.  You will enhance how much you have to tap in to.  

3. Optimise your network and your systems

We still have access to our fantastic networks online and this is a great time to be reaching out to others and sharing best practice. We really are in it together.  Remember your workplace network too.  Don't wait for others to get in touch with you, take the lead. Follow good practice communication - two-way, meaningful and regular.  Share more.  Many of us are also trying out new systems. At Pick Everard we're enjoying using Teams for meetings and conferences, at home Zoom is being used for remote tutorials. Embracing new systems or optimising those you already use will enable you to share your talents and skills in new ways.

4. Be imaginative

Make time for creative practice. I like Rusling's approach to idea generation (Breaking Boundaries, 2018).  Be clear on your goals and "generate as many ideas, concepts or solutions to a given focus as [you] possibly can."  Set yourself a tight time limit on this.  Treat the evaluation of those ideas as a second distinct stage - which ones might just work?  You can also keep a bank of inspiration and add to it regularly.  Remember, there's lots of free resources you can access and shape for your needs.  

5. Have confidence

To build your confidence right now first look at what you are telling yourself.  Speak kindly to yourself and say positive things. Let go of any limiting beliefs - notice evidence that you are doing well, you're adapting, you're learning new things and you're capable.  Focus on what could go right.  As always, keep stretching and challenging yourself, learn new things and follow your gut. You might be remote but you can still take action now on what is important.   

Elizabeth Hardwick-Smith is Director of HR and Training at Pick Everard