While April is traditionally the cruellest month, I think we’d all agree that the first three months of the year are pretty grotty! – They’re cold, grim and resources are usually at their thinnest after the Christmas excesses. So, when deciding on our next piece of content, resource optimization seemed a highly appropriate topic. Best defined as ‘a way to make the most of what a business has,’ it’s a highly-skilled balancing act that, if done successfully, means a business has not just enough to survive – but thrive. And in these rapidly changing times, few things are set in stone; as we saw from the pandemic, things are subject to short-notice shift like never before. But it’s not just keeping track of the tangible – it’s more about adopting a ‘maximise mindset’ that will keep your business ahead of the curve.
You’re doing it already
While we hope this helps you understand how you can mitigate against resource-related risk, it’s not a boring budgetary run-down. It’s simply knowing how to protect what you’ve got, and we do that every day anyway, from insuring our cars to unfurling umbrellas in bad weather. So, if small-scale resource optimization can keep you safe and dry, imagine what it can do on a bigger scale In fact, it can include making the most of what you find frustrating and difficult; after all, some of the world’s biggest names, such as Apple, Google and Facebook were tiny experiments with little budget, borne out of curiosity and frustration with the way things were. And like their founders, you’re in business to make a difference, so don’t forget to file that drive under ‘resources.’
Define what you have
Let’s kick off with a simple question – what are your resources? Put simply, they’re anything that you need to run and develop your business. From people to printers, it’s easy to tick off the traditional ones, but as technology has shifted so has the nature of what you need to succeed. So, alongside the baseline necessities, don’t forget your employee loyalty, social media reach – even your company’s reputation. And as we’ve occasionally reflected on here at RedWizard, size very much matters too; after all, we’re a small company who are happy to keep it that way – it gives us a flexibility and focus that’s key to how we make big changes for our clients. Now it’s time to list your own resources – you might be surprised at what you can uncover.
Protect yourself by protecting your people
Whatever you’ve uncovered, your people will hopefully be top of the list. Here are some important points about keeping them there.
- If people aren’t valued in the workplace, then you’re more likely to find yourself with a talent retention problem. Research from Forbes back in 2017 showed that 66% of people would leave a workplace where they didn’t feel valued; two years on from the pandemic and this trend has gained so much traction that it has its own name – The Great Resignation.
- Attracting talent is an even greater issue, with 80% of organisations struggling to find people to begin with. Psychological safety is a big buzzword and for valuable reason – it’s the proven belief that providing your people with an environment where it’s safe to speak up, be visible, and offer ideas, gets the best out of them. So, to mitigate against losing valuable talent, consider how you provide this sense of professional and social wellbeing.
- Research from Dirks and Ferrin (2002) showed that during organizational change, ‘employees who trust leaders more are less likely to intend to quit, tend to believe information from their leader more, and seem to commit to company decisions more than if they don’t trust their leader as much.’ And it makes sense, doesn’t it? When we talk to close friends about our problems, we are invariably talking about change, whether swerving or embracing it, and our trust in them makes their advice all the more precious. Protect your people well enough and you also mitigate against the risk of losing your reputation, too.
Consider the connections
According to Luan Nyugen, the author of ‘Building Strategy and Performance,’ ‘the more of a resource you currently have, the faster other resources will grow.’ Similarly, too little of one resource can badly limit the others. While this symbiotic growth – or decay – can’t carry on indefinitely, it’s wise to view your resources relative to each other. A lot of money but no employee loyalty and a poor reputation won’t win you any plaudits, but nor will a great bunch of people trying to work with ageing technology. A good exercise is to identify and understand the interdependencies between your resources. From there, it’s easier to prioritise accordingly.
Protecting through the process of change
When it comes to targeted programmes of change, risk mitigation is a critical first step in identifying the risks aligned with the change and developing a plan to either manage or eliminate them. The risks faced will vary according to their sector, but any change that involves people (and what change doesn’t?) will invariably carry risks regarding alienation, motivation and confidence. Falling morale is a particular concern on lengthy projects. Other people-related risks listed in the PERIL database, an online library that compiles the various reasons why projects fail, involved conflict, where people failed to get along and work cooperatively, and poor motivation.
Nourish and flourish
But while resource mitigation might seem like a minefield, it’s just an extension of what you do every day anyway. And while nothing in life is guaranteed, the more effort you put into keeping what you’ve got safe, the more you will be able to flourish.
 How to Mitigate Resource-Related Risks in Project Management (saviom.com)
 Trust in Leadership – One Key Factor During Organizational Change • ScienceForWork
 Handling Interdependence Between Resources (saylordotorg.github.io)
 Overcoming project risk (pmi.org)