Names not numbers


wellbeing / Saturday, July 28th, 2018

I’m sure we all have those little pet peeves that set our teeth on edge and that we’d cheerfully never hear again, given half a chance.

My main peeve at the moment? ‘Resource’.

Specifically, the chorus of “We don’t have the resource for that.” ‘No resource’ means we don’t have the time, the people, the capacity, the budget. ‘Resource’ is being used as a negative catch-all, a general excuse for not being able to do stuff.

I know this is a bit ridiculous, but my problem with ‘resource’ is actually more serious. If we speak about ‘resource’, we’re not speaking about people. ‘Resource’ is an imprecise and impersonal term that seems to boil the individual down to their monetary value to the organisation.

Employee engagement is about people, it’s about demonstrating our values through everything that we say and do. Engagement itself is about an emotional connection with an organisation, its values and culture. If we use ‘resource’ we’re not talking about our people, we’re distancing our work from the human effort. We’re also making it easier to say no.

When we use the ‘resource’ excuse, we shut ourselves down to suggestion. If we give a more specific reason we can work with our colleagues to address this. If time’s the issue, then there’s the potential to free up our team’s time to do the new work; if we don’t have enough people to work on something, maybe there’s another member of staff who could be drafted in to help; and if budget’s the issue, maybe we could work together to reduce cost – or collaborate on a business case to justify the extra spend.

My point is that ‘resource’ doesn’t give us any of those options. It gives us a basic yes or no without any space for working together to produce the best outcome for our business.

So, next time you’re asked about capacity to complete that extra project? Try and give a more precise answer. You never know, you might start something pretty special.

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