Harvey Mackay Academy's Blog

A small truck loaded with glassware backed out of a factory driveway into the path of a large truck. Most of the glass was broken in the crash, and the young driver was on the verge of tears. A big crowd gathered, and one gentleman said compassionately: “I suppose you will have to pay for this out of your own pocket.”

“I’m afraid so,” said the driver.

“Well, here’s $10 for you,” said the gentleman. “Let me pass your hat and maybe some of these kind people will help you out too.”

More than 100 people dropped bills into the hat. The driver nodded to the retreating crowd and the benevolent gentleman and said, “That’s what I call a smart guy. He’s my boss.”

I value resourcefulness highly in my employees. Resourceful people can figure things out on their own. They find a way to make things work. They find solutions to problems using imaginative methods. They can use resources at their disposal to help them solve problems or overcome obstacles.

Resourcefulness seems to come naturally to some people. They aren’t about to give up just because the odds are stacked heavily against them.

Webster’s dictionary defines resourceful as “… able to deal promptly and effectively with problems, difficulties, etc.” Resourcefulness is a real asset for anyone trying to get the edge over the competition, whether it’s finding a job, keeping a job, making customers happy or landing a new account.

Resourceful people can think outside the box and visualize all the possible ways to achieve things. They are scrappy, inventive and driven to find a way to get what they need and want.

As one of my very favorite authors, Napoleon Hill, said: “A resourceful person will always make the opportunity fit his or her needs.”

Resourceful people can see the upside of down times. They are not willing to give up just because things get complicated. And here’s a news flash: They are not all geniuses. They just don’t accept defeat easily.

In sales a common problem is getting to know who the decision maker is and then contacting that person. Do you know anyone who knows that person? How can you get close to the people who know and influence that person?

In doing research for a speech recently, I was talking to a salesperson who said he found out who the decision maker was and waited in the lobby and followed him into the restroom. While they were washing their hands, he introduced himself and gave Mr. Decision Maker a quick commercial on their firm. He got the business. The new customer was intrigued by the determination the salesperson demonstrated.

William Menninger, psychiatrist and co-founder of the Menninger Foundation, an internationally known center for treatment of behavioral disorders, offered this explanation: “The amount of satisfaction you get from life depends largely on your own ingenuity, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. People who wait around for life to supply their satisfaction usually find boredom instead.”

You must be thinking all the time. How can I maximize what I want to do? How can I get things done? How can I get the information I need? Be resourceful.

Perhaps the best feature of resourcefulness is that it doesn’t have to cost your company any money. Using the brainpower already on the payroll is a great place to start. A company offered a reward of half of whatever savings a viable, creative cost-cutting measure would yield. Did they get any suggestions? You better believe it. And nearly all of them were fairly simple to implement. These folks had been hatching ideas for a long time, but the “We’ve always done it this way” mentality kept them from speaking up.

Resourcefulness doesn’t take long to develop. Observe children. They often find creative ways to get what they want, even at a very young age. And it’s not because they are so cute!

Timmy only had a quarter in his pocket when he approached the farmer and pointed to a tomato hanging lusciously from a vine.

“I’ll give you a quarter for it,” the boy offered.

“That kind brings 50 cents,” the farmer told him.

“How about this one,” Timmy asked, pointing to a smaller, greener and less tempting tomato.

The farmer nodded agreement, and Timmy sealed the deal by placing his quarter in the farmer’s hand. “I’ll pick it up in about a week.”

Mackay’s Moral: Be resourceful or be remorseful.

About the Author

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.