Resourcefulness, Initiative and GritAlex Fields
When faced with some problem, most of us (let’s be honest) are habituated toward shopping for and purchasing some product that “solves” our problem. But the marketplace is not lacking in products. What is lacking, I believe, is spirit.
When I was just a young boy, I thought that owning a new pair of sneakers would make me a better basketball player. I thought those Air Jordan’s with the little “air pump” built into the tongue would make me run faster, jump higher, and in general react and change direction more quickly on the court.
Guess what? They didn’t.
I lost interest in basketball soon after that disappointment. I still suck at it to this day. I do a decent layup, I guess. If nobody’s trying to stop me, anyway.
It’s a tough lesson that some of us never learn, but here it is, in case you missed the memo: Consumerism is no substitute for spirit. In fact, it consumerism has a tendency to snuff out opportunities for growth before we ever have a chance at taking a stronger, more substantial foothold in spirit, which is the genuine source of all growth and success.
The point is: buying a new product or tool, in the field of IT or anywhere else in life, really, can never change your behavior. Furthermore, no product can enhance your three most important assets: resourcefulness, initiative and grit.
No product can even come close to touching these.
Unfortunately, many of us still haven’t learned this lesson.
Resourcefulness isn’t just about Googling well for items and facts that were previously unknown to you. It’s about being able to think through problems in new ways–to find new approaches to accomplishing things for your organization that maybe aren’t available in some existing application, or published on a blog or tech-net article somewhere.
Initiative isn’t just about buying the most cutting-edge technology and tools available and paying consultants to help you set them all up. It’s the extra time and care that you give to your job. It’s going the extra mile, moving the needle closer toward anticipation of needs, rather than reacting to requests and problems.
And as for Grit, well… When you fork over money to so-called “experts” (consultants, software developers, etc.) who are supposedly solving all your problems for you, how do you know… anything? What’s working? What’s not working? Where are you vulnerable? Where do you need to improve? In short, how can you ever learn from your mistakes if you’ve risked nothing–put nothing of yourself on the line?
When people go into buying mode to solve their problems (I see this as a consultant all the time), they are not thinking. Oftentimes, in organizations like this you hear the same thing–they are always the smartest people in the room, and they all share the same complaint: vendors are to blame for all their problems, because they never took ownership of anything themselves. It is a bit like listening to the complaints of little children–I kid you not.
“(Whoever) made me do it.”
“I don’t know anything about it, ask (someone else).”
“It was (fill in the blank’s) fault.”
–Every child. Ever.
Anyway, I’m not saying that purchasing something new like a cloud service or a fancy IT management tool is necessarily a pointless activity, but unless they are really enabling you to better fulfill your overflowing potential (see the above discussion of spirit), then what is the point of them?
If you did not come to these purchases through a careful process of discovery, matching business objectives to technological solutions (usually more than one piece of technology being tied in here), then you were probably not thinking. If you were not picky about which aspects of said technology you intended to implement, in what order, on what timeline, analysis of security risks & impact, along with a roadmap for how it impacts and enables the users, IT administration, business units, etc., then you are probably not thinking. Probably, you are just buying Air Jordans.