How well does your staff improvise?

Disruptive innovator competencies include resourcefulness and a high level of output.

By John Chandler

In the last “Trending” column, I suggested three pairs of leadership competencies that I believe will be critical for innovative disrupters. Last time, we examined agility and alertness. Next, we will look at the relational dynamics of temperance and courtesy. Today, we want to examine the leadership skills of resourcefulness and output. For each competency, I will suggest a “grade” on a 4.0 scale as a benchmark for demonstrated ability.

Resourcefulness and output have to do with the ability to “jackleg” improvise with existing materials, situations and people toward highly useful solutions. Resourceful, high-output leaders produce innovative work and results before securing major funding. They are inventively frugal, accept and even embrace underdog status and do the best they can with what they’ve got. They make “bricks without straw,” and are often, ironically, later rewarded with many more resources (financially, relationally and strategically).

Resourcefulness centers on several dynamics: Does the leader voluntarily start projects? Attempt non-routine jobs and tasks? Steadfastly pursue objectives when faced with unexpected obstacles? To measure:

4 — Outstanding: Places highest priority on getting things done. Constantly accepts difficult or unpleasant jobs to achieve goals. Always displays extreme determination. Will rarely quit until objective is reached.

3 — Very Good: Above average. A self-starter. Will generally volunteer. Displays sufficient drive to overcome unusual or difficult obstacles.

2 — Satisfactory: Does not shirk. Voluntarily attempts to solve non-routine job problems as they occur. Is not stopped by most obstacles but works through them.

1 — Some deficiency evident: Shows some initiative. Should do more without having to be told. Is sometimes deterred by obstacles which should be overcome.

0 — Unsatisfactory: Shows little initiative. Never volunteers. Sticks closely to job routine. Frequently quits when faced with unexpected obstacles.

Similarly, output is the level of results or work generated per unit of time and with regards to amount of investment. Here are some rankings:

4 — Outstanding: Exceptional producer. Generates maximum or surprisingly good results vis-à-vis expectation. Helps to shape the largest strategic picture.

3 — Very Good: Usually exceeds the norm. A fast worker. Does the work expected and makes additional contributions.

2 — Satisfactory: Satisfactory. Meets expectations of assignment.

1 — Some deficiency evident: Barely acceptable level of output. Produces less than average. Can create supervisory headaches or relational drama that offset work contributions.

0 — Unsatisfactory: Below acceptable standards of performance. Incomplete assignments.

Of course, the most innovative disrupter of all time didn’t whine about what he didn’t have. He instead took five loaves and two fish and kept feeding people with it. That’s what you call resourcefulness and output!

OPINION: Views expressed in ABPnews/Herald columns and commentaries are solely those of the authors.