Do you have Resources or Resourcing Problem?

As we approached the end of 2013 I participated in numerous conversations around resources. Do we have enough to support existing business?  Do we have enough to support our sales pipeline?  These are very common conversations that happen in corporate america, regardless of organization size.  I would argue that in many cases, the challenge has more to do with resourcing rather than resources.

Contrary to what most of colleagues thought, I opined that we did not have a resources problem but rather a resourcing problem.  For the number of existing customers and existing work we should have enough people to do the work (resources).  I could provide numerous examples of resource availability.  Unfortunately the resources available did not have the skills required to fulfill the need (resourcing).

This yields an interesting predicament.  If you have smart people but have not given them the skills needed to provide value, whose failure is that?  Additionally, what is the cost of that person to the organization and the customers?  And what’s the fastest, most efficient way to resolve this?  Is it to provide training?  Is it to hire additional resources that have skills more aligned to what’s needed? Both of those come with additional costs and concerns.

I don’t think there is a simple answer.  I do challenge each of you as you are having those conversations about whether you need resources to look closely and figure out if it is truly a problem that can (and should be filled) by additional employees, versus training, role alignment or other steps to resolve resourcing issues.

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