With all the resources we have at our fingertips, why does it seem that the first instinct of many people is to request help from other people instead of USING the readily available resources? There really seems to be a chasm between having the resources and actually using the resources.

Yes, I realize that people are also considered “resources,” but there’s a cost to using them that you don’t incur from a web search or a reference book. One cost is the potential for wrong or incomplete information. The other is that you will annoy them at some point if you ask for help too often.

But can you teach someone to be resourceful? When I was growing up, if I asked what a word meant or how to spell it, my parents would hand me the dictionary and tell me to look it up. They gave me a resource and made me always use it before they would give me an answer. Anymore I believe this is truly the first sign of my being a “resourceful” person. I actively look for non-people resources, know where and how to find them and how to use them. In these modern days of internet and search engines, a huge amount of information is right at my fingertips!

But what about those people who didn’t grow up this way? Can they be taught to be resourceful before asking questions? How many times do we think “read the manual” or “google it”? Short of being borderline nasty, it seems to be a losing proposition to remind people the information they seek is found more quickly and certainly more reliably by looking toward non-people resources.

Questions about resourcefulness will forever be a part of my interview process…because I’m not sure you can retroactively teach resourcefulness.