Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Three Questions to Assess a Person’s “Resourcefulness”

Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes. - Peter Drucker.

We are moving from the age of information scarcity to the Digital Era of data abundance, from building a workforce with understanding of the existing knowledge to grooming an innovative team who can co-create and share new knowledge; from tolerating people having a “graduate attitude” after receiving certain years of formal education to empowering the lifetime learners who continuously learn with the hybrid digital learning style. Digital professionals need to be intellectually curious, resourceful and learning agile. What are specific questions to ask for assessing a person’s “resourcefulness,” and how can digital professionals speed up to ride above the learning curve, and climb the information pyramid (information-knowledge-insight-wisdom) more effortlessly?

How well can you swim in the sea of information?  With explosive information, time management becomes a crucial issue. There is no way and not necessary to absorb every bit & byte of information flowing to you, you need to be SELECTIVE, and the knowledge you select becomes "part" of you, otherwise, you will lose your identity, and even be swallowed by the whirl of information. You have to learn how to swim in the sea of information in which we live; otherwise, it will drown you. You don't need to be overloaded with new stuff to read as well. Find a way to collect the "best" material that interests you. Filter the information that comes your way, so you can build your own knowledge foundation on topics that interest you. The perception based on the information you absorbed shapes the lenses you perceive the world. Be open-minded, because one day you will have new answers or complete answers to the questions that interest you, and you will have your own collected data, information that you trust and understand. That will give you the confidence to make wise decisions and to help you stand your ground when others have less well-considered ideas, but always be flexible to understand the other's point of view.

Are you good at discovering how & where to find valuable information, not just the information itself?  With the overwhelming amount of information in the business and our society, it is more crucial to be resourceful, because the static knowledge can be outdated shortly, and often you need to continue to hunt for the latest information for learning & relearning, decision-making, and problem-solving. In many cases, know the certain information, you just need to know where to locate that information when needed. If the information is the right data, in a form you can understand, which allows you to do something useful, that you want to accomplish, then you need to know where to look for that sort of material. The resourceful people are not those that remember every detail but those that know where to look for knowledge. To be resourceful and objective, you need to always listen to the “two sides of the story” or search for contrary viewpoints (if having any) to gaining in-depth understanding about the certain topic. There are clear sources of appropriate material that will help you find "the right answer." Over time, you develop an effective set of filters that help you find new information that interests you. You also learn what to ignore. The value of the journal multiplies over time. It's a very powerful confirmation of your present thinking and makes you more resourceful to shape new thinking via exploring the new subject or research.

Do you understand your own learning style and can you manage the learning cycle effectively?  Learning is a process and everyone has an enormous capacity to learn. Limitations on learning are barriers invented by humans. Being learning agile means you can proactively manage learning, unlearning and relearning cycle more effectively. Seasoned persons in life become aware when some of the long-acquired knowledge is no longer applicable in certain situations. You have learned to no longer apply that knowledge in those specific cases. This is unlearning. And then relearn the updated knowledge for gaining insight on the changing circumstance. Learning cycles assume that learning is a process, so the learning styles can be rationalized. It's important to make connections between pieces of knowledge. When these connections are structured in a meaningful way, and instrumented into the fountain of thought, we are better to retrieve and apply knowledge effectively and powerfully. Learning agility becomes one of the most important capabilities for digital professionals to compete for the future.

Being resourceful provides one angle to show that you have the ability to learn, know how to learn, and become learning agile. Learning is multidimensional, dynamic, interactive and integrated. Learning becomes knowledge building and we can define learning through the knowledge it builds, there are knowledge styles reflective of the types of knowledge we build. But knowledge is not the end, the end is to apply it as power for decision making or problem-solving, for making sound judgment and gaining wisdom.


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