This DATIS blog article, “An Easy Trick for Getting the Resources You Need”, was originally written by Mike Figliuolo, thoughtLEADERS, LLC, on April 1st, 2015 and was reposted with permission.
Resources are tough to come by. By using a simple, logical approach, you can get your stakeholders to cough up those additional resources you need. If they’re not willing to do so, at least they’ll understand why you can’t get everything they want done.
One of your greatest responsibilities as the leader of a high-performing team is making sure your people have the resources they need to execute against all the projects and initiatives you’ve put on the prioritization list. I’d like to offer you some techniques for getting those resources because resources are scarce. Just because you ask doesn’t mean people are going to give you more cash, more people, or more time.
You have to make a clear and compelling business case to get those resources allocated to you versus them being allocated to other parts of the organization. Just asking isn’t a viable strategy. First, take the list of your priorities with initiatives laid out from highest to lowest priority. Add to that list the “business-as-usual resources” you need to run the engine every single day and perform the tasks that are required of your team operationally.
Once you have that list, you’re ready to go to your stakeholders and ask for resources. It could be your boss. It could be a steering committee. It could be a monthly prioritization meeting. You’re going to go in and say, “Here’s the list of initiatives. Do you agree that this is the priority that we should pursue these in?” You want to get that explicit agreement from those stakeholders that “Yes, we want you to do this one first, and then this one, and then this one.” You also want their agreement that the business-as-usual work is work that they demand you do.
After they’ve signed off on the prioritization list, go back and assess what each of those projects is going to take to complete in terms of people, dollars, time, and access to leadership. Lay out the resource case to achieve each of those initiatives and make sure they’re properly resourced.
Next, go back to those stakeholders and work down from the top of that list until you run out of existing resources. Be able to show them, “I have a team of this many people. If I start at the top of the list, I can get to the fifth initiative. After that, I’m out of people.” Then it’s up to that stakeholder. They’re always going to say, “No, I want you to do more.”
This is the point at which you’ve got them right where you want them. Simply say, “That’s great. I’m happy to do more, but I can’t do more unless you give me additional resources. If you do, here’s what those resources will buy you.” Allow me to offer an example of when I personally used this approach for making a case for resources.