Some People are Just People and Some People Are Resources

I took an unexpected trip down memory lane today that lead to several insights about ideas and people I take for granted too often. One of which is the title of this article:  Some people are just people; some people are resources.

The catalyst for this thought was a tweet I received earlier today from a past-coworker at Exact Software. @Ronald_Voets shared:

“TERMS00012 is now called People. Bye bye Resource, we had a lot of fun.”

That probably sounds like cryptic mumbo-jumbo to you, but for me it felt a bit like the end of an era.  I remember when I started with Exact Software in 2000, I was confused initially to find that ‘people’ were refered to as ‘resources’ throughout all of the software products.  I remember thinking to myself, “Why don’t they just call them people?”

It wasn’t long before I got it.  The people of Exact’s own organization, and those of our partners & clients were indeed the most valuable resources each company could count on for their growth and success.  This was  demonstrated each day as we worked in, alongside of, and with other resources in Synergy, which was my first exposure to a web-based collaboration tool.  Synergy does much more than simply enable collaboration, but for me the longest-lasting impact has been a passion for and strong belief in the benefits of enterprise-wide communication and participation at all levels of an organization. 

Nine years ago, as a fledgling implementation consultant for Exact Canada, I had so much to learn.  Occasionally overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of information available to me, I quickly developed a system that I now realize set the stage for the way I approach Social Media on a daily basis.  I learned to search out and follow key ‘resources’ like Ronald.  Not just any old person who authored a help file I read, or who posted a similar question to one that I had.  I’d stalk the people who answered the questions, were innovative with technologies and designed the functionality. The efforts to surface right resources to help me excel were much easier and more succesful because of the shared information created by Synergy ‘resources’ all around the world who collaborated on ideas, issues, documents, planning, workflow – all of which was readily available and well-organized. It was an amazing career experience. 

If I had a question about an integration tool idea, not only would the Director of Innovation, Aad ‘t Hart, (a Big Kahuna way over in the Netherlands,) assess it critically and instruct on better options for functional design, he’d make a point of going over it again in person on his next visit to Canada. Then there is my very prized friend, Robert Klein, a excellent Sales Solution Architect for Exact.  Rob and I passed a demo database back and forth across the North American continent many times over a span of years, enriching it, enhancing it, then sharing it with our other co-workers and partners for their benefit, too.  We’d pull many late-nighters trouble-shooting issues, role-playing for sales demos, reviewing RFP’s and collaborating our little hearts out on all things Synergy. I’ve only actually been with Rob in the same physical place a hand-full of times in the many years we’ve worked together, yet I would recommend him as a great team-player with creative ideas. We’ll likely keep in touch for life, helping each other through brain-storming anything and everything we may encounter professionally.

These are but a few examples of Exact’s excellence in practicing what they preach, I can’t possibly name them all though I wish I could.  But each ‘resource’ shared one thing in common: A belief that enterprise-wide communication, collaboration and accessibility to the right resources does improve products, increase productivity, and build strong, enduring internal & external communities.

I didn’t really realize until tonight how much I took that for granted. Those experiences are the key influential drivers of my behaviors and actions as I traverse the web and social media communities now – almost 10 years later.  There are many millions of people who have a lot to say and put a great deal of information out there in the web-sphere.  The ones I consistently follow, communicate with, link to and read regularly are in fact carefully selected ‘resources’ that mentor, teach, create and reinforce ideas in a collaborative way, every day. These are resources who are passionate about Enterprise 2.0, Knowledge Management, growth, change and innovation.  The big brains mapping out further technologies that will enhance our future.

I’m excited and understand the need for this change in term for Exact’s Synergy application (there’s no denying that customers will like it), but I am also very grateful indeed that I was part of that by-gone era, the one that helped me define the difference between ‘people’ – and real resources working passionately for an organization or idea.