Working The MacGyver Way

Have you ever found yourself trying to come up with a strategy or meet a deliverable with no budget or resources? Many of us may be feeling the pressure to achieve our goals under these conditions. While this may seem impossible, many of us have taken on the challenge to do more with less. I’ve labeled this approach working the “MacGyver” way.

MacGyver was a T.V. show that ran in the late 80’s- early 90’s about a secret, highly resourceful agent (MacGyver), who had to solve complex problems with every day materials, duct tape and his Swiss army knife. Although I wasn’t an avid watcher of the show, when I did watch, I was always impressed with how MacGyver could makeshift solutions to problem solve his way out of dire situations using only what was available to him. For those of you who watched the show, you will know what I’m talking about!

In the workplace many of us are working the “MacGyver” way without even realizing it. We have found ourselves having to think outside the box to achieve our goals. The result is we are seeing people develop innovative, creative, solutions to business issues using resources and materials at hand. So what MacGyver tactics are people using that you may benefit from?

Be Collaborative. While MacGyver came up with some ingenious solutions, he did so by learning and taking in information from those around him. In an increasingly social world there are many avenues available for us to connect with others who may have expertise or experience in a subject area we need. LinkedIn groups are a great resource to connect with people in an industry or career stream to collaborate.  Working together will help you achieve your goals faster and more efficiently, for free!

Start internally. Many times we explore using third-party vendors to seek out resources or start new projects.  Tap into your internal resources first. You will be pleasantly surprised at the rich expertise and consultation your employees have across the organization.

Think outside the box. MacGyver had to use the materials around him in unconventional ways to develop solutions. Similarly, we may need think about a project or work task from a different perspective to achieve results. I recently had a project which was put on the shelf. I had to take a step back and think about it from a different perspective using only the tools and resources internally available. By doing so I came up with an even better approach which was easier to implement. By working collaboratively with internal resources we were able to launch the project, achieving the deliverable.

Challenge yourself to learn something new. Like MacGyver, we may have to create the solution. That may mean learning something new to get us there. I was asked a few months ago to edit some raw video footage to use for a career video. I had never edited video footage before and felt anxious I couldn’t deliver. I contacted an internal colleague and asked her if she could point me in the right direction. And she did. I found out our company already had a license for a software I could use to accomplish my task. After I got the license I went onto the web to research how to use the tool supplemented by some YouTube tutorials. After some trial and error I soon started to get the hang of it and was able to not only edit the video, but also add some of our branding in the intro as well. Not only did I build my own skill set, but by doing the work myself with the resources at hand, I avoided having to pay a vendor to do the work.

Research to find inexpensive options or alternative solutions. MacGyver didn’t have the benefit of social media or Google to find a solution. But we do. Social tools are a fantastic way to get information. Here are just a few ways you can use social media and the internet to assist with your research:

  • Use your social networking tools (Collaboration, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn, etc.) to post questions to your network for help, guidance and suggestions. You may be amazed at how many referrals and feedback you will get that can help you.
  • Research Blogs.  Blogs have become the new credible way to find information from people who want to share their own experiences. They often provide good detail and most Bloggers are happy to connect and talk to you. A great example of this is travel blogs. More people visit travel blogs to research and plan trips than visiting informational websites. They provide a genuine account of people’s experiences, tips and what to avoid.

Research the internet to find articles or papers about your topic. Has your project been done before? What were the insights? Sites like Wikipedia are a great place to start often providing additional resources and websites you can use for your research.

I am sure I’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg of what can be done when we are motivated to get the task done. What are some of your MacGyver success stories?

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

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3 thoughts on “Working The MacGyver Way

  1. Pingback: Working The MacGyver Way | Ann's Social Recruiting Blog

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