Everyday Changes That Lead to Big Improvements

26.01.2017 |

Episode #10 of the course Understanding needs by Ryan Watkins, PhD


To end the course, I want to highlight 10 relatively easy changes to make in your life. Each of these will improve the quality of results you get from your decisions.

1. Change How You Use the Word NEED
Use the word NEED carefully and sparingly—do not elevate just any want to the level of need. The words we choose to use really matter. They frame our perspectives and shape how people interpret what we say.

2. Don’t Take Needs at Face Value
Train yourself to carefully listen for the word “need.” When someone says “you need to…” or “they need to…,” politely ask about what results they really want to achieve. Or say “yes, that is a great idea, and I think that we should also first agree on what results we want to achieve as well.”

3. Focus on the Results
Define needs as related gaps in results. Focus on the results you want to accomplish first. Then examine how those compare to current achievements. Don’t stop there, though—also ask why closing that gap in results is important. What is the purpose?

4. Distinguish Between Your Needs, Wants, and Satisfiers
Do not confuse your needs with your wants. Likewise, don’t mix these up with the activities or things that may satisfy them. All three are important to your decisions, but in very different ways.

5. Know Your Options
Look for options. Even if you think that one satisfier is going to be the best choice, you will improve your decision-making by always considering options. Never be fooled into thinking that there is only one way to achieve a result; there are ALWAYS options, even if you don’t like any of them in the end.

6. Continually Improve Your Decision-Making
Always strive to learn from past decisions. At least once a week, take five minutes to reflect on your decision-making. Examine the results of your decisions. Write down the processes that you used to make the decisions. Explore how those processes can be improved.

7. Think Big, Think Societal
Push yourself to think bigger than your job, bigger than your department, and bigger than your organization. Work with others in your community, and our shared society, to more clearly define what results you want to achieve—maybe not for us in our lifetime, but for future generations. Permit yourself time each week, or each month, to focus on issues beyond the scope of your daily work and life. Doing this will give a broader perspective for purpose in your life and help you define your needs more concretely.


Today’s Activity

This week, try to make just two of the practical changes described in the lesson. Next week, add another. Then at end of the month, take 10 minutes to reflect on the decisions you have made since completing this course—I know that you will be pleased with the results.


Today’s Resources

Upcoming workshops on needs and needs assessments


Thank you for completing the course. If you ever want more information on needs and needs assessments (or have related resources to share with others), please visit: www.NeedsAssessment.org.

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