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6 Questions to Help Anticipate Needs

March 13, 2023

At some point in life we’re all required to think ahead and imagine what the future will look like. Then after looking ahead we make plans based on what we see. Doing this well is key to being successful at home and in our jobs. Sometimes when I'm thinking ahead and planning for what to expect, I'm doing it 12 months out and sometimes I'm doing this in the moment and considering what's best to do next.

Anticipating needs is a term that gets thrown around a lot, however I've found that it often lacks actionable steps for putting it into practice. So, here are 6 questions we can ask to help better anticipate needs.

01. WHO AM I SERVING?

This is the most simple, yet foundational question to ask. Asking this question allows you to step back and consider the person you are serving. In some cases, you will be serving other people (i.e. spouse, child, coworker, client, etc.), in other cases you will be serving an idea, goal, or purpose. Asking this question helps you pinpoint the purpose of what you're trying do.

02. WHAT DO THEY NEED?

Sometimes we can answer this question on our own. Other times it requires brainstorming and coming up with questions to ask to know how to best serve. Anticipating needs doesn’t mean you magically know what someone else needs before they ask. Most of the time it’s knowing the right questions to ask and asking them at the right time.

03. WHERE ARE THERE ADDITIONAL NEEDS I'M MISSING?

It’s helpful to step back, look at everything, ask where the gaps are, and what additional needs are missing? Sometimes we can be so bogged down in the details that we can miss important details.

It can be helpful to bring someone else in help assess what you may be missing? It doesn’t make you anticipate needs any less if you ask for help. If anything, it will help further create a culture of asking questions and anticipating needs.

04.  WHEN DO I NEED TO START?

This question is vital so you can give yourself enough time to provide the need you're seeking to fulfill. This is a helpful question to ask, especially when you are trying to provide solutions in the moment. Someone may have a need, but the solution you are thinking of will require more time than you have. Asking this question honestly will also help keep you from procrastinating. 

05. WHY HAVE I DONE IT THIS WAY IN THE PAST?

We may have steps in place to accommodate and take care of the needs of those we are serving – but are these steps serving others in the best way? Consistently look for ways to improve the way you work and serve the needs of others.

06. HOW CAN I GO ABOVE AND BEYOND?

Ask yourself how you can go the extra mile to make sure the people you are serving are getting the extra bit of care they aren't expecting. 

Anticipating needs isn’t just a good way to be successful with your work, it’s a way you can show care and love for others by humbly serving their needs.

-CP

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