Skip to content

“what i need from you” (WINFY)

Surface Essential Needs Across Functions and Accept or Reject Requests for Support (55-70 min.)

What is made possible?

People working in different functions and disciplines can quickly improve how they ask each other for what they need to be successful. You can  mend misunderstandings or dissolve prejudices developed over time by demystifying what group members need in order to achieve common goals. Since participants articulate core needs to others and each person involved in the exchange is given the chance to respond, you boost clarity, integrity, and transparency while promoting cohesion and coordination across silos: you can put Humpty Dumpty back together again!

WHY? Purposes

You can help groups reflect on a shared experience in a way that builds understanding and spurs coordinated action while avoiding unproductive conflict. It is possible for every voice to be heard while simultaneously sifting for insights and shaping new direction. Progressing in stages makes this practical—from collecting facts about What Happened to making sense of these facts with So What and finally to what actions logically follow with Now What. The shared progression eliminates most of the misunderstandings that otherwise fuel disagreements about what to do. Voila!

  • After a shared experience, ask, “WHAT? What happened? What did you notice, what facts or observations stood out?” Then, after all the salient observations have been collected, ask, “SO WHAT? Why is that important? What patterns or conclusions are emerging? What hypotheses can you make?” Then, after the sense making is over, ask, “NOW WHAT? What actions make sense?”

structuring invitation

  • Invite participants to ask for what they need from others (often in different functions or disciplines) to be successful in reaching a specific goal
  • Invite them also to respond unambiguously to the requests from others

sequence of steps and time allocation

  • Explain the process by describing the steps below. Reiterate the goal or challenge being addressed to make sure that the context is the same for all. Emphasize that requests must be clear and specific if they are to receive an unambiguous yes or no response. Make it clear that no answers other than yes, no, I will try, and whatever will be allowed. Position the functional clusters around the room. 3 min.
  • Functional clusters use 1-2-4-All (or 1-2-All) to make a list of their top needs from each of the other functions in the room. Needs are expressed as requests that can be delivered with care and nuance in the following form: “What I need from you is _____.” Clusters reduce their lists to two top needs, write these down in their expected form, and select a spokesperson to represent the cluster. 5–15 min.
  • All spokespersons gather in a circle in the middle of the room.
  • One by one, spokespersons state their two needs to each of the other spokespersons around the circle. At this stage, spokespersons take notes of requests, but no one gives answers or responses. 15 min.
  • Working individually (or by conferring with others in their functional cluster), each spokesperson writes down one of four responses to each request: yes, no, I will try, or whatever (whatever means the request was too vague to provide a specific answer). 5–10 min.
  • Addressing one spokesperson in the group at a time, every spokesperson in the circle repeats the requests made by him or her, then shares his or her responses (yes, no, I will try, or whatever). No discussion! No elaboration! 10 min.
  • Debrief with What, So What, Now What? 15 min.