White paper: Needs Assessment

Building Better Practice utilizes a range of systemic models in the enactment of its Three Day onsite checkup. A Needs Assessment is the umbrella strategy used by consultants that comes from a traditional evaluation system. At its simplest root is the following question: What do you need?

When conducting an onsite review, I use conversation as a qualitative researcher to identify patterns and trends. As this conversation enriches, a pattern may establish that fulfills the goal of populating the assessment. When implementing this type of tool, the organic nature of Building Better Practice could contain 1 billion + questions as part of a needs assessment.

A needs assessment is traditionally valuable for a company strategic plan. The dialogue between a CEO and the Board/stakeholders provides the impetus for dialogue. Sometimes, these assessments are referred to as an environmental scan. Whereas a needs assessment is often an internal look at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT), an environmental scan does the same thing however externally with stakeholders.

When a discrepancy is found (usually in the weaknesses area of the SWOT), the CEO often needs to call together a planning session to uncover strategies that can help minimize these risks/weaknesses. The challenge is often that brainstorming retreats can be time consuming and work to coordinate in their own right. Through the process of analyzing solutions to the gaps, the CEO may inadvertently drift from the original focus of planning around strengths and opportunities. To avoid the cumbersome work, the strength based needs assessment delivered by Building Better Practice can be very powerful as the onsite review collects data and provides strategies to minimize risk, while enhancing strengths to do so.

Other practical purposes for these types of assessments are for its broader usefulness in supporting program development. Managers and Supervisors can draw from the dataset to initiate Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in order to set client outcomes. This type of analysis has value in healthcare (client outcomes) or in financial planning (capital maintenance) for example.

The Building Better Practice Three Day onsite checkup conducts both of these together to enrich the information a CEO has to build his/her direction forward.

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