3 needs and 3 suggestions

Hugh Mackay notes, in his book WHAT MAKES US TICK, that the need to feel useful is a key driver of human behaviour. We all want to feel:

  • We are making a contribution
  • We are being helpful
  • We are making a difference

I would argue that this is true and that needing to feel useful explains a great deal of human behaviour including the need:

  • For work to be meaningful
  • To help others achieve their goals
  • To improve the world

I would also argue that this need has real implications for corporate social responsibility strategies are developed and implemented.  This need to feel useful:

  • Suggests that there is real potential in CSR
  • Suggests a benefit in linking corporate contributions to customer actions
  • Suggests that an active participation of customers in the CSR activity may be beneficial

I would further argue that the need to feel useful can be more fully leveraged in other facets of business including:

  • Getting superior performances out of staff by demonstrating how useful their role is
  • Achieving engagement with the brand by showing staff how critical their behaviour is
  • Supplementing rewards with a better understanding of the staff members contribution

It is so important to understand the drivers of human behaviour and to understand that feeling useful is one of those drivers. So:

  • Understand the drivers of human behaviour
  • Recognise the importance of feeling useful
  • Make sure you feel useful yourself – you happiness depends on it

What say you?

Do you feel useful?

Do those around you feel useful?

This issue will be discussed in more detail on THE D. JOHN CARLSON NETWORK –

D. John Carlson is a behavioural scientist, strategic planner and lateral thinker focusing on branding, marketing and communication. Visit his blog –

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