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The New How by Nilofer Merchant

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Appendix A. Tools

This appendix covers the following list of tools:

  • Tips for interviewing

  • Building a findings framework

  • Speaking truth with clarity and power

  • Tips for criteria development

  • Generating options

  • Burning the boat

Tips for Interviewing

Interviewing is often like an archeological dig: all of the pieces may be there, but they are scattered across the landscape. Because interviewing involves people, the approach you use to conduct interviews affects the quality of the information you gather (and your ability to create a well-formed strategy).

Intention

The purpose of interviewing is to get a current picture of what needs to be addressed, and to assess the emotional readiness for change in your organization.

Approach

  1. Have a sponsor set up the meeting. Sponsor introductions can go a long way in emphasizing the importance of the interview and acknowledging the value that people have to add.

  2. Prepare an interview guide (not a script) beforehand. Usually you should share it with the interviewees ahead of time so that they have time to think. But don’t share this guide if you think it will tempt people to give “prepared” answers, or consult others for the “right” answers.

  3. Doing interviews with two interviewers (i.e., two-on-one) allows one person to focus on listening and note-taking. If you use this approach, the note-taker/listener should keep a relatively low profile to encourage the interviewee to speak freely. Interviewing alone is better if you expect delicate or risky topics to come up. ...

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