The primary purpose of strategic interviews is to obtain information that will be useful in developing a strategy for the organisation. This includes actions that need to be taken in order to attain individual and corporate objectives, goals and vision.
Ideally interviews should be scheduled to take account of ‘political’ weighting, with the most senior people being interviewed first. The reasoning behind this is to enable some of the key issues raised by senior management to be fed into the subsequent interviews, thereby allowing us to obtain their thoughts on issues that are important to the strategic future of the organisation.
It is important to note that this is not a way to fabricate the corporate strategy. If the interviewee has no knowledge of or comment on the issues raised, then we do push them to do so.
Most people will start the interview focusing on issues that are on their mind that day and don’t immediately think about the future of the business.
We use various tools and techniques to encourage the interviewee to discuss and then elaborate on the issues that they raise by asking ‘so what?’ and ‘what if’ types of question.
This moves them from the issues they are facing in the here and now to thinking about the ‘big picture’. This way of working reflects the structure of the strategy model that is shown here.
The main technique that we use to capture the information provided by the participants is causal (or cognitive) mapping. Working this way allows us to generate causal relationships in a way that captures both the content and context of the information provided by the interviewee. It also ensures that the conversation is captured accurately and helps to engage the interviewee in the process.