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Tom Peters, co-author of "In Search of Excellence" and management consultant extraordinaire, famously remarked, "The best leaders... almost without exception and at every level, are master users of stories and symbols." In the realm of management practices, Focus Interviewing, a form of qualitative research employing intentional conversations, serves as a vital instrument for acquiring such narratives. By facilitating deep dives into participants' experiences and perspectives, Focus Interviewing offers invaluable insights that help refine decision-making processes and uncover unique, unanticipated pathways to Strategic Planning, Innovation Cultivation, or Operational Excellence.

Principles of Focus Interviewing

At its core, Focus Interviewing aims to delve into the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and motivations of individuals around specific topics. As such, it embodies several key principles.

Effectiveness in Management

Focus Interviewing serves as an instrumental tool in various management scenarios. When coupled with adequate data analysis methods, its advantages are profound, some of which include:

  1. Deep Insights in Strategic Planning—Through revealing the underlying motivations and beliefs of staff or customers, it effectively informs planning processes, aiding in strategizing potential growth trajectories or addressing underlying issues.
  2. Fostering Innovation Culture—By diving deeper into the employees' thoughts on the organizational climate, it unveils factors that are encouraging or impeding the innovative culture, hence guiding necessary changes.
  3. Facilitating Operational Excellence—It aids in determining hindrances to efficient workflow, consequently guiding process optimization and changes for remarkable performance improvement.
  4. Risk Management—Providing a granular view of issues from the interviewee's perspective, it aids in identifying potential risks and developing strategies to mitigate them.
  5. Essential in Performance Management—Through understanding employees' perception of their roles and responsibilities in the organization, it aids in creating effective performance management strategies.

Best Practices

Focus Interviewing's effectiveness is highly linked with how it's conducted. Here are some best practices:

Focus Interviewing is a clearly powerful tool in the hands of seasoned managers, offering unparalleled insights critical to driving an organization's success. Implementing the principles and best practices discussed, you too can infuse a culture of informed decision-making, nurturing a foundation for sustainable corporate growth.


Since 2012, we have provided best practices to over 10,000 businesses and organizations of all sizes across the world—in over 130 countries. Below is just a very small sample of our customer base.

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