Qualitative Interviews Used to Develop Mission Statement & Drive Restructure
“Executive feedback and insight facilitates company revitalization and growth opportunities. “
A large national group of independent distributors wanted to conduct qualitative research with key members of their governing committee to define their mission more clearly and better understand their position and customers’ perception in the market. The organization was interested in getting independent, confidential feedback from their key executives on a specific group within their network.
The main objective of the research was to identify how the organization could best differentiate their business from competitors and learn where improvements can be made to successfully grow their business (which was a national organization of independent distributors). As a part of the research, the distributor network was interested in learning what leadership characteristics, duties and experiences would be most important to hiring a new director to help them implement their new vision and growth strategy.
Confidential one-to-one interviews with key executives helps provide companies with qualitative information that can help drive and facilitate change and set direction for moving forward in the right direction. In an Interline Creative Group, a sister company blog, “What Does Staying in Your Lane Really Mean for a Business?” points out it is critical to clearly define your business path before deciding whether to change “lanes”. Sometimes you may choose the path you are on and other times it might be time to make a change. Conducting research can help companies clearly define the best direction to find new opportunities to grow business.
AIM recommended a one-to-one interview strategy, which had formed one of the core areas of the company’s research capabilities with at least ten of the executive committee members from across the country. By conducting such phone interviews, AIM was able to gain a national perspective without the added cost of travel. It also allowed executives to talk freely with assured confidentiality.
To make it easier to connect and schedule phone interviews, AIM designed an online platform for executives to provide preferred times and dates to meet. Executives were able to schedule a time most convenient to their busy schedules.
After meeting with the client, AIM drafted a short, open-ended 8-question survey to engage executives on specific topics and provide the information that the organization needed to set the future direction of the group. Among other things, the survey asked executives to describe how they saw the organization, how others saw the organization and what changes need to be made. In addition, the survey probed executives with specific questions on the future direction of the organization and traits important to leadership moving forward.
In-Depth Interviews Offer an Open Platform to Explore Sensitive and Complex Topics
AIM has found that in-depth interviews offer a flexible, empathetic, and confidential platform for examining sensitive and complex topics. They provide a more holistic and nuanced understanding of these issues, making them a valuable research method in fields ranging from psychology and sociology to market research. Often, research participants are reluctant to put honest and/or negative feedback in writing but will talk freely in a confidential phone conversation. Here are some of the benefits this strategy offers companies.
- Establishing Trust and Rapport: In a one-on-one interview setting, participants often feel more comfortable and secure, allowing them to open up about sensitive topics. The presence of a skilled interviewer fosters trust and rapport, making participants more willing to share. This is exactly what happened in this particular situation, with executives opening up in frank, honest discussions about leadership characteristics.
- Confidentiality: We all know how difficult it is to express oneself in the working environment. In-depth interviews by a third-party research company are typically conducted in private or semi-private settings, which reassures participants that their responses will be kept confidential. This encourages participants to speak candidly about sensitive issues. The phone especially is appropriate for such confidentiality. The engagement of trust is essential for this to work – and trust is something AIM has fostered for over 30 years.
- Probing and Clarification: Unlike traditional surveys, a one-on-on interview sets the stage for interviewers to probe further, seek clarification, or ask follow-up questions when participants share complex or sensitive information. Listening is one of the key attributes of this technique, requiring the interviewer to totally focus on what is being said, how it is being said, and the implications of what is said. This ensures a more comprehensive understanding of the topic.
- Emotional Expression: The phone is one of the greatest instruments for conveying emotion. In-depth interviews provide a safe space for participants to express emotions, which can be crucial when discussing sensitive topics. Sometimes just a change in the attitude, or the delivery of a phrase, will lead the trained interviewer to a path that reveals critical information about the topic at hand. Participants who are made comfortable like this share their feelings, concerns, and experiences without judgment.
There are more benefits, which in the world of AI can be powerful ways to offer a flexible, empathetic, and confidential platform for examining sensitive and complex topics.
AIM successfully completed ten executive interviews with the phone interviews lasting anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour and an average of 45 minutes. The research was able to help the client understand how the group was perceived internally as well as by competitors and key business partners. It provided clear consensus and direction on how to move the organization forward by identifying internal and external challenges the group would face as well as key trends that would impact future business.
The executives were helpful in defining ways to differentiate their organization from competitors to successfully maintain and build new business. While developing a mission statement can be complex, the research provided the client with specific words, concepts and images to help the organization define a mission statement that works best for them. In addition, the research provided specific leadership characteristics, knowledge and experience level important to the continued success of the distributor network.
For more information on how AIM can assist you with conducting in-depth phone interviews or other types of research projects, please feel free email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-358-8558.