Example Outline: How-To Interview

Youโ€™re reading an excerpt of Stop Asking Questions, by Andrew Warner, a veteran podcast host of 2000+ episodes. The book explains how to lead high-impact interviews and learn anything from anyone. Master the craft of interviewing with this complete digital package. Purchase now for lifetime access to the book and extensive audio and video resources.

Below is an actual outline my team and I created before interviewing Scott Bintz.

We based this outline on his book, Principles to Fortune, as well as our own research and a short pre-interview. Youโ€™ll notice the outline doesnโ€™t include full stories. I just need a short prompt that will guide my guest to his story.

Topic: How to Create a Company Culture That Grows Sales

Interviewee: Scott Bintz, founder of RealTruck, an online auto-part store

Before: Scottโ€™s story about how he started to hate working at the company he founded and led. He tried creating a company culture by writing down the company values, but his team ignored them and the effort fizzled out.

After: After a recommitment to his companyโ€™s culture, Scottโ€™s team focused on hitting goals while still having fun. They even convinced Scott to shave his head if they reached their goal of $10M in sales. After they hit the goal, Scott cut off his shoulder-length hair and donated it.

Tactic 1: Ask your employees what they already value.

Story: Instead of writing the values he wanted his company to follow, he asked everyone on his team to write down what makes the company meaningful to them.

Tactic 2: Condense the teamโ€™s responses to core company values.

Story: Scott sat down with all the responses he got and looked for common values. Then he picked the ones that he thought would create a fun environment and help his company grow.

Tactic 3: Track only metrics that matter.

Story: Scott eliminated his customer support teamโ€™s sales goals because they blocked a core value: โ€œdeliver more.โ€ As a result, the team started delighting customers. Once, the wife of a customer called to say her husband loved his truck like a mistress, and she wanted to buy a surprise treat for it. After placing her order, the support person sent her a surprise bouquet of flowers with a note that said, โ€œWe think the wife deserves a little treat too.โ€

Tactic 4: Roll out values one at a time.

Story: In the past, Scott posted his companyโ€™s values and was disappointed that no one lived up to them. His new approach was to roll out each value individually and spend an entire month teaching and reinforcing each one.

Tactic 5: Embed each value into the company.

Story: At a meeting, he asked everyone to think of ways they could live one of their core values. Everyone wrote down a suggestion. He picked some and got the company to implement them. Thatโ€™s how the company ended up writing cards to customers, sending them free fuzzy dice for their rearview mirrors, and surprising them with gifts.

Tactic 6: Recognize and reward employees who live the core values.

Story: Scottโ€™s team had many prizes made up so employees could give them to coworkers who were living out the companyโ€™s values.

Listen: How-To Interview Structure

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