Facebook Facebook icon Twitter Twitter icon LinkedIn LinkedIn icon Email
How do you get a quality answer? Now, that’s a good question


How do you get a quality answer? Now, that’s a good question

IbyIMD+ Published 8 February 2023 in Magazine • 8 min read

Leaders will get far more useful responses if they learn the art of asking ‘clean’ questions. Heather Cairns-Lee, James Lawley and Paul Tosey explain how to do it.

Asking good questions is a vital part of being a business leader. But how can you be sure the answers someone gives accurately reflect their real thoughts? The solution we recommend is to use the principles of clean language interviewing (CLI) – an approach to asking questions aimed at eliciting authentic answers about a person’s thoughts and experiences. In business, CLI is a useful tool for improving the quality of information in both formal and less structured situations.

CLI involves three principles. First, minimizing the use of the questioner’s own terms and assumptions. Second, using the exact language of the person being questioned to enquire about their thoughts and experiences. And third, asking questions that give the person maximum freedom to express their answers.

You may think, “I already do that.” And you might be right, but only to a degree. Even people highly experienced at asking questions rarely appreciate how much of their own views and assumptions…

Corporate membership

Login and subscribe to IbyIMD+ subscription

Explore first person business intelligence from top minds curated for a global executive audience