Try ‘management by walking around’

Walk Around The Office More

From here:

As a leader in his company, Bud used what he called “Management by Wandering Around” (MBWA), where he’d stop into offices and ask the opinions of employees, clients, and others to gather insights about his organization and clients. He made it comfortable for people to give him contradictory advice and bad news. In doing so, he discovered major flaws in the company that called for radical change. One such issue was years of growing discord between himself and his partner, Marv Abelson, and its divisive impact on the organization.

Now, yes, this is one manager in one organization, and it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. People are different, and I understand that. But there’s a growing amount of literature that simply walking around more — and sharing credit — can be huge reflections on your leadership.

It makes sense: the essence of “employee engagement,” whether or not you actually ‘get it,’ isn’t about pool tables and free ceral at 6pm. (That stuff is nice, though.) It’s about human-to-human connection, which most middle managers and bosses have kind of given up on over the last 30-40 years. (Here’s but one example of that.)

This is why it’s hard for me to believe you can solve engagement issues with software tools, because that just adds another layer of monitoring and work (which managers won’t want to do), and it puts another layer between the employer and employee.

Rather, just go walk around a bit more. It could make all the difference.


Ted Bauer


  1. Try “leadership” by walking around and asking; ” Is there anything we might be doing to create value for our customers? – and – “Is there anything senior management can do you help you and any other of the employees?” – The big “leadership” take away here is an actual “leader” is asking in earnest. – This ONLY works if the senior manager truly cares about value creation for the customers and value delivery to her/his co-workers.

    In my experience, senior managers only care about taking the maximum value they can out of the business operation for the shareholders and demand an ever greater percentage of that value given to them personally as a shareholder authorized kickback. (Is any CEO really 1232X more valuable than the average for the rank-in-file co-worker? – BTW, everyone who says they can justify that salary disparity is full of shit!) The overwhelming majority of 2015 corporate senior managers and shareholders take every last penny of value they can take out of their businesses at the expense of their employees and now more and more company’s managers even take at the expense of their customers! (Well it’s true isn’t it? – don’t you just love being a Comcast customer!)

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