MBWA Should Still be a Focus


I first heard of management by walking around (MBWA) from the great Tom Peters book "In Search of Excellence". Mr. Peters still preaches this concept today. In essence, it means that leaders need to get out of their offices and their meetings and make regular trips to where the front-line workers are to talk with them and see how things are going. The essence is that the only way to really know your business is to visit all the different parts of it.

As many companies move to remote or hybrid work environments, the question needs to be asked: "Is MBWA still relevant?"

Yes - maybe even more so.

The core principle isn't "walking", it is being visible. Connecting with the front line workers so you know what is going on and they know you. It also wasn't meant to be formal, such as a preplanned meeting. Its very essence was informality.

How can you do it in this potentially new environment? Remember the key is visibility. Randomly call or video chat with people. Set up office hours where you will be online and people can pop in and chat or ask questions. Hold optional online meetings where you can ask questions of people and they can ask questions of you.

I'm sure there are plenty of creative ways to remain visible and connect to people.