Management guru and ‘In Search of Excellence’ author Tom Peters, labeled this practice MBWA (Management by Wandering Around) back in the early to mid-1980’s. It’s an approach not often practiced by many today.
However, I read this week about Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Greg Foran, about eight months into the job, has been personally undertaking tasks such as stocking shelves and talking to customers to assess areas of opportunity and weakness. He apparently, has visited over 116 stores unannounced.
Now this isn’t ‘undercover boss’ a reality television show … this is the ‘real deal’.
Thus far, he has identified 8 – specific actions necessary to improve the company’s top and bottom line. You can read more about it here if you like.
We have a client in South Carolina where the new senior leader is taking the same approach. Not for show, but to listen and prioritize necessary change. An approach I aggressively applaud which supports their employee engagement strategy.
My leadership tip for you this week is to remind you of the importance of spending time ‘in the field’ with your customers and employees.
MBWA done properly, will allow you to:
- See your organization from a different perspective.
- Discover opportunities to improve your organization.
- Identify weaknesses in your organization that need correction.
- Build credibility, trust and respect as a leader.
- Build morale, as your organization sees that you care.
There are many other benefits associated with wandering around your organization … but, it has to done properly. Be your authentic self and follow these simple guidelines:
- Dress appropriately.
- Ask great questions.
I absolutely love the leader who gets out of their office and spends time in the field where customers and employees hangout.