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The Achiever Newsletter
Does MBWA (Management By Wandering Around)
Harry K. Jones
Peters, alumnus of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company
and one of today's best known and highest paid management gurus, first
came to prominence in 1982 as he "knocked our socks off" with
his eye-opening best-seller
In Search of Excellence. This thought-provoking classic provided
us with many valuable lessons from America's Best-Run Companies. Today,
almost 20 years and ten best sellers later, Peters is still on the cutting
edge of the on-going business revolution that never seems to end.
In his first book, Peters introduced us to the key concept of MBWA (Management
By Wandering Around). After a brief definition of this powerful strategy,
he shared a number of MBWA examples from such notable organizations as
Hewlett-Packard, GE, PepsiCo, LucasFilm, Corning Glass, 3M, Disney and
Wal-Mart. This unique approach obviously worked well for these and other
companies in the early 80's. However, has it stood the test of time?
Tom Peters believes it has... as does a great number of leaders and organizations
who continue the pursuit of excellence in today's competitive marketplace.
MBWA does not mean leaving your responsibilities behind as you stroll
through the nearest shopping mall. Even wandering through your organization
can do more harm than good if it isn't executed properly.
Here are a few tips to assist you in that same pursuit as you Manage
By Wandering Around.
- Appear relaxed as you make your rounds. Employees will reflect your
feelings and actions.
- Remain open and responsive to questions and concerns.
- Observe and listen and let everyone see you do it.
- Make certain your visits are spontaneous and unplanned.
- Talk with employees about their passions—whether family, hobbies,
vacations, or sports.
- Ask for suggestions to improve operations, products, service, sales,
- Try to spend an equal amount of time in all areas of your organization.
- Catch your employees doing something right and recognize them publicly.
- Convey the image of a coach—not an inspector.
- Encourage your employees to show you how the real work of the company
MBWA works best when you are genuinely interested in employees and in
their work and when they see you as there to listen. It sometimes requires
follow-up. When you can't answer an employee's questions on the
spot, get back to them with an answer within 48 hours.
Publication Date: Spring 2001
K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®,
Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars,
and consulting services.
Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer
For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629
or fill out our contact