Leading By Walking About (LBWA)

If you spent any of your professional years working in the 1980’s, you’re probably at least slightly familiar Tom Peter’s best-selling management practice of Managing By Walking About (MBWA). This highly influential concept was for managers to walk the workplace and engage in discussions with people in all positions to define what’s working, what’s not, and what can be improved.

Simple stuff, but at that time less common than you might imagine. Later, in my opinion, the introduction of personal computers, email systems, as well as the shift of work for most managers to be partial individual contributors, undermined this successful practice.

Today’s times call for a step up, and what I’ll call, a modernization of the old practice. I believe we need to launch “Leading By Walking About” (LBWA). Technology advances and now the virtual work arrangement has physically siloed employees, yet that doesn’t mean that LBWA can’t be adapted. Leading By Walking About can be modernized for the times, it just might be a slower walk.

When was the last time that you called a colleagues or direct report and asked:

  1. What do you think is working well at the company, process, etc?
  2. What’s not working as well?
  3. What do you think can be improved? And how?

The premise hasn’t changed that the people doing the work are the best people to provide feedback and insights about the work. Leadership is about asking the right questions to the right people at the right time.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership, sales, and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life story. She administers assessments, designs, and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com