Posted by Cameron
on November 14, 2011
Don’t underestimate the power of just hanging out with your employees. But you’ve got to just hang–don’t turn it into a business talk! Also, spend time with people who aren’t your favorites. If you only hang out with the favorites, then you’ll continue to build walls within your teams that they see, but you don’t. And that isn’t good for you or your company.
When you’re just spending time chatting casually with employees, you’ll see that they like that you’re hanging out with them in an unstructured way. They’ll start to open up to you as a person, and this will go a long way for your business and building the culture you want. Think of it like a dinner party: if you had a group of friends over for dinner, you’d chat with each of them and ensure they were having fun. Do the same at the office.
Close to thirty years ago, Tom Peters wrote the book, In Search of Excellence, and in it he introduced us to an acronym called “MBWA.” MBWA stands for “Management By Walking Around.” This doesn’t mean interrupting people while they are trying to focus. However, it does mean spending time with all the employees near or at their workspaces in casual interaction. The more time you spend doing MBWA, the more you will truly learn about what’s really going on in your company, and the more the teams will respond to you as a leader.
If you have a huge company and don’t physically have time to hang out with everyone, take a different path out of the office at the end of the day. Wander between different rows of workstations or past different work areas just chat to people or say hi quickly. You will notice the energy rise.
For information on this topic, check out: Leadership at 100MPH.
Posted by Cameron
on June 23, 2010
Tom Peters, in his book “ In Search of Excellence: Lessons from Americas Best Run Companies”, which was one of the first business books I ever read talked about management by walking around – MBWA. It became the big buzz word 25 years ago and is still used today.
MBWA got into the fact that management tended to sit at their desks in private offices, or in board rooms with other managers who spent their time in private offices, and they made decisions about the business without having any real insights into the day-to-day or what the employees actually thought or did.
A mentor of mine Albert Koopman taught me about the South African way of leading teams. And it’s very different from the American autocratic/paternalistic style where leaders decide, and leaders tell subordinates what to do, and then hold them accountable to do it.
As Albert explained to me, in South Africa the largest majority of the workforce are black. According to Albert, “If you ‘tell them’ what to do they’ll fight back or simply won’t comply. So what they do as managers in South Africa is tell the workforce what the goals are, show them the direction the company is going in, and then let the workers figure out what and how to do it.”
They essentially inspire a team to go where they want them to go. I mentor CEO’s this very significant and effective point in running a business. This is how EVERY company should be led.
For more information on this topic, check out: Building a World Class Culture.
Every company has them. Most CEOs don’t know who they are. In fact most companies miss the diamonds sitting right in front of them.
Instead of going outside your company and recruiting people, companies need to really get to know their own people first. Every company has diamonds in the rough.
The other day I met with an employee from a well known Vancouver company. The employee is fantastic. Yet due to some internal politics they are being kept in ‘their box’ and aren’t getting any visibility with the CEO and leadership. Shame. Because if the leaders don’t quickly see what this person has to offer a) they’ll leave and b) someone else will ‘hire a superstar’ from outside.
I coach CEOs that they should be spending time each week getting to know the talent they have 2-3 levels beneath them on the Org Chart. CEOs should be figuring out who they have on their bench that are not being challenged yet by their VPs & Directors.
Years ago I found numerous employees who were diamond in the rough but worked in completely different business areas than they do now. By spending time with them on the floor, going for coffee with them, getting to know their personal dreams, and as Tom Peters challenged us to do in his book In Search of Excellence with MBWA (Management By Walking Around), I uncovered the diamonds.
Who are your company’s diamonds? Who will find them first? You or the competition?
For more information on this topic, check out: Building a World Class Culture and Leadership at 100MPH.