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Founder, Ten3 Business e-Coach – Inspiration and Innovation Unlimited!


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What Leaders and Managers Should Do

As leaders and managers wander around, at least three things should be going on:

  1. They should be listening to what people are saying.

  2. They should be using the opportunity to transmit the company's values face to face.

  3. They should be prepared and able to give people on-the-spot help.



Management by Wandering Around (MBWA)

7 MBWA Principles

Managerial Leadership

What Today's Workplace Needs Its Leaders To Do

New Management Model

Management by Objectives (MBO)

Business Innovation

New People Partnership

25 Lessons from Jack Welch

Harnessing the Power of Diversity

Intellectual Cross-Pollination


David Packard, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, defined himself as a HP man first and a CEO second. He was a man of the people, practicing management by walking around. Packard is quoted as saying: “You shouldn't gloat about anything you've done; you ought to keep going and find something better to do.”

At Hewlett-Packard, where the MBWA theory was practiced, executives were encouraged to be out of their offices working on building relationships,  motivating,  and keeping direct touch with the activities of the company. The practice of MBWA at all levels of the company reflects a commitment to keep up to date with individuals and activities through impromptu discussions, "coffee talks", communication lunches, and the like.


Dell Inc.

"You can't possibly make the best or quickest decisions without data," says Michael Dell, the Founder of Dell Computers.1 "Information is the key to any competitive advantage. But data doesn't just drop by your office to pay you a visit. You've got to go out and gather it.

"I do it by roaming around.

I don't want my interactions planned; I want anecdotal feedback. I want to hear spontaneous remarks. I want to come upon someone who's teaching an elderly woman how to turn her system on for the first time. I want to happen upon someone who is stumped by a customer's question – and help answer it if I can. I want to experience this, because this is what our employees' days are made of, and it arms me with relevant information to make the best decision on behalf of our customers and our people.

"Some days I show up at our headquarters building; other days, I'll go to some of our other facilities. I show up at the factory unannounced to talk to the people on the floor and to see what's really going on. I go to brown-bag lunches two or three times a month, and meet with a cross-section of people from all across the company. It's easy to sit in a product meeting and say, "We have these new products and our salespeople will sell them." But this may not be the reality. So I go to a brown-bag lunch and listen carefully to what the sales force has to say. It's a great way of learning what people are really dealing with on a day-to-day basis, and provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and solutions.

"I believe you can learn a lot from incidental interactions. I might be in a car with an account executive as we drive from one customer to another. That's a great opportunity to find out what's really going on. I'll ask, "What are your customers telling you? How do you think the company's products are doing? What are you seeing in the competitive market? What are the biggest challenges? What are the threats to your success? How can the company support you better?" The qualitative data are as important as the quantitative data in terms of keeping our people motivated and our focus on target.

"I also enjoy roaming around outside the company to see what people think of us."... More



  1. "Direct from Dell", Michael Dell with Catherine Fredman