Main managerial productivity
problem of many companies is that managers are remote from the detail, out
of touch with their people and their customers. As
W. Edwards Deming, an
American who introduced the idea of quality management to the Japanese, put it: "If you wait for people to come to
you, you'll only get small problems. You must go and find them. The big
problems are where people don't realize they have one in the first
MBWA is an informal
practice. It makes the entire workplace less formal. It was MBWA that made
leadership more effective in many well-run organizations. It "lets senior
management hunt for and enjoy chatting with the creative thinkers in the
guts of the organization".5 MBWA frequently goes together with an
open-door management policy.
At first, employees may suspect that MBWA is just an excuse for managers to
spy and interfere unnecessary. This suspicion usually falls away if the
walkabouts occur regularly, and if everyone can see their benefits.
MBWA has been found to be
particularly helpful when an organization is under exceptional stress; for
instance, after a significant corporate reorganization has been announced.
It is no good practicing MBWA for the first time on such an occasion,
however. It has to have been a regular practice before the stress arises.
Tom Peters, the guru of
Excellence, saw "managing by wandering around" as the basis of
and excellence. Peters called MBWA the "technology of obvious"...
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.”...
"You can't possibly make the best or
quickest decisions without data," says
Michael Dell, the Founder of
"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."...