Management by Walking Around (Versus Just Stumbling About) has been embraced by numerous companies which have begun to appreciate the importance of Senior Management presence in the “field” with their personnel.
This need is further reinforced by a recent Gallup Poll that identified only 30% of employees consider themselves engaged. Even more disturbing, a 2019 Liberty Mutual Group Report identified employee compensation costs approaching approximately $56B per year. Additional considerations include attrition, reduced morale, loss of productivity, and lack of employee support for future company initiatives.
Management presence in the field has been addressed by numerous titles, with one of the most recognized being Management by Walking Around (MBWA). While worthwhile, employees can become inadvertently further disengaged due to management efforts that are well intentioned, but counterproductive. Examples include employees not being comfortable talking with management, no feedback being provided, and efforts being viewed as merely a symbolic show of supposed management interest.
Candidly, most managers are better off not spending time in the field if they don’t have a comprehensive strategy. While there have a series of publications addressing this topic, here are a few thoughts to consider:
- Listen more, talk less.
- People driven.
- You don’t know what you don’t know.
- Ongoing process.
Finally, results of MBWA efforts need to be formally reviewed, and acted upon, by senior management. As noted by Ms. Carly Fiorina: “The goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.”
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