Usually referred to in a (somewhat) cynical way – and with its own acronym (MBWA) – the particular style of management which sees leader seemingly aimlessly walking around has been around for quite a while. In our hyper-focused, every-minute-counts, todo-list optimized world, taking the time to wander around seems frivolous and outright wrong. And yet – there is plenty evidence that it works.
For starters, as a leader, you get a much better ground truth for what is going on in your organization and with your customers. It is also a massive morale booster – and a powerful way for a leader to make sure her message is heard across the company.
I remember John Lilly, Mozilla’s CEO for my first three years at the organization, regularly showing up in our corner of the building, chatting, asking questions and providing feedback. It was an enormously powerful way for us to feel included and clued into what was going on across the company, a way for us to voice our concerns and ideas informally and get quick feedback on issues without raising them more formally.
If your company has grown beyond the stage where all of you fit into a single room – it might be high time to get moving a bit more. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of your MBWA practice.