In 1982 a book called In Search of Excellence, by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman was published. Even though it was a business book, it made quite a hit in my seminary classes as well. (Way back when, even before it became the standard practice it is today, Ralph Hardee had us reading business books!)
One of the most important lessons of that book then, and still important today, is the idea of MBWA, or Managing by Wandering Around.
With MBWA, “what you see is what you get.”
Peters, in his book The Little BIG Things, added these thoughts about MBWA:
- Get out of your office!
- Unplug your laptop!
- Put your smartphone in the drawer!
- Chat up anybody whose path you cross…especially if they are not among your normal chatees.
- Go strolling in parts of the organization (or your neighborhood) where you normally don’t stroll.
- Slow down.
There is a lot of value in putting “wandering” on your permanent formal agenda. It may sound counterintuitive, but “aimless wandering” requires strict discipline. We all fall into ruts, even in our wanderings. Same route. Same people. Same time of day. Etc. Etc. Etc. Somehow you’ve got to introduce spontaneity.
Make a pledge to “just wander” at least a half-hour each day. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you come back to the pile of work on your desk or the files open on your screen.
A podcast by Lee Cockerell, former Executive VP for Operations at Walt Disney World, put this into perspective. Before he came to Disney, he was a general manager for Marriott hotels. He made it his practice to walk every floor of his multi-story hotel 3 times per day. This allowed him to see and be seen by all three shifts. It also allowed his team to become comfortable enough to engage in conversations, and bring matters to his attention. This in turn instilled a sense of purpose and value to each employee.
This principle applies to ChurchWorld, too. I’m fortunate, as I get to see it in action every week at the Lake Norman Campus of Elevation Church in Charlotte. Our Campus Pastor, Matthew Drew, and the rest of the staff, Chad, Brennen, and Nicole, make it a part of their weekend routine. It’s not scheduled, but they can be seen circulating outside the entrance, talking with Guests and team members. You see them on the sidewalk between the building and the parking lot, smiling and welcoming everyone they see. On occasion, they even venture into the parking lots, just to check things out.
There’s plenty for them to “do” inside, but they realize the value of connecting with as many people as possible – even if only for a moment – each and every weekend.
They have refined MBWA to LBWA…