Management by Walking Around - Bill Harrison Coach'S Quick Note July 2020

Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2020
By: David Burkhart
Categories: Construction News

Bill Harrison  -  July 2020 

Management by Walking Around what an old-fashioned concept, right? Maybe with all our “cool” electronic devices we have forgotten how powerful this concept is. Maybe too often we forget we are in the people business.

A brief story how I learned this in high school; yes, I can still remember that long ago. Our Distributive Education class took a trip at Christmas to the largest department store in Chicago. We had lunch with the executives in their dining room. Then we split up with some of the execs,

I was paired with the VP of Logistics and we went to the warehouse. As you can imagine, it was a HUGE place with rail lines and many, many truck bays. As we walked the VP was talking to everyone and knew their names and things that were happening in their lives; well over a hundred folks.

Back in his office we talked about this. He said he made trips to the warehouse a couple of times a day. “These are the folks that give me a job”, he said. Plus, most of our improvements come from those folks, not this office or my staff.

On Their Turf
Some folks go for months and never see their lead-ers. Of if they do, the “boss” only finds things to complain about. Simply put, any fool can find things wrong. The superstars can find things right. Ever live with someone who was nagging you all the time? How did that work for you? Enough said.

The one question the VP was always asking was: “How can we do things better”? Then he shut up and listened; really listened. Team members are more comfortable speaking up on their turf and one on one or in small groups. Most folks don’t want to speak up in a shop meeting or staff meeting, right?  The VP said that one of their biggest cost savings had come from the cleaning crew when he asked a couple of them what could be done better.

So get this:

You might feel uncomfortable doing this at first. Building relationships with people does not come easy for most folks. Just remember, without these team members the manager does not have a job. Walk around and listen and you will gain their re-spect; respect must be earned; it doesn’t come with the title. 

All feedback is appreciated. Be safe.

The Phoenix Leadership Institute LLC
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