Reconnection & Management by Walking Around

This summer is bringing the heat in more ways than one.  As we get closer to a post-pandemic world, businesses are shifting quickly to face the opportunity-rich, resource-constrained environment.  There is a lot to be excited about and at the same time, stress levels remain high with signs of burnout happening across industries and positions.  For many, business is booming and teams are working to reconnect at a deeper level.

Connection can be a moving target.  Disconnection happens slowly, over time.  Over the last year, trust has eroded in unique ways as the pandemic drove connections to screens.  Reconnection is powerful and necessary tool in today’s environment.  Small acts of connecting can have huge impact on your organization as a whole.  Trust between teams leads to healthy conflict, which is the basis for innovation and growth.

Strong relationships are built on unstructured time so consider Management by Walking Around (MBWA).  This is a way for leaders and managers to immerse themselves in the day-to-day worlds of their team.  Not only does this allow leaders to model behaviors and values, it also lets them stay engaged with the people and processes at the heart of the organization.

In order to implement MBWA, start by getting out from behind your desk and taking time to walk around the organization.  The goal is to create spontaneous and unplanned interactions.  Once you’re moving, don’t just say, ‘Hi,’ and keep going, work to strike up a conversation.  Conversations can be directly related to the work or more personal in nature.  The goal is to gather information that can prove beneficial in making decisions and resolving problems down the line.

Instead of a generic, ‘How are you?’ that usually leads to the pre-scripted, ‘Good, and you?’  Try different questions to touch-base with different individuals like:

1.  What was your favorite moment of the day so far?
2.  What am I interrupting?
3.  What are you looking forward to this week/month/season?
4.  What was the hardest part of your day?
5.  How can I make your day easier in five minutes?
6.  When did you feel appreciated today?
7.  What’s one thing at could do right now to make this (day, project, event) even better?
8.  What always makes you smile?
9.  How do you relax when you’re stressed out?
10. How do you unlock your creativity?

Try to learn three things about each person you meet so when you see them again, you will always have something to talk about.  And remember to be ready to share details from your life as well, connection is a two-way street.  MBWA is designed to encourage networks within the organization by developing better relationships and encouraging more open communication.

Make reconnection a focus for you and your fellow leaders right now as a way to support your team in this opportunity-rich, resource-constrained environment.