In 1982 a book called "In Search of Excellence" by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman came out. 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 Managing by Wandering Around, or MBWA.
With MBWA, “what you see is what you get.”
Peters, in his latest 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.
This principle applies to the church world, too. I’m fortunate, as I get to see it in action every week at the Uptown Campus of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C. Our campus pastor, Joel Delph, and our associate campus pastor, Preston Stack, make it a part of their Sunday AM routines. It’s not scheduled, but both of them can be seen circulating outside the theater entrance, talking with guests and team members. You see them on the sidewalk between the theater and the parking deck, smiling and welcoming everyone they see. On occasion, they even venture into the parking deck itself, 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 Sunday.
They have refined MBWA to LBWA…
Leadership by Walking Around