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It may be time to re-visit MBWA

(Management By Walking Around)


 Why? Because most 


business meetings are 


like playing SCRABBLE 


under water!


Underwater SCRABBLE? A lot of slow-motion time is wasted trying to earn points for drumming up obscure words that play off of what others have or have not produced. And–in the end–someone wins backpats; the word connection hodgepodge that surfaces has no meaning; and the board is dismantled until the next session when it starts all over again!


If you absolutely positively definitely have to have a meeting, do yourself a favor and work the following items into your meeting prep checklist:

  • Plan your meetin’ eatin’s!

If you are planning a major session and are looking for those in attendance to contribute mush — jelly, be sure to put out a plateful of jelly donuts. That will almost guarantee you the results you seek.

If, on the other hand, you are hopeful of some meaningful input from those you invite, put out some meaningful snacks. It doesn’t take any more time (and only marginally more money, maybe) to serve fresh fruit and raw veggies with a dip, and perhaps some cheese and crackers.

  • Take time with your invite list!

There’s nothing worse than having people dragged into a meeting who have no real purpose in being there and nothing of value to contribute. Think hard about who needs to be part of your dog and pony show and stop asking those to attend who you simply want to impress, or test. Do those things in other ways.

Their time is your money!

  • Share your agenda!

This is the world’s biggest stumbling block for meetings. Keep your agenda clear, simple, unencumbered, and targeted to those you invite. Circulate the agenda two business days ahead of time and ask for input that you may want to consider in the way of additions and deletions.

Have the finalized agenda printed in clear large block letters on a piece of cardboard or a whiteboard displayed for everyone tom see and stay tuned into. 

When you run the meeting, STICK TO THE AGENDA. When someone brings up something that’s not itemized, let that person know your level of interest in the subject, ask to table it for another time (next meeting, two minutes after this meeting, 37 years from now, whatever), and explain that this meeting is for this agenda, and thank her/him. 

  • Watch the clock!

This is not something you normally want to do or have others do, but it is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT that you start the meeting at exactly the time it is scheduled to start, regardless of who’s present or absent, and that you end it exactly when it is scheduled to end, regardless of what’s been covered or not.

Use follow-up sessions for issues not addressed.

  • Consider a room with no chairs!

If the subject matter needs to be dealt with quickly and there’s simply no time for side-trip excursions, and you want to minimize chatter and delays, use a room with no chairs. You’ll be amazed at how rapid and productive the meeting becomes.

Some meetings of course are necessary, but most are not. When it’s really necessary, make the most of it by focusing on the small things. Attention to planning details makes implementation productive.


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    302.933.0116   Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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  1. […]                                    You think maybe I mean MBWA – Management By Walking Around? No, I would have said that.   MBWA is arguably the most sensible and productive form of […]

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