Wednesday, April 03, 2013


The military learned long ago that you cannot hunker down in a reinforced area and expect to exert any serious level of control. You have to go out on patrols to learn the lay of the land, meet people, and engage possible adversaries. It takes effort, skill, and courage and it is not optional.

Managers also learn about MBWA - management by wandering around - and related techniques, all of which involve engaging with people and problems early on so there are as few surprises as possible.

I've noticed that one of the common issues encountered via "management patrols" is the extent to which people use the same terms for very different conditions or things. What is a requirement for one person is a rough guideline for another. They may as well be using different dictionaries.

Meeting them and learning what they mean and don't mean is extremely valuable. You can't pick up those things from behind a desk or by reading reports. You have to go see.

Go on patrol. Check the perimeters.

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