Home > Management, People Management > MBWA + MBE = KISS Management[tm]

MBWA + MBE = KISS Management[tm]

As most readers of my posts know by now, I love the KISS principle in all that I do (because honestly, I’m a lazy SOB, wishing that God would grant me my retirement dream of drinking fresh [whatevers] on a beach somewhere). The art of management is already difficult as you know, but trying to make sense of it – have you tried to read through Drucker’s classic, Practice of Management? – is begging the question to be asked, “Do you have a life?!”

Alas, no, I don’t and I’m ok with it. (Well, not really ok, but more or less at peace with my lot, ok.)

So how do I keep KISS in my day job? MBWA + MBE = KISS Management.

I’ve already made a few references to MBWA, Management By Walking Around, in my previous posts as an effective management style/technique for managers. However, to be truly effective, I also believe it needs to be combined with another management style/technique – MBE, Management By Exception. But before we get to explaining this from my perspective, I need to give credit to being inspired by Paul Ritchie and his Crossderry Blog where he clarifies the use of MBE based on Mike Chitty’s blog posting Whack-a-Mole Management (WaMM[tm]) style. This fabulously named management style seems to have come from Douglas Ross’ article posted on Slow Leadership Blog**. Indeed, whack-a-mole is a brain damaged leadership technique practiced by many a managers.

Essentially, MBWA is about being proactive, trying to catch and put out the fires so that one doesn’t have to do WaMM. But one of the limitations of MBWA is the simple fact that there is only one….of….you (ok, ok, you might stretch it and come up with 3, “me, myself, and I”, but that just means you’re being paid 1/3 of what you should be). This is where MBE comes in, you, need help. Remember the No-One-Man-Army (NOMA) Rule[tm]. And the help comes from delegating with the appropriate authority to those who actually can (and should) do the mole whacking when needed. No need for you to know about it because you’ve told your capable staff that they can shoot on sight and as their manager, you’ll support them and provide cover as necessary (don’t forget this!). Then and only then, can MBWA + MBE work. Otherwise, you’ll be asking to be buried in an avalanche of dead moles needing your clean up services and then we’re back to square one.

**It seems the earliest online reference came from FindArticles – A guide to management by exception; this managerial approach leaves routine decision making to the front-line supervisor.
Medical Laboratory Observer, Feb, 1986, by William O. Umiker
This story is worth reading and remembering. Thanks William Umiker, wherever you are.


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