Observe and manage by walking around...


One of my neighbors here in Las Vegas is the local food critic: most nights he’s out testing the local fare. We’ve gone with him a few times and it’s quite the experience: lots of samples, questions, and opinions. Around the neighborhood he’s quite the raconteur, regaling us with stories and opinions. But out on the town he’s all business: for all of his assuredness, he’s quite proud of leaving his opinions and bias at the door; while working, he’s a skeptic, critic and coach. And when he’s done, and the food and experience are digested, his first thoughts and comments are well considered, appropriately phrased, and wisely shared.  It’s interesting to see how everyone working there stands a little straighter, works a little harder, and smiles a little brighter: it’s not fawning, they’re performing at their best. And as I think about his profession and role, it’s not all that different from when managers and supervisors walk the floor: employees do the same, again, not trying to play up to them so much as trying to do their best. Good bosses walk around and watch and talk and comment and coach. We all want our employees to perform at their best whether we’re walking the floor or not: that’s a combination of the right people being in the right jobs, having proper guidance and instruction, and having the benefit of lots of feedback and coaching. Give your employees all of that and they’ll do what’s right whether you’re watching or not today.


George Jean Nathan (1882 –1958): American drama critic and magazine editor (and no relation)