Are You the Captain of the Titanic

Disconnected leaders are captains on the Titanic. 

Comfortable disconnection in the present signals failure in the future.

Isolation may feel comfortable – especially in difficult situations – but it sinks leaders and organizations.  

When you feel like pulling away, lean in.

Get off the Titanic:

Begin with unfocused walkabouts. Just wander around. (Hewlett and Packard invented “Managing by Wandering Around.”)

Wandering around is more important as responsibilities expand. This includes leaders in Human Resources, Accounting, and Marketing.

The further you are from the front-line, the more you need to walkabout.

Tip: Connect with the front-line, not just other leaders.

Focused walkabouts engage people and expand organizations.

If you’re already wandering around, try focused walkabouts.

I encourage leaders to connect by taking fifteen minutes a day to walkabout with a specific intention. (If once a day is too much, try twice a week.)

7 focused walkabouts:

Walkabout asking questions, not giving direction.

  1. Empowering walkabouts. “If you were the boss, what would you do (name a situation)?”
  2. Affirmation walkabouts. “You’re really great at … . Keep it up.”
  3. Accountability walkabouts. “What’s happening with (name a project)?”
  4. Give feedback walkabouts. “I notice … . The impact of that behavior is … .”
  5. Effectiveness walkabouts. “What might we stop doing?”
  6. Challenge walkabouts. “I’m counting on you to … .”
  7. Values walkabouts. Choose an organizational value and ask about it. “How are we recognizing initiative?” (If initiative is one of your values.)

Two new walkabouts:

I’ve never suggested the following walkabouts.

#1. Learning from failure walkabout:

  • “What are we/you learning from failure?”
  • “Where did we/you fall short last week? What did we/you learn?”
  • “What are you learning about yourself? Your team?” (With falling short in mind.)
  • “What are you learning about … ?” (Insert a topic)

#2. Innovation walk about. “What would you like to try that we aren’t already doing?”

The ship could be sinking – but you wouldn’t know – unless you walkabout.

What walkabouts seem most relevant to you?

What topics for walkabouts might you suggest?

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