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   MBWA, Management By Wandering Around, My Favorite
Business Acronym Since the Early 70's
by Richard J. Welch CHA,CHME, January 2007

MBWA, Management By Wandering Around, has been my favorite business acronym since the early 70's.

I was attending a management meeting for all Marriott employees, when it was announced that Bill Marriott Sr. was going to address the meeting.
He eagerly began speaking about the key formula of a successful hotel Manager. He went on to explain that when he started spending less time in his office and more time out and about in his restaurant his business began to prosper more than he ever imagined.  

The concept of Management By Wondering Around (MBWA), is that managers cannot be effective if they spend most of their time in their offices. They need to get out into their co-workers workspaces and departments and to every nook and cranny of their departments. They need to have informal discussions with their co-workers about problems, ask questions, and provide positive reinforcement for a job well done. Praise and correction are always more effective when they are given immediately, not in a monthly review of a co-worker's progress.

I then decided to adapt the acronym for use in every business I participated in. MBWA was going to be my new War-Cry.  

The result of the new acronym, MBWA, was amazing. I immediately began obtaining better information and therefore making better decisions. Staff and managers began working as teams and our performance began to improve significantly.

One great example of how MBWA helped us was when I talked to the team members of our Hotel about our hiring practices. We were having trouble (or thought we were having trouble) selecting the best candidates for these positions. When our managers asked our staff for their suggestions about how we should change our interviewing process, they told us that the problem wasn't so much our hiring practices as a need for better training. I decided to respond to their input by requesting the corporate Director of Training, whose first project was to establish orientation programs for all new staff. These programs greatly improved the performance of new team members, showing that the team members for better training was valid. We would never have realized this without the practice of MBWA. 

Another example of how MBWA helped our house keeping department was the discovery of the fact that we were wasting an excessive amount of money and time under-loading our washing machines. One of our managers, on his daily rounds, realized that the machines were not loaded to capacity and had a discussion with the housekeeping staff about the issue. He discovered that they had never been trained on how to determine if a front loading commercial washer is full. This interaction with staff showed us that we needed to improve our training. The result was reduced operational costs.

I could go on and on about how things started to change but time does not permit. 

Adding MBWA made all the difference at all of our hotels. It enabled me to finally enforce the original concept of this clever acronym that Mr. Marriott spoke about, which is to encourage teamwork between management and staff, increase the number of informal problem-solving opportunities on a daily basis, and thereby produce immediate and creative solutions.

Bill Marriott, Sr. did wonder around and was wandering around at the host hotel meeting we were attending in St. Louis. When it was time for him to make his speech he began by noticing cold fat in the fryer, trash on the ground in front of the dumpster, dust on picture frames in the guest rooms and on and on. His point was to manage every day by walking your property, speaking to your team members and implement their help in the success feature of the hotel. He was emphatic concerning that management be out of their offices and in their departments with their associates.

Mr. Marriott was so right that his small little root beer restaurant in the Washington area has become the Greatest Hotel Company in the World today! 

Thank You Mr. Marriott!




Richard J. Welch, CHA, CHME 
The Lakeshore Group
(404) 285-4771
2034 Ivy Ridge Road
Smryna, GA 30080


Also See SARS, Wars, the Economy and Now Monkey Pox; The Task of Rebounding from these Changes is a Full-time Job / Richard J. Welch, CHA, CHME / July 2003
Too Much Technology May Be Putting Your Hotel Out of Business / Richard J. Welch, CHA, CHME / June 2003
Implement This Successful Hotel Sales Program In Under 30 Days! / Richard J. Welch CHA, CHME / March 2003
Opinion: Hotel Brand Franchise Impact Policies Must Change / Richard J. Welch, C.H.A / June 2002 
e-Commerce Marketing, The Race For Success / Richard J. Welch CHA, CHME / January 2003 

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