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Keys to Success

A Different Look at MBWA - Does There Need
to be a Manager's Time Out

by Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS, September 23, 2010

“Management by Walking (or Wandering) Around” has been the focus of my last two messages and at the end of each I issued a challenge… to every manager who is responsible for 5 or more people:  measure your in and out of the office time and at the end of the week, see how much time you spent ACTIVELY INTERACTING with your team.

I suggested the goal should be 70% of the time out of the office and asked managers to privately evaluate how they did and what they would do the following week. Reader feedback strongly endorsed the 7 practical steps on improving their staff interaction listed in the last article, yet I had an internal pesky feeling I had missed one observation.  This morning, I realized what it was relating to MBWA and everything that managers do – it was the need for “time out.”

Each one of us probably remembers on our own or possibly with our children times when we or others become over-stimulated and edgy.  The potential to say inappropriate things or to over-extend becomes very real.  I recall working for a major international company and was at the grocery with my bride shopping on a Sunday.  She realized she had gone a row ahead of me and turned around to see me doing what many of us have fallen prey to becoming: CRACKBERRIES.  Despite my working 10+ hours daily, on this my day off, I found myself feeling “obligated” to answer emails and “keep in touch.”

I believe the goal of 70% out of the office is a valid one with considerable merit and value for all parties. In order to MBWA, the manager must delegate some tasks and responsibilities to others.

In addition to giving others a chance to grow, this delegation also gives the manager a “time-out” to develop other thought patterns and options.  

Here are some ways a manager might utilize their TIME OUT to develop those other thought patterns, while maintaining the commitment to MBWA.

  1. Set certain rules on the use of your I-phone and Blackberry or Smart-Phone. Give your mind a breather.
  2. Set aside time each day for short meditation breaks.
  3. Take the team once in awhile to an afternoon ball game or activity where there can be discussion on things in addition to business. These are solid team building events.
  4. Embrace the positive side of travel. We are in the hospitality business and taking a vacation helps us get into a relaxed mind-set where we are not so inclined to respond to emails and calls.
  5. Find or expand a non-business related hobby as a distraction and a mental refreshing exercise.
I attended a program earlier this year that included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a keynote speaker.  The messages included the expected references to 911, his sincere pride of New Yorkers and the police/fire departments, as well as his political past and future aspirations.  He made one unexpected appeal to the large crowd in attendance. He urged every participant to challenge their thinking, embrace rather than fear technology, and to read two books weekly. He said his growth and ongoing education came from reading two books per week – one that was for personal enjoyment on whatever hit his fancy at the time and the other was for personal learning and development on a topic he was not an authority on. His point on this need for balance made sense to me and triggered my recognition of a manager’s time out as an opportunity to attain that balance in the workplace.
Keys to Success Hospitality
Tip of the Week: 
Focus on Personal Development 

This week, change your schedule to include one new activity of your choice that will assist in your personal development. (This will likely also help your professional growth).  Track your progress over the next four weeks and measure what positive changes you can observe.

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2010 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings will focus on a wide variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles and HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS. My segments Lessons from the Field, Hotel Common Sense and Principles for Success will be featured at appropriate times in the year as well.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at  anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements …………. 

And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium ( of successful corporate and academic mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry. is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.   Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.  If readers would like to contribute to the site, please submit your material for consideration to  We are interested in expanding our global networks and resources as we support our membership.


Contact: Julie Dunn


Also See: Hotel Common Sense: 7 Practical Steps on MBWA / Dr John Hogan / September 2010

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