The organizations that our IT departments serve have lots of parts, pieces, and most importantly, people. Walkabouts are a good way to stay in touch.
Walkabouts give you informal chances to have conversations with others in your organization. You can learn a lot from these hallway chats.
Here are some other things to consider.
- Show genuine curiosity about the people and what they are working on. As an IT leader, the more you know about the company, the better you can do your job.
- As a leader in your company, you care about the people. The conversations you have on your walkabouts, even though they are short, keeps you connected.
- Look for small openings to start conversation. In several of the companies I have worked at, there are people that move product around the building. Ask what it is and where they are taking it.
- I like asking “What are you working on these days?” as it gives them an opportunity to explain their job.
- If you regularly walk about your facility, you will start seeing familiar faces, making it easier to talk.
- Having someone ask you to fix a computer problem or show them how to do something is a great opportunity to start a conversation.
- Schedule meetings in different conference rooms around your facility so you have to walk.
- If your company is working on Lean, you may have Gemba walks. These are semi-formal opportunities to get out and talk to folks about their work. Get on the Gemba team.
- At several companies I’ve worked at, there was a Leadership Greeting portion of New Employee Orientation. This provided a great opportunity to meet new employees. Then you can find them on your walkabout and check in.
It will be easy to get too busy for Walkabouts. But the benefits are worth it. Make time in your schedule to stay connected to all the people in the organization.