Monthly Archives: May 2013

You Don’t Need to Go Undercover to be a Great Boss


I love to watch Undercover Boss. If you have not watched it, the premise of this show is about CEOs who feel they have lost touch with the rest of their companies, so they disguise themselves and go undercover.  While it makes for good TV, every leader can have a similar effect on his teams (without having to wear a disguise) by regularly practicing MBWA.

Over 40 years ago, Tom Peters introduced us to the key concept of MBWA (Management By Wandering Around).  MBWA is simply leaders getting away from their desks and starting to talk to individual employees.

Here are a few tips to assist you in that same pursuit as you Manage By Wandering Around.


  1. Make it a relaxed experience when you are visiting.
  2. Don’t go with an agenda other than to learn.
  3. Ask questions and be open and responsive to questions and concerns.
  4. If you don’t know an answer to a question that you are asked, admit it and promise to follow-up.
  5. Follow up. If you fail to follow-up you lose trust.
  6. Listen and observe.
  7. Talk with employees about not only their jobs, but their lives, passions and aspirations.
  8. Balance you time in all areas of your organization.
  9. Catch your employees doing something right and recognize them publicly.
  10. Do not be an inspector. If you see something that you feel should be changed, make a note and take care of it later.
  11. Never criticize publicly.
  12. Encourage your employees to show you how the real work of the company is done.
  13. If you can, jump in and help them.
  14. Try to remember what you talked to them about next time.
  15. Repeat regularly.

“Leaders must touch a heart before they ask for a hand.”

John Maxwell

MBWA works best when you are genuinely interested in employees and in their success. If you want engaged, passionate people, go where they are and passionately engage them.

Contact me to find out more about how I can work with you and your team to develop a culture of excellent service.

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Life Lessons that my mom taught me

This weekend we will celebrate our mothers and thank them for all they have done. If you are a mom I salute you and all you do for your children.

Mothers serve by loving unconditionally, putting the needs of others ahead of their own. They lead, by teaching, influencing and coaching every step of the way. They see true success as the success of their children.

To a good mother the goal is not to be a great mother. It is to raise great kids.

I hope I have made mine a little bit proud.


My mother had a unique name for a woman and Frankie Jane Vanover truly was a unique individual. She was a coal miner’s daughter, a pastor’s wife, a nurse, big sister and an outstanding mother to 3 boys.   She was Nana to her grandchildren, and a good friend to many.

I lost my mom in 1998 and a day does not go by, that I do not miss her or think of things she has taught me. I will always be grateful for the influence she had on my life and the lives of many others. These are but a few of the things I learned from her.

Have faith – The most important thing that I learned from Frankie Jane was to trust in the Lord. Her faith has positively influenced the lives of countless people.

Work hard – My mother worked hard. On the day she discovered that she had a collapsed lung, pneumonia and lung cancer she refused to go to seek treatment for herself until all of the patients in the office had been seen. I will always be grateful for her influence in this area of my life.

Love Unconditionally – No matter what we had done or messed up we could always come to her, because we knew that she would forgive us and help us learn from mistakes. She trusted us to do our best and when we didn’t she was never took it personally.

Take it all in stride – I know my mother was a worrier, but she never seemed to let her worries or frustrations get the best of her.  I don’t ever remember her speaking in anger to anyone.

Believe in others and believe in yourself –  I learned to believe in people and expect the best from them because I saw her do that for me, my dad and my younger brothers.

Be kind to everyone – My mom helped everyone that she could. She did countless small quiet acts of kindness.  My mom truly left people better off than they were when they met her.

Try new things – She pushed us to try new things. Sometimes I will eat (Well too often I eat) a certain food and my mind goes back to the memory of her convincing me that this food would be good if I would only try it.

Have a plan but remain flexible. –  I have seen my mom make plans and then be able to change and improvise without ever showing frustration.

Don’t take your self too seriously – My mom could laugh at herself and by her example we learned that we do some pretty crazy things sometimes and it is healthy to not be too serious.

The Bible says “Honor your father and your mother.” For me that has never been a hard commandment. I was blessed with mom!  Happy Mother’s Day.

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It’s Always the Leader



A fun animated excerpt of renowned leadership and management author Ken Blanchard’s remarks from the Drucker Centennial.

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