Tom Peters specializes in leadership inspiration, teaching, and a little bit of well-intentioned shouting. He’s written a passel of books, several seminars, magazine articles and more. Many have been very useful for me personally and I'd recommend looking him up.
One of Mr. Peters' major themes is MBWA – management by walking around.
Rather than staying put behind a desk, locked in an office, and removed from the actual work of the company, Peters suggest leaders spend half of their time out walking around, checking in, seeing how they could be helpful, and listening.
While conducting research, Peters found this practice in the best firms. When you think back on the best work environment you’ve enjoyed, I’ll bet there was a lot of MBWA. The approach builds camaraderie, connection, and deepens understanding from both sides of the ‘management experience.’
Of course, it’s just as true in our personal lives. I know I feel a whole lot closer with my friends and family when I’m out spending time with them, playing, talking, eating a meal or just sitting together. You probably do, too.
The Most Important Walking Around
In reading the gospels, I’m struck with how much time Jesus spent with others. In the three years of ministry, I bet he spent more time with people than he did sleeping! And, it wasn’t always sitting and having a cup of wine together. There was A LOT of walking around. (On sandals across very rocky ground.)
In Peters’ parlance, Jesus showed us what it means to be a Christian by walking around. Yes, he spent some time each day ‘in his office’ (Luke 5:16). However, he always took time to heal, teach, cajole and lead those around him.
And these were not always his friends. Rather, most were people who lived on the fringes of his normal tribe. They were all smelly, didn't bath often, had little in the way of possessions and wealth. Some even wanted to harm him.
But yet Jesus spent time out there amongst them, those who needed support and love and guidance. He was showing us what it means to be a Christian... by walking around.
I know it’s my natural inclination to keep myself with those who look like me, talk about same politics, go to the same church…. We humans have been tribal people for millennia.
But, I also know that Jesus calls on me (and you) to connect with and love the largest tribe there is, God’s children. We are instructed to love our neighbor as ourselves… and that means everyone on this beautiful Earth.
The best way to show our love and commitment to him is to get out there amongst ‘them’ – your friends, your family, and all of those who should be a part of those two groups. (And, that’s everyone else.)
If we want to raise our boys to be Christian men, we need to set an active example for them to follow. CBWA – Christian By Walk Around - is one that’s worth our effort. Yes, it’s uncomfortable and different than the life many of us live (including me!), but it’s not without precedence.
Combined with a rich prayer life, there’s no better way to follow in Jesus’s footsteps.
PS - It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think your way into a new way of acting. Just get out there and do something again and again and again.