As the name implies, leaders tour a facility or work site to gain first-hand experience in the operation of their organization. Staff can share ideas and concerns with leaders in less formal situations.

Good for

All departments


  • A walkabout can acquaint a new leader with their department and introduce them to their staff.
  • It allows leaders to demonstrate understanding of the work and pressures facing staff.
  • It’s informal, inexpensive and involves only a short time commitment.
  • It keeps leadership in touch with front-line staff.
  • It can be spontaneous and unscheduled.


  • Some dispute the value of walkabouts, saying that they do not always accurately represent the work environment.
  • Too much “tidying up” can be done if the walkabout is scheduled.


It’s important that the managing director, superintendents, and managers keep in touch with front-line operations, and brief, unscheduled walkabouts are a good way to do that. The manager is given an opportunity to see what is happening first-hand, and employees are given an opportunity to explain their jobs, to pass along information or concerns, and to ask questions. These walkabouts should occur every few weeks.

Scheduled, more formal, walkabouts are brief; the executive is given a 15- to 30-minute tour of the office or facility. Depending on the circumstances, they may meet clients. Some walkabouts are more inclusive. In addition to the tour, the executive may meet with management, with staff, or with stakeholders from the area.

Next steps

When you create one-to-one relationships on the front line it is important to follow up on discussions or promises made.