Management by Walking Around – Khalid Al Haribi

Have you ever felt lost in the wonderland of countless work theories? Many times, I found that work, management, and leadership theories to be a good guide towards achieving a shared vision. However, there is only one theory that I find very useful than all the others; MBWA or Management By Walking Around which I was introduced to during my college days. Since then, everyone I know who enjoys connecting with others by walking and listening to their stories about things that matter and getting things done eventually, have found MBWA evolved from just another management tool to a useful leadership style.

MBWA’s usefulness as a leadership style is even more useful, I would argue when combined with styles such as LEAN’s “Getting out of the Building” during organizational transformation, and Getting to Yes’s “Go to then Balcony” during negotiations. Lately,  my team and I experienced this first had in 5 different field visits stories around the Sultanate. You will often find that your style of connecting with others can turn ordinary encounters to the number of the most memorable experiences.

Our 1st visit was to the magnificent historic city of Nizwa to meet people who are interested in starting their own ventures. Over 400 job seekers joined us at Nizwa College of Technology to assess their entrepreneurial traits and how can our team match them to sustainable contracting opportunities for their current or future enterprises. This Catalyst Initiative or Tahfeez in Arabic, is a part of the ambition National Economic Diversification Program- Tanfeedh.  This experience reminds us how just how going out and talking to partners could help in making progress in one of the most challenging goals- job creation through enterprise development.  This initiative’s progress would not have been possible without tough conversation with representatives of entrepreneurs, private sector sponsors such as CC Energy and public sector partners such Ministry of Manpower, National Youth Commission- NYC, Public Authority for Manpower Registration- PAMR,  and Al Raffd Fund.

The 2nd visit was to women homemakers from families with limited income, in Qalhat, a mysterious, ancient commercial hub in the eastern governorate. I was very delighted to accept their invitation to share thoughts with them whether entrepreneurship is really good for them.  Their views reminded me of the many brave women, including in my family, supported their life partners, and ensured their families navigated upward mobility safely.  They also reminded me of how important financial literacy and consumer awareness in our collective social progress, thanks to the outreach efforts of organizations like Muzn Islamic Banking and the Public Authority for Consumer Protection.

The positive energy Entrepreneurship Center of OMIFCO at College of Applied Sciences in Sur’s entrepreneurs is guaranteed to amaze you.  They gladly took the risk of managing the centre on behalf of a manufacturing corporation, and support campus companies promising, but the most impressive part was the enthusiasm of the kids between the age of 7-14 learning basic technology concepts with the Engineering Village.

The 2 maverick entrepreneurs we met on the 3rd visit were a successful former captain working for a large corporation, who now owns a modern bookshop and a guard who now runs a logistics hub.  Both shared us their stories how they slowly and smoothly integrated their enterprises into the value chains of supporting partners such as Oman LNG.

Last but not least, I got a chance to chat with Takatuf Scholars, a group of young bright talents who are being prepared to be leaders in today’s dynamic environment, in a program supported by Oman Oil Company. They taught me that we are guardians responsible for making sure we pass our community and our world to future generation in a way that fosters sustainability and prosperity.

These 5 aforementioned experiences are an example of how all we need to understand sometimes is to walk around and talk about things that matter with those who care.  I encourage all those who want to be engaged in these meaningful efforts to get in touch with them and listen to their stories.


Khalid AlHaribi
LinkedIn account: Khalid Al Haribi
Twitter account: @KHaribi

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