Management by walking around -- the zoo

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Vikkram Dewan, with Gus the giraffe in the background.

Vikram Dewan believes in management by walking around, although it sure helps to be walking around the zoo.

"I always take an hour walking around the zoo every day, even when there are no visitors or on a day when we have 10,000 visitors," Dewan, the Philadelphia Zoo's chief executive, told me during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer. "Part of that is having the opportunity to walk around and talk to visitors and our own staff, and also an opportunity to see our animals." 

This came up in the part of the interview where I ask the chief executives to describe their work habits. Dewan, for example, spends one day each weekend at the zoo, "because that’s when so many of our visitors are here," he said.

"I try to do one day a week without appointments so I have a chance to just walk around, deal with the unexpected, be able to return phone calls that have been sitting around. I try to keep one day a week open on the calendar," Dewan said.

"I think it’s an important way to respect your coworkers and your peers, to create time on your calendar so people can come in and have -- especially in leadership positions or when the issue isn’t fully structured -- a conversation with people to help them figure it out themselves. Sometimes [that[ is not only a matter of will, but also a matter of having time."

Monday's blog post: From lending money to raising money.

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