Rounding with a Purpose

By Beth Armknecht Miller, president and executive coach at Executive Velocity,  Inc.

One of my clients recently returned from the Baptist Leadership Conference, and during his management meeting he was reporting back on his learnings from the conference and what he intended on implementing.

As he ran down the list there was one technique that is so easy to implement and when done effectively, can provide a leadership team with valuable information. The technique is “Rounding with a Purpose,” and I wanted to share it with the Overdrive readers. In essence, it takes the traditional “Management by Walking Around” and develops a structure using questions that are thought out in advance, and that which are based on the current challenges management is facing.

How would you take this idea into your organization and implement it? What information today are you not receiving because you aren’t asking the right questions? Here are two typical business situations, along with questions you may want to use, that can help you learn more about what you can do to increase the success of your people, as well as your organization.

Situation 1: There has been a recent increase in customer complaints.


  • If you could change one thing that can improve customer service, what would you do?
  • What complaints have you been hearing recently from customers?
  • What service policy is getting in the way of improved customer service?

Situation 2: Sales have been trending down in recent months.


  • If there could be one thing you could change about your products and/or services that would increase sales, what would it be?
  • What new product/service would you offer customers that would cause them to recommend you to others?
  • What questions should you be asking your customers that you aren’t already asking?
  • What product/service causes the most problems for you?

As you will note, the situations are specific to a certain business function, but don’t let the situations lead you into a familiar trap. Don’t ask the situational questions just of those in that department. For instance, if the issue is sales, make sure you don’t just ask the sales department. Make sure to get a good cross section of input.

Once you start gathering this information, it’s time to share it with your management team and teach them the technique so they can implement, as well. So what questions are you not getting answers to from your management team? And if these questions were asked to your line workers, what hidden gems may be mined? Asking good questions can unearth some uncut diamonds that may provide you with some long-awaited answers.

Categories: Best Practices FINANCES


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