What are the odds?


Tom Peters presented the acronym  MBWA at the WOBI conference in Milan. It stands for Managing By Wandering Around. He argued that one of the biggest problems for managers is losing touch with their people.


What are the odds that you find a CEO wandering around speaking to people at the office? The chances are not that high in most cases. Does your CEO wander around speaking to people just because he wants to know how everything is going and what people are thinking ?

What is the meaning?

  • Odds is a plural noun and it means the chance or probability that something will happen.
  • What are the odds?‘ is like saying ‘What are the chances?’ or ‘What is the likelihood?’.
  • Interestingly, it can sometimes be used as a rhetorical question because we feel we know the answer.

How can we use it in context?

  • What are the odds that you will pass the exam if you don’t study? I figure they are very slim.
  • What are the odds that they will succeed in reaching the set budget? I think it is highly likely.
  • What are the odds of the teacher calling off the test tomorrow? Fat chance, right?

In the dialogue below, It sort of means ‘That’s incredible!’. In this case, it is a stand-alone expression.

Mary: Speaking of travel, how was your trip to Florida?
John: It went really well. We managed to raise 10 000 dollars at the fundraiser. Surprisingly, I was on the same flight as my best friend without knowing it.
Mary: Wow! What are the odds?

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One thought on “What are the odds?

  1. Pingback: How to Lead by Wandering Around | How Effective Leaders Get Things Done

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