Thursday, August 13, 2009

Managing with Aloha

In Managing With Aloha, Rosa Say discusses how the use traditional Hawaiian values can change your business and how you view the relationship with your employees and customers.

The Managing with Aloha sensibility for work has been adopted by companies globally since my book was published in 2004. Immediately after the book was released, I turned my attentions to constructing a framework businesses could use in applying the philosophy faster than the thirty years it had taken me to identify it, and I founded my company, Say Leadership Coaching.

Therefore, what follows is not found within my book, however I freely offer it to you on the web to help you apply the book once you have purchased and read it.

I have written about values, management and leadership extensively since my book’s release, and if you find one of my articles on the web, I suggest this two step to you as self-coaching in the MWA philosophy:

  1. Ask yourself, “Which of my personal values does this article relate most closely to?” If the article resonates with you, that will be the reason why. Next,
  2. Revisit this page, and look for which of these 9 Key Concepts you can bring both value and article in alignment with in specific action steps.

There are 19 Hawaiian values defined in Managing with Aloha

When they are chosen for a business, I recommend these values be aligned with the organizational culture of that business within a framework of 9 Key Concepts.

To be clear, you need not adopt all my values. You can also do this with your own values, if you find you are strongly drawn to another value not listed within the 19 I chose to write about. The majority of values shared by humanity are quite universal; I did not come up with them: I packaged them within a business model. My book shares the story of the values I chose as a business executive working in the hospitality industry in Hawai‘i over a thirty year period, and it is filled with illustrative examples you are likely to easily relate to.

To get a sense of how the Managing with Aloha philosophy works within a company, think of a simple grid of criss-crossing lines:

  • The grid itself represents an organizational culture.
  • The left-to-right diagonal lines represent the values of the company.
  • The right-to-left diagonals crossing the other way to intercept them are these 9 Key Concepts.
  • The Managing with Aloha philosophy will synchronize a company’s values at each intersection point.

Normally there are five to seven core values in a healthy organizational culture. When the best possible intersection with the 9 Key Concepts happens for each of those core values, the workplace culture becomes value-aligned. It is stronger, more productive, and charged with creative energies.

It is also much more satisfying to you, and more fun to be involved with.

These are the 9 Key Concepts

The first two, Aloha and Ho‘ohana, are also values: I think of them as the guiding lights of Managing with Aloha. You will also notice that I use Kākou, the value of inclusiveness and “language of we” in these descriptions, for they refer to we when using my book together, we in the Ho‘ohana Community of MWA practitioners, and we within my own company, Say Leadership Coaching, founded to help bring MWA to workplaces within a for-hire consultancy.

1. Aloha:

Aloha is the genuine spirit of all relationships, and the fertile ground from which everything else will thrive. Your Aloha is the authenticity you bring to your connections with others, and to the self-expression of your work. Everyone has aloha; we help you bring it to fuller expression within whatever you do.

2. Ho‘ohana:

This is the Hawaiian value of worthwhile work. Work with passion, with purpose and intention, and with full joy while realizing your potential for growth and creativity. When you Ho‘ohana you create your best possible life and your own destiny.

3. Value Alignment:

Work with integrity by working true to your values. Focus all efforts on the right mission at the right time, for it honors your sense of self and brings compelling visions within your reach. For a business, deliberate value-alignment creates a healthy organizational culture for everyone involved.

4. The Role of the Manager Reconstructed:

In today’s workplaces, managers must own workplace engagement. The “reconstruction” we require in Managing with Aloha is so this expectation is reasonable, and so it is valued as critically important: Managers can then have the desire and ‘personal bandwith’ for assuming a newly reinvented role, one which delivers better results both personally and professionally.

5. Language of Intention:

Language, vocabulary, and conversation combine as our primary tools in business communications: What we speak is fifty times more important than what we write (yes, this is coming from someone who is an author too!) The need for CLEAR, intentional, reliable and responsive communication is critical in thriving businesses. Drive communication of the right messages, and you drive momentum and worthwhile energies.

6. The ‘Ohana in Business:

The best form for your life can be the best form for your ‘Ohana in Business® as well, where the goals of each will support the other. A business can be more than self-sustainable and profitable: It can thrive. We learn a value-based business model and organizational structure simultaneous to learning productivity practices which drive ROI (return on investment) and ROA (return on your attentions).

7. Strengths Management:

Keys 1 through 6 have put a great foundation in place for your business to thrive within: Together they have created the best possible launching pad for your organizational culture. Now we turn to bigger investments made in each employee, business partner, and stakeholder involved, so you can truly say, “Our people are our biggest asset” —and mean it. Cooperation, connectivity and collaboration evolve to optimization and co-creation.

8. Sense of Place:

Think “working in my neighborhood.” Sense of Place is about greater community locally and connectivity globally. It is saying thank you, and engaging at a higher level with those Places which have gotten you this far, and continue to nourish you daily in a multitude of tiny ways that collectively are absolutely HUGE factors in your success. It is giving back, recognizing that Place nurtures and sustains us; it shapes our experiences and lends cultural richness to life.

9. Palena ‘ole (Unlimited Capacity):

This is your exponential growth stage, and about seeing your bigger and better leadership dreams come to fruition. Think “Legacy.” Create abundance by honoring capacity; physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. Seek inclusive, full engagement and optimal productivity, and scarcity will be banished.

What will be the result you achieve when you work to manage with Aloha? New learning, increased energy, passionate commitment to vision, and dramatic shifts in personal engagement. Said another way, you will grow as you learn the Ho‘ohana of self-management and self-leadership as you make extremely valuable contributions to whatever organization you are presently involved with.

With my aloha,
~ Rosa Say

Additional Suggested Reading: Why Choose Values

Visit Say Leadership Coaching to learn more: The Services We Offer You

Choose Values

I’ve been noticing some very nostalgic longing in the “Most Wanted” lists of several managers when they speak of the people they would most want to work with.

They talk about wanting an increased sense of responsibility, better reliability and dependability, honesty and integrity, humility and a hunger to do whatever it takes to learn, grow, and improve. What they will say they are longing for, are “old fashioned” values in the innate character of their staff, and within other partnerships.

They want these things with good reason. If I had to choose just one from that signs-on-the-wall framed triad of mission, vision, and values for my manager’s toolbox at work, regardless of the kind of company or industry I was in, I would choose values.

Why? Values determine behavior. When you

a) choose the values which will be the hallmark of the character found within your company, and
b) you align all your operational systems and processes with those values,
c) and you use your values to create a workplace where people thrive when they practice them,
What you get, is the performance which separates winners from everyone else.

When you choose the right values, you get everything else you need to be successful —including those other two; vision and mission.

Ah, but there’s the rub; what are the “right” values?

“To manage with Aloha is to draw out the best performance of your own management practice from the values that are inherent in your nature and a match for the demands of your business. To be a great manager, is to realize your success depends on the people you manage, and they are driven by their values just as much as you are. You have to respect their culture, and learn to speak the language of their values. In all likelihood, their values will match up with your own much more than you think.”
—Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business

There is no magic formula in choosing value statements in companies; the right values for one company are not necessarily those which will work best for another. The reason is simple: From company to company, vision differs.

The values of a company begin to take shape when that first dream happens in the consciousness of that company’s founders, because they had a vision of how something they are extremely passionate about can come to be within a business built to make their vision happen. After that, it’s about enlistment; the founders look for the right partnerships in the assistance they’ll need to work out the nuts and bolts of their mission. If they are wise, they interview for values which will match or complement their own, in staff, in suppliers and industry partners, and even in customers.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the enormity of what you need to do at work, and in your business. When you have to choose the next best thing to work on, choose values. Then, be true to them: You will find that they do the rest of the work.

With my aloha,
~ Rosa Say

Value your Month, and Value your Life

Learn to put the 19 Values of Managing with Aloha in practice in our value of the month program: Live, Work, Manage and Lead with Aloha!

The 19 Values of Managing with Aloha

Aloha is a value, one of unconditional love. Aloha is the outpouring and receiving of the spirit.
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Working with intent and with purpose.
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‘Imi ola—
To seek life. Our purpose in life is to seek its highest form.
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Perseverance. To continue, to perpetuate. Never give up.
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Kūlia i ka nu‘u—
Achievement. Pursue personal excellence. Strive to reach the summit.
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The hospitality of complete giving. Welcome guests and strangers with your spirit of Aloha.
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Those who are family, and those you choose to call your family. ‘Ohana is a human circle of complete Aloha.
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Collaboration and cooperation. Harmony and unity. People who work together can achieve more.
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All of us. We are in this together. Learn to speak the language of we.
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One’s personal sense of responsibility. I accept my responsibilities, and I will be held accountable.
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‘Ike loa—
To know well. To seek knowledge and wisdom.
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Humility. Be humble, be modest, and open your thoughts.
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Honor the dignity of others. Conduct yourself with distinction, and cultivate respectfulness.
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Leadership. Lead with initiative, and with your good example. You shall be the guide for others when you have gained their trust and respect.
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To take care of. To serve and to honor, to protect and care for.
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Thank you, as a way of living. Live in thankfulness for the richness that makes life so precious.
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Nānā i ke kumu—
Look to your source, find your truth.
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Rightness and Balance. The feeling of contentment when all is good and all is right.
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Ka lā hiki ola—
The dawning of a new day.
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Managing with Aloha