Grab some inspiration and tip the scales.

I give you fair warning ” this is a post that is my thinking out loud for a moment, and it may not be well organized ”

Where do you get your inspiration from? What kind of things inspire you?

If you are a regular reader of Talking Story, it will be no surprise to you that books are my old standby: a good book can really stoke some passionate wildfires in me. I reinvented my entire management style in the months which followed my reading of First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths. I trashed a 25-year old rolodex and redid my Outlook Contacts categorization after reading how Tim Sanders approaches professional networking in Love is the Killer App. My SLC email subscription service was created the day after I finished a marathon reading session of Seth Godin’s two books Permission Marketing and Purple Cow.

However, recently for me, inspiration comes from watching “newness” happen in any shape or form. I’ve become a big fan of the word “reinvention” (a hint for you as to what our March Ho‘ohana will be about) and I’m getting a little obsessed with watching new business models get created and implemented, particularly when they cause me to think about entrepreneurship in different ways, and in very modest bootstrapping ways that I can recommend to my clients.

I sincerely believe that we must all be working on ourselves daily, reshaping our thinking and our habits on the way to an eventual new kind of retirement that translates to working the rest of your days on doing what you love for profit and not paycheck. It’s a model that includes working whenever you want.

When I see a new business of some type crop up, I go a little nuts asking myself all these “Why are they doing that?” kind of questions.

Yvonne’s new A-ha! blog, and her business model both inspire me. With just three posts, I think Yvonne, Tom, and MaryAnne are setting a new standard for how to launch a business blog. You can bet I’m going to be watching them very carefully. I love the premise – and the promise held – in that by “authors helping authors” we don’t quite know who the “authors” are that they’re talking about ” Yvonne and company are authors themselves, but I’m jumping way ahead to the possibility that as business owners, they will actually end up being facilitators that help customers who are authors help other customers who want to be authors.

All this makes me think about that phrase “labor utilization” and the possibility of a new business model where the almighty customer is contributing some free labor you can lasso into the equation — and in fact, no lasso or coercion of any type is needed: they trot in and contribute willingly. How can you pull that off in your business?

Something to think about, don’t you think? That’s my inspiration for today as I get back to looking at my own business model ” mahalo Yvonne.

Here’s where I think I’m getting this from:

Business, with all its good and bad examples today, has quite a bit to teach us. Sometimes we have to just be open-minded and look at things in different ways than we may be used to. Managing with Aloha has been very helpful to me in re-framing some things.

For example, even trimming labor costs can be a good and positive thing, when “trimming” equates to “redirection” and the better mining of “employee capital.” We know that labor is normally the most expensive cost associated with virtually any business, and hence, the objective to do more with less people may be valid. Personnel — remember that term “human resources” ??? — is generally regarded as the most expensive and potentially troublesome elements of a successful business. Personnel’s needs are perceived to be assuaged at the expense of profits, and the bottom line (that proverbial golden egg). The irony is that a business can only succeed by tapping into human potential.

What you want to do is shift the equation from more people working IN a business to more people working ON the business, so you can afford them. You want to more beneficially employ them, where all work done is on the process of greater growth in earnings potential, and that human potential has been mined well, creating human capital.

Now there will always be people working IN a business, and as a baby step, the trick is to think of this in terms of percentages:

—If 90% of the time you are working in the day-to-day routine, repetitive process, maintenance and service of a business,

—and only 10% on the strategic planning, sales and marketing, and profit potential of that business,

—then you need a work and management plan in which you can steadily tip the scales the other way.

Managing with Aloha is that “work and management plan” that will help you tip the scales. Then you go back to ho‘okipa and involve the customer again. I’m getting a little blown away here with the thought that you can involve the customer in a non-traditional labor utilization model that is cost-free, and they perceive it to be an extension of aloha and ho‘okipa. Hana hou ”

As I said, thinking out loud ” chime in if you have something to add would you? Let’s talk story about this.

Update: wow … take a look at this as a new business model: Full time blogging … already kinda feels like I’m doing that sometimes (and loving it, by the way.) Thanks Scott, for the pointer.


  1. says

    I think that the problem with management in business today is that nobody is ever asked what inspires them.
    Think about it – a managers job is to inspire their staff – but how many of us lower people in the working world are ever asked to think about what inspires us, and report back to our manager in detail. I think when we truly have that, then we can have your new kind of retirement.
    That is why you are an excellent management consultant -You get it!
    more managers should be asking your questions

  2. says

    Mahalo for your comment Jay,
    You’ve hit on something that is a very simple good management technique but not used often enough by managers at every single level of an organization – asking questions – conversationally (not accusingly…)
    A question like this one, “what kind of things do you find seem to inspire you lately?” can sincerely show you care about someone, and that you value what they have to say; that you recognize their ability to think in ways that you might not.
    Managers put an unreasonable burden on themselves feeling they have to know all the answers to everything and then spit them out … as managers we can all teach, coach, and learn in partnerships with those we work with, versus “instructing” them.
    So, Ho’ohana Community, what kind of things are inspiring you lately?
    Update: Jay posted more on this, on her own blog, Renaissance Girl, “by and for creative people who like to do everything.” Click in and visit her there too:

  3. says

    Thank you for the plug, Rosa!
    Things that inspire me right now: Art, Music, and the possibility of creating positive change in the world
    I notice a small typo in your last client. Jay is the short form of my female name. As the blog title suggests, renaissance girl is in fact written by a strong lady-blogger.
    Here’s to women in cyber space!