Why Talking Story?

Today I have a work session scheduled with my webmaster, the gentleman who had initially helped me get SayLeadershipCoaching.com up and running. I’ve been looking forward to it, for much has happened since then and I’m embarrassed to say there are several updates that are long overdue.

I was getting my plans to some semblance of organized thought yesterday, and it occurred to me that with the way I just jumped into blogging (this was my very first post, with no lead in at all) I had never told all of you why I decided to call my blog Talking Story.

Talking Story is very much a nod to my native Hawaiian culture, and hence my long-standing, deeply ingrained management style — get people together and talk about what needs to be done. Perhaps that’s another reason why I’ve always liked having meetings and am so comfortable in group forums.

I wrote about “talking story” in Managing with Aloha on page 147, explaining why the phrase appears so much in my writing:

“Unfortunately, our Hawaiian ancestors did not pen a written history of our islands. Information was passed generation to generation verbally, with the ‘ÅŒlelo (the language and spoken word) and in storytelling. Today there is much effort in our Hawaiian renaissance to record what we know of our past history before the KÅ«puna (the elders) forget and can no longer tell it to us.

Still today, for us to communicate and dialogue is to “talk story.” There is so very much I personally have learned from the ‘ōlelo form of teaching, perhaps most of all that anyone who speaks has the potential to be my teacher. I only need listen as well as I can, quieting the voices in my own head.”

Talking story is a highly effective management tool: it promotes personal communication that is familiar, comfortable, intimate and complete. If I had to choose the best advice I offer you in Managing with Aloha there is no question it would be The Daily Five Minutes, concisely described as a more organized and strategic form of talking story with someone. The Daily Five Minutes is not just for the manager-to-employee relationship; it can be used with your peers, with your own boss, and in your family.

I remember walking my rounds at Hualalai Resort one day when a UPS delivery guy came up to me and said, “Hi Rosa, can we take 5?” My surprise at hearing it come from someone that was not one of our employees must have shown on my face, for the next thing he said was,

“I really need your help with a delivery challenge I’m having here, and when I mentioned it to one of the retail clerks they said ‘Rosa goes into instant good-listening mode when you tell her you need to take 5 with her.’ He told me I wasn’t being very smart to just keep this inside, letting it get to me. Will you help me?”

So back to Talking Story ” When it was first turned on, I was very pleased with how SayLeadershipCoaching.com turned out except for one thing. Something was missing, and that was the ability to talk story with my customer. One-way communication just doesn’t compute well in my brain. When I discovered the comment conversations in blogs, I knew I’d found what I needed to complement and complete my “static” website: my customers could talk back! Thus the full name for my blog, Talking Story with Say Leadership Coaching.

So what do you say? Don’t keep it inside, let’s talk story.