July ’05: Talking Story Recap


July had the potential of being an individually satisfying month for every single person in our Ho‘ohana Community. We set mid-summer goals for our better health, making those investments in ourselves which renew and rejuvenate. I applaud each and every one of you who made the commitment to exercise more, eat better, or make those lifestyle changes which in some way would create better health habits for you.

I have the benefit of using Talking Story to write down my own commitments very publicly at times, knowing full well that you will keep me to them!  So here’s the final report, short and sweet:

Volcano_032—I wanted to lose 10 vacation-added pounds, and I did! Exactly. Did it the smart way, with better nutrition, and consistent exercise.

—I committed to doing the Kilauea Crater 5-Mile Run, and I did! I worked up to a 7.4 mile daily run to train for it, and I’m happy to say it all paid off;
The Run was fantastic.

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Up to Volcano!

RosaI wish I could somehow bring all of you who read Talking Story and Managing with Aloha to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park with me for the Wilderness Run tomorrow morning. We’d walk it, and talk story the entire way, just drinking in the wonder of it all, our aloha and our sense of community.

In both Managing with Aloha and my manifesto I talk about the spirit which is in aloha, and in any time spent at Volcano most people will feel the connection of spirit to land very powerfully. For instance, this was in an email I received yesterday from another Big Island resident planning to do the Wilderness Run as well:

I read your July Ho’ohana article and wanted to say, “Have a great and fun race on Saturday.”  I will be running the 10-miler.  The Volcano run is my absolute favorite sporting event.  This run is part physical and spiritual.  You can feel the energy of the place while out there.  I’m always amazed by it.  I’m so glad you’re doing it.  I hope to see you after the race!

Sense of place is something I describe in MWA as the feel of a place, and the feel for a place, and Volcano is one of those very special parts of our islands where you simply do have to feel it. Words never seem to be adequate, and yet words also become so unnecessary; everyone there with you understands. I recall that Beth talked about this a bit here. And Robin did here.

Pictures will have to do. Now to find a camera” wish I could just pack Robin! The picture in this post is another of hers. How lucky are we that she sends them to share! She had taken it in Hilo, on the east side of the island, which I’ll be passing through on the drive to Volcano later today.

I’ll be back on Sunday, a hui hou.

H2_1Pedometer: 15,922
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Pack Rat No More

My June Ho‘ohana on ‘ÅŒpala ‘ole seems to have been very timely for many of you to adopt as a summer-long project, for I’m still getting emails about it — glad to hear it!

Once again, ‘ÅŒpala ‘ole translates to without (‘ole) rubbish (‘ÅŒpala), and our goal was to clear out the clutter in our lives so we could make room for better things.

Today I got an email from a fellow pack rat who had reprinted a Sidebar they read in Woman’s Day magazine’s June 21, 2005 issue, and I thought it was great. I’ve always been a fan of good self-talk: We can create better habits for ourselves with some of these tricks.

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5 Questions for your Performance Appraisals

Yesterday I joined Lisa Haneberg’s campaign in calling for an end to the Annual Performance Review process once and for all:

It’s time to retire your annual Performance Appraisals.
Simply stop doing them. Discontinue them in your company, and seize your opportunity to simultaneously reinvent any system or process that is tied to them.

However I do understand we need significant more groundswell for this to happen in businesses everywhere, and fact is that many of you will have to live with them for now.

My intention with both Talking Story and Managing with Aloha has always been to give you the manager more tools to work with. So if do them you must, here is a reprint from Managing with Aloha that shares a story of how the performance appraisal process can and should work.

It follows a section of the book in which I talk about writing mission statements, and it ends with 5 questions you can use to make the best of any performance appraisal you conduct.

Annual performance reviews

[Reprinted from pages 48-50 in Managing with Aloha.]

When you have worked with an employee to write a professional mission statement, annual performance reviews become the time to assess if their last year was truly one in which they purposefully worked with their professional goals in mind or not. If not, the discussion will revolve around the question why, and it may happen that from that point forward, the time you best spend together is writing a new mission statement—even if it will point the way toward a new and different job for them elsewhere.

I can particularly remember this happening for an assistant manager in our Sports Club and Spa at Hualalai. This is an operation that has repeatedly been named the premiere resort spa in the industry, winning frequent recognition and repeated awards. That made it even tougher for us to eventually realize this manager was in the wrong job for that time in his life, for he had a position to be envied, and one he’d worked exceptionally hard to secure. How could he now walk away from it? But he did, to become a line employee, for what he wanted most in the world was to start a family and be a dad. He felt that the requirements and stress of his management position kept him from a more important dream, and he was open and honest with me about it. His work priorities were always far too pressing for him to concentrate on maintaining personal balance.

His transition into a new role took longer than it should have because I didn’t listen well enough—to him. His employees loved and supported him, and in so many other ways it seemed like he was where he belonged. This became a lesson in ‘Imi ola for me because in trying to do my part advising him I got stuck on the goals and side-stepped the mission. I was looking in the wrong places for the source of his frustration. He could not write the goals of a fully engaged and effective manager and even hope to achieve them. And worse, he didn’t feel all that great about the ones he accomplished. There was no room for those goals in his heart. We both struggled with them in our day-to-day frustrations because the goals themselves were good for the department, and it took an annual review conversation with his department head to turn my focus to the employee where it should have been all along. The light turned on for me. It was time to think ‘Imi ola, seeking life at its very best possible form, and talk mission.

He had started to reveal interests he had in a completely different department, and I’ll have to admit to you that I began to help him get there with more resignation than intent, telling myself “Well, he doesn’t want to be in the Spa and that’s all there is to it.” I didn’t learn what I fully needed to about this lesson in ‘Imi ola until the good results of this story started to unfold—he was seeking his best possible life. He became a changed person within mere days—or more accurately, he became the person he was intended to be.

He found he could Ho‘ohana, work purposefully with a real passion for the goals he set for himself, not those we set for him. As his achievements came to fruition he already had new goals in mind that would take him to even greater successes.

The rewards he now gets from his work are no longer immortalized in spa magazines, but they are far more priceless. His customers love him, his boss loves him and he loves his work. While on my morning run I recently saw him pull out of our neighborhood post office, and in the backseat sat his son and his daughter. I said to him, “Your children are beautiful!” and his reply was, “Rosa, I’m living my fairy tale.”

Great managers don’t wait for an annual review to creep up on them; they work with their employees all along the way, referring often to the copies they’ve kept of each mission statement. They know when to intercept: the energy of commitment falters, daily performance wanders off course, and results are not leading toward achieving the mission written. Great managers make it their practice to schedule periodic reviews with employees to talk through these five sets of questions:

1. Now that a few months have gone by, how do you feel about the goals that you have set for yourself? Do we need to work on any revisions or shall we continue to work on course? Are your goals still a match for your mission? (Has Ho‘ohana and ‘Imi ola connected?)

2. Where do you feel you have made the most progress? Why do you suppose this has happened? How can we duplicate your success? (Look for the pleasure that Ho‘ohana, working with intent and purpose delivers.)

3. Were there any unexpected results? What kind of challenges have you encountered? How can I help you? (Time for more Aloha?)

4. Are you comfortable with the measurements we’ve set up to monitor your progress and quantify your achievements? (Have numbers count success, not failure.)

5. What is your next step? What kind of timeline are you setting for yourself? (Keep ‘Imi ola at the forefront, seek the best possible form, the best possible life.)

After each question, be quiet and listen. Let your own light turn on.