Our March Ho‘ohana: KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u! The Best We Can Be.

I have great hope, no, let’s say Big Purple Expectations, for 2006 as a year in which we are going to declare war on mediocrity.

I hope highly anticipate you’re with me in this. Are you battle ready?

Our scouts have returned, and the eagerness on their faces is contagious. The rest of the troops are stirring, impatient to begin. They are waiting for the word.

For your word.

You see, this is a war we can win. Not only that, our battles are lining up to be great fun. We all know it.

Deep down, you know it too. Why settle for mediocrity when you can wage war on it instead?

I’m naming our warpath KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u.

There is no room for mediocrity. Zilch. Nada. None.

I’ll explain how I came to this outlook I have for the year.

January and February are months chock full of strategic planning for me.

It actually starts as a low rumble that gets steadily louder in October and November as my clients talk to me about the assumptions they’ve put into their financial budgets for the following year. There is a lot of looking at “what is” for them in retrospect; hindsight is 20-20. Knowing that, there still is a lot of wishful thinking about what the New Year will bring.

Then, the rumbling continues during Ho‘omaha, my annual sabbatical (mid December to early January) when I have the quiet, self-reflective time to do my own SLC Strategic Plan for the coming year for my company, Say Leadership Coaching. I’m far luckier than most, in that I don’t have to do this in committee or securing anyone’s agreement, so I go for it. Technically, I’m a solopreneur: I’ve set up the other five people I have in my ‘Ohana in Business as business partners with their own entrepreneurial journeys — they do their strategic plans with my mentoring if they need it.

Therefore, when it comes to my SLC plan, I jump in with both feet, loving the greater energy and excitement associated with the inherent risks of the ideas I want to try. Frankly, the bigger the risk the better. Life is short, and I prefer to turn one of my weaknesses (that patience is not one of my virtues) into one of my strengths in a bull in a china shop kind of way. (Yes, I am a Taurus too!)

I’m not alone.

During January and early February, 90% of the coaching I do is in strategic planning facilitation sessions for executive leadership groups. They are scrambling to make those assumptions they’d made for their budgets way back in October, resemble some kind of meaningful reality for themselves in the coming year via executable action plans which won’t put everyone to sleep in their predictable boringness. (Okay, those are my words, not theirs.)

I don’t mind the scrambling one bit. In fact, I love it. I feed off it. I thrive on it.

Personally, I love writing strategic plans. These facilitation sessions are among my very favorite things in the work I do. I think they are one of the most creative, energetic, exciting, synergistic and optimistic exercises leadership groups can have in business— when they go for it in a BIG way.

As Seth Godin might say, they want to Be Remarkable. They want to Be Purple. They want The Big Moo.

They want to banish mediocrity, complacency, apathy, auto-pilot, and everything boring.

In Hawaiian, they want KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u!

When I coach these strategic planning sessions, we turn the very specific vision we want to achieve by the end of the year into an all-out, no-holds-barred campaign. We look in our own backyards for the talent we have, we groom them into the champions that Laurence Haughton talked about, and we get moving quickly and decisively.

I coach the leadership team to model the behavior they want to see duplicated by starting with themselves. We choose specific vocabulary, and we create a Language of Intention. They walk their talk, making proactive and very visible changes in their own performance first. This has to happen before their big Wow Event trumpeting their campaign for the rest of the organization. Their immediate goal is to have everyone at their Say “Wow!” Event think and say,

“Oh Wow, so this is what has had them so fired up lately…

… Hmmm… I want a piece of this too!”

So what has you
fired up?

Intend It. Name It. Do It.

The all-year campaign we come up with always has a name.

gives your Strategic Plan a place of honor, vital importance, and nobility. Naming gives your Strategic Plan more clarity, quick identification, and communication associations that are immediate. A great name creates Vision Intention. Naming your plan gives your strategic initiatives and objectives within it the status of Key Legacy Builders. All of this; everyone’s efforts, everyone’s growth, everyone’s personal success and achievement, will be chronicled forevermore in your company’s history as the year of “The Name!”

Back in January, I told you about the name I chose for the SLC 2006 Strategic Plan: This is to be my year of Managing with Aloha becoming a Language of Intention for our Ho‘ohana Community.

There is power in the spoken word. Once you speak your intention, you must keep your word to make it so; your honor and your reputation depend on it. I can’t afford not to talk to you about the Language of Intention this year— I can’t, and won’t, be accused of not walking my talk. So it’s become my self-talk,

my out loud talk,

my talking story talk,

my writing talk.

The really great thing?

I have had two other clients do me one better.

They have both named their   2006 Strategic Plan Campaigns KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u with my Language of Intention being just one of the strategic initiatives (i.e. Key Legacy Builders) they have within the campaign. They are rockin’ and rollin’ to Excellence this year, each in their own, very exciting way.

Synergy. 1 + 1 = 3.

Managing with Aloha
+ Their Vision of Success
= More than either of us could have done individually.

They are on the warpath against mediocrity, and they’ve swept me along with them.

KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u.

“Strive to reach the summit.”

In this, our March Ho‘ohana, I’m sweeping you along with us too.

KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u is the Hawaiian value of Excellence and Achievement.

You can find out all about KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u in chapter five of Managing with Aloha, and all month long here on Talking Story. Don’t have the book yet? Here’s a book excerpt so you can come on the warpath too: KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u.

Let’s start right now.

Pull out your Strategic Plans for 2006.

Print each initiative they contain on a separate piece of paper in big

36 – 48 point font.

Lay them out on the floor, and stand above them.

Get inspired. You are bigger than those words on the floor!
You wrote them, you control them.

If they don’t have a name yet, give them “The Name of your Success this Year you will Rock your world!”

[Feel free to make it easy on yourself and choose one of these:

KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u: Our Year of Greatness.

KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u: The Best We Can Be.

KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u: Outstanding Achievement is Ours.

KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u: We Define Excellence.

KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u: Nothing but Remarkable. ”You get the idea.]

Grab a tube of lipstick or a tub of fingerpaint, and stripe your cheeks with some war paint.
(You probably want to stay away from the Sharpies though…) The say it out loud,

“KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u! We’re going on the warpath.
going on the warpath!”

We are the Ho‘ohana Community.

We have already raised the bar with community synergy. There’s nothing stopping us now. [This is way too much fun!]

Now, we want Excellence. We want Greatness.

We will not settle for anything less.

We deserve more. You deserve more.

KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u: The Best We Can Be.


  1. Rick Fuqua says

    Simply inspirational!
    When activity becomes achievement (with intention), we will succeed.

  2. says

    Rosa, as I finshed readying this, I was ready to get up and do the war dance, then realized I was at work, in the office, and it would be somewhat out of place to do that here. (Yes, that is another story for another time.)
    But it is Ash Wednesday so some “war paint” is acceptable!
    Thanks for the inpiration!

  3. says

    Mahalo Rick and Steve for chiming in here!
    Steve I have such a wonderful image in my mind’s eye of you in warpaint…
    I recently did the more “sane” exercise of printing plans in large font and spreading them on the floor with a leadership group, and it was a really great energizer leading to a couple of breakthrough thoughts. We were all circling the room and pouncing on the papers in this Twister-like activity – remember that game?
    Or circling a campfire… come to think of it, having some warpaint wouldn’t have been that out of place for them after all!

  4. Denise Wright says

    Oh my gosh you are all so INSPIRING!! I love it. I dont have any warpaint, but I can dance!! I want Greatness in My Management. I don’t understand all of the instructions yet. I bought your book while I was on the Big Island last Sept. It is so powerful. And now it is time for me to do the homework. Strategic Plan, okay. I will work on it. Thanks, Denise Wright

  5. says

    Aloha Denise, thank you for joining our KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u campaign! Dancers are very warmly and enthusiastically welcomed!
    I love what you said here, that you WANT greatness in your management, for it all starts with that decision, answering the calling to be a great manager for the right reasons; helping people discover their ho‘ohana through worthwhile work.
    Remember that you have the Jumpstart program on http://www.managingwithaloha.com, AND an entire community here to support you as you “work on it.” Kākou: we are in this together, and together we are stronger.
    Aloha e, Rosa

  6. says

    Connecting KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u with Mālama

    March is here! As promised, KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u is our value of the month on Talking Story, and we’re going on the warpath to conquer mediocrity. 2006 is a year in which we want excellence, and we want greatness,

  7. Toni says

    As Rosie the Rivieter said, “We can do it!” and we will because there is no other acceptable option. After reading your MWA Jumpstart for March, I know that I will take the big wins and the small wins. No battlefield is insignificant! Mahalo for the inspiration and the war cry.

  8. says

    Rosa, once again, you have captured the best of the best – intentions, coaching, and support, enabling all of us to reach higher, aim for the stars, and achieve our dreams. How exciting! I wonder – are you also in favor of having us write a Life Buisness Plan?? Shall we talk more of this – of having a PLAN for your LIFE – that will DRIVE everything else you do!
    I am hearing more and more of this “Life Plan” and how it influences all that we do, whether we acknowledge it or not. YOU know of this! YOU life it! Everything about Managing with Aloha speaks to this. I feel it when I talk to you, when I read your blog, and when I commune with the Ho’ohana community.
    Surely, if we PLAN our lives, we can LIVE our plan – and learn to create a truly magnificent KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u: Year of Greatness in 2006.

  9. says

    Aloha Yvonne, thank you for your energy and your question :-)
    When I first studied Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, his Habit 2, Begin with the End in Mind —which he calls “the habit of personal leadership”— resonated very strongly with me because I am a very visual person; step-by-step, role-aligned goal setting has always appealed to my nature. I share that as an example of what I have learned to do as a coach; figure out what is best for the person I’m coaching.
    For some people it can be very frustrating because coming up with a Life Plan is just too big to tackle when that vision of what “the End” is, is nowhere near “in Mind for them.” And life is too short to wait for that aha! moment; you have to do what you can in the right here, right now, with whatever talents and resources are at your disposal.
    [Managing well calls for that too; funny how this same answer was so appropriate today in a conversation in our MWA Jumpstart Program:
    To answer your question on what I am in favor of;
    As visual as I am, and as clear as I am today about my personal mission of MWA and what my “Life Plan” should be, I have come to prefer a “Chapter closed, book over? Wonderful, next book!” approach — the mountain climbing progression we talk of with KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u. We have so many options before us today, unlike our parents and grandparents who may have been in the same job all their lives. I believe we can have more, and we should afford ourselves the opportunity. In filling our own capacities, we create more abundance for our own lives, and for all we interact with.
    A Life Plan can take so many forms: I guess the important thing is to have a plan and start working it versus being struck still in analysis paralysis. Second, give yourself a break and stop being judgmental about it. If you wrote it for you, with full intellectual honesty and good intention, it contains the right answer for you. Sometimes one’s Life Plan can simply mean living a great life, and not just one that is “good,” as in good enough.
    Do I favor writing it down, whatever our plan is for our lives? Absolutely. Writing it down is a huge part of committing to it and deciding on it.