Hospitality: It feels like home

When Rosa announced she was making Ho’okipa, the Hospitality of Complete Giving her theme for the month, I knew I had to get involved. After all, Rosa’s Ho’ikipa is why I love to hang out at Talking Story; Rosa shares her hospitality and makes her blog feel like her home.

I thought first of organizations that don’t make me feel like home. The ones who, after I sign up and or give a donation, put me on their anonymous mailing list that they send out quarterly and otherwise don’t connect with me, unless they want more money or for me to volunteer for one of their fund raisers. Not very hospitable in my opinion, and thus they get very little of my time, talent and treasure, except for maybe once a year when I’m feeling generous (or is it obligated) and I send them a check for a few bucks to re-affirm my interest in being part of their “community,” which is a community in their minds only.

Then, I thought of the organizations I give up more too. They often have a personal cry for help, make real connections with me, and I know a few of the others in the group. Occasionally when I see my friends that are involved, we mention the group, their mission, if it’s still worth our time, and usually we agree it is, so I’ll go to a fundraiser and give a bit more of my talent, treasure, and time.

Lastly, I was thinking, are there any organizations that give me true hospitality? Are there any organizations where I feel like a part of the family, not just a community of givers? And I thought of 1 organization that I gladly give my time as often as I can, my talents, by speaking at their chapter events around the country even though I have to take a day off work to do so, and my money, as I usually barely cover expenses with my speaking engagements and often don’t ask to be reimbursed for all the expenses that are involved to be the local chapter president.

This amazing organization is HDI, leading IT service and support. As an IT Help Desk Manager, it could be very easy to get beat down and feel completely alone, as in each company, there’s usually at MOST 1 person holding the position I do, and some companies don’t even have a formal titled leader, they just have the team report up to some manager who, as part of his/her responsibilities, includes making sure all the metrics for the team are complete and that they’re squeezing all the value out of the desk that they can.

So how does HDI do it? How do they create a Ho’okipa with an organization of IT service and support professionals? I’ll share 4 great ways they do it for me:

1) Openness of the community – Ron Muns is the founder of HDI and is a REALLY smart guy. He’s been developing best practices and tools for service and support professional for years. But admits he is still learning, and takes in ideas from all over the world now to grow this wonderful organization, and he shares all the resources he has as well. Whether it’s new surveys, best practices, partnering with other groups, Ron is willing to be open in his community, and let’s you connect with him and his team in any way you wish.

2) Thinking Globally, But Acting Locally – HDI is based in Colorado Springs. Not the most central location, and by no means a technology hot spot, at least not when I think of traditional places where innovation occurs. So how does HDI have fans around the country? Simple. By putting local chapters in over 60 locations in the US, and recently by branching out around the world. He puts the action in the local chapter, and does the heavy lifting for the chapter to keep us in a non-profit state.

3) Sharing your emotions – Every chance Ron gets to speak in front of the HDI community, he lets us know how much he loves us, how much he needs us, and how much he appreciates us. He says this even more strongly when he is in the presence of local chapter officers.

Another emotion Ron shares is empathy. He’s been where I am, in the trenches, and lets me and the rest of the group know that he understands what each of us are going through.

4) They hire from within – As I mentioned, there are over 60 local chapters around the US. Recently Ron and his staff have added a few more people to their staff, and they hired people who were EXTREMELY involved in the local chapter movement to help take the organization forward. By hiring folks like me, they make me want to get MORE involved and do more to continue to make HDI my home.

What are you doing to build community in your organization, in your company, and your world? Maybe you can steal some of the ideas from HDI, and become the world class organization you know you’re capable of becoming.

[Phil Gerbyshak is the Relationship Geek who writes most days at Make It Great! He’s also the one laughing in the photo on this article, after sharing a laugh with some of the panelists at the 2007 HDI Annual Conference.]


  1. says

    “Feeling like home.” What a great benchmark for ho’okipa.
    “Openness of Community.” What a great one! It is always amazing to me the folks that think they will get ahead faster by looking out for themselves. That is one of the things I look for when I am choosing who I would like to do business with. Are you looking out for you and me, or just you? Big question and the answer is a deal breaker.

  2. says

    Ohhh, Phil. Two birds with one keyboard. You did a beautiful job of describing hospitality from what could have been considered an unlikely source and then put the ball in our court. If I was wearing a hat right now, I’d take it off to you.