Attention and Intention: Right back atcha Rosa!


I am proud of you and honored by you, our Ho‘ohana Community. From now on, you will see this HC badge pop up to the right, to let you know when I am writing to you as the community we have become here, and not specifically in regard to my normal subject matter of Aloha-inspired management and leadership in values-based workplace cultures and personal behaviors.

Before I launch into the rest of this posting, I want to say that I do intend to have my Talking Story articles evolve to a much shorter form from now on. This will not be a short one today, but I feel it is extremely important, as it is foundational to what is yet to come.

It is about our intentions and our attentions. A powerful match-up we have spoken about both here in regard to Ho‘ohana and at Joyful Jubilant Learning. You’ve called me on them, and that is just the very latest reason why I am proud of you and why you inspire me!

I am going to pull a comment from our conversations here over the weekend by way of introducing this post:

Paul wrote:

As a recipient of your newsletter announcing these changes it is really interesting to see the story of the decisions behind these changes from your perspective… I can really empathise with your decision to make this change. To me it signifies a couple of things: The first is your ability to exhibit leadership not just as a coach but in the way you live & lead your own work & life. The second is your willingness to embrace the new, new media that many of us are still feeling our way with and take the kind of steps that confirm the closeness and interaction you want with this community.

And I responded:

funny Paul, I pride myself on my independence (rebellion at times!) and
on my quick decision-making, but I also know my growth has come during
those times I open myself up to being wrong. I am still not there with
everyone I encounter, but being wrong when someone in our Ho‘ohana
Community is willing to tell me so? Wrong doesn’t get any better than
that! So I open up and go with the learning that sometimes, keeping the
can-be-ugly process all to yourself is foolish. This is one, very smart

As for embracing the new media, that is actually the easy part, for I
really, truly love it, and I think we should all have a) free medical
care and b) free internet access! When I think of what we human beings
could achieve by being fully healthy and fully connected… wow.

Meant every word. Mahalo Paul, for giving me the opening to express that.

I did deliberate for a long time, and I wrung my hands over my decision to indefinitely retire our Ho‘ohana ‘ÅŒlelo newsletter. That final issue I sent last week suffered through draft after draft – Exactly what do I say? – until I finally said to myself, Enough already! You know them, they know you, just send it!

And you did know. You knew more. You knew about what I did not say too.

2 Blue, 1 White~ Front

As from Paul, your comments here and in other public forums we have were very, very generous and supportive. A few of you were more direct in emailing me privately.

To paraphrase your messages very succinctly (for they too were very generous and supportive), over the last week you have asked me

Rosa, what is your underlying objective in what you do today?

How much has this recession changed your attentions and your business?

Exactly what is it that you want, or expect from us as the Ho‘ohana

And you deserve an answer. Let’s talk story about where our canoe will paddle to next.

My focus has not shifted, but it has become more precisely targeted. I will explain. Let’s start with the second question first.

Has the recession changed your attentions and your business?

The recession was not a trigger – the experiences which made up the whole of my business over the last 6 years combined into the powerful, and not-to-be-ignored trigger. The recession has actually been a gift of sorts for me, as it was an accelerant: I am now working on a reinvention of my business model that I had projected for 2010 through 2012, and instead I am doing it right now, convinced I need not, and should not wait.

Yes, the recession has been a big hit to the cash flow of my coaching business, however it has also given me more time to work on strategic pursuits and entrepreneurial development of my other ideas versus the gig-after-gig, trip-after-trip delivery of product and service that I already have. I now have time to innovate and invent, and not just duplicate.

What is the underlying objective in what you do today?

In brief, less individual coaching, and more team coaching and workplace culture design. Less personal service delivery, and more product development that will better scale the Managing with Aloha movement. And my dream is just that: To have movements tip with working with aloha, managing with aloha, leading with aloha, and teaching with aloha.

At this very moment, to be brutally honest (with myself) Managing with Aloha is merely interesting to people as opposed to a true movement. In the last five years since my book was published (and the philosophy thus shared) I do feel I have made great strides with bringing MWA to individuals, but not enough progress has been made with organizational culture.

I believe the secret sauce to be in enabling powerful teams versus individual mavericks. Thus my objective is to shift my focus to teams and to communities, the more globally inclusive they are the better.

Hence my decision was a first step in that shift: No more email broadcasting to individuals who are not connecting with each other by merit of that newsletter alone.

Exactly what is it that you want, or expect from us as the Ho‘ohana Community?

Okay. Deep breath.

You have told me that you were connecting, you were using my value of the month program with each other and within your own teams, and I just did not see or hear about it personally. Great! Keep it going!

If that is what you have been doing, you don’t need me to nag you about it anymore, and I need to devote my Ho‘ohana attentions to a more publicly staged movement. Some of you have expressed guilt about not saying thank you to me enough, and sure, appreciation for what I freely publish is great, recognition is wonderful, but that’s not it – you have no reason to feel guilty. We are growing – I am growing too, and if I do not lead new initiatives, how can I ask you to do so?

I want and will now expect bravery and transparency on web-based spaces we will develop and brand with our Ho‘ohana Community name. I want inclusive collaboration between teams of people who are ready to be leaders in their chosen communities.

I want those things in public, and not anonymously or privately, and not just behind closed doors and too-safe havens, and I am deliriously excited that today’s social web is helping us make that happen. I have been frustrated with lurkers and silent readers who take, take, take, and do not give back in the way that will allow our community movements to grow in larger expressions of aloha management and Alaka‘i leadership and I realize I cannot be all things to all people. Said another way, in the jargon of the day, I hereby choose my next tribe, and they will be the movers and shakers, the creators of vital movements.

I want to give my attentions to the courageous, self-motivated and energetic person to says “Can do” instead of meaning “Won’t try” and who thinks “Why not?” instead of saying “Yeah but”” I am not giving up on individuals completely, not at all. However the individual who will now get my attention, and my coaching and mentoring intentions is the emerging leader who clearly understands something:

  • He or she must be effective individually, walking the talk of self-management and self-leadership and relentlessly pursuing the lifelong learning of personal growth.
  • The Ho‘ohana [intentional work] of Aloha management and Alaka‘i leadership is about teams, tribes, and creating powerful community movements. There is a lot of need in our world, and we have to answer a higher calling with serving our fellow human beings.

And please understand that MWA is just one expression of a possible movement.

Over the past few years I have learned something about myself: I love being a community organizer. I think of Joyful Jubilant Learning as the pioneer community of incredible people who have helped me shape my thinking. We have accomplished so much there, and now I want to step it up, both there and in other forums.

As of this writing, Talking Story is one, and our new MWA-HC Group on LinkedIn is another. I am writing for Say “Alaka‘i” at The Honolulu Advertiser to offer up my continued coaching in our learning of Alaka‘i-aligned management and leadership, and to give back to my own local community.

So why didn’t you just say this in your last newsletter?

I did not feel it was the right venue, and when the right time came, I strongly suspected that Talking Story would be. I did not anticipate it would be so soon, but I underestimated you and your readiness, and I promise, I will not do that again.

So let’s talk story.

What else would you like to know? I will answer you honestly and transparently here: I fully intend to commit Talking Story to the sense of place I described above. A place of Aloha, of Alaka‘i, and in support of courageous, publicly transparent web-based learning and collaboration.

Ho‘ole‘ale‘a: Time to come out and play. Sure, I am very serious about what I have said here, but no one said we wouldn’t have a great time in our doing of it!


  1. says

    Hi Rosa,
    I’m a little humbled that you would pick out my comment. You are incredibly gracious as always but my feeling is that this was a change that you and the community – we – were already well underway towards making.
    Ho’ohana was what attracted me to your writing and to the community in the first place. For me, ho’ohana not only works best in groups, it is also made more meaningful by groups too. Like you, I believe it also has a special significance in the new market employers and employees are attempting to make sense of right now.
    Work with meaning, self leadership – and your most special of ingredients Aloha – will definitely help to keep us all on track!
    Best Regards

  2. says

    Thanks so much Paul, I love this; “Ho‘ohana not only works best in groups, it is also made more meaningful by groups too.”
    And Paul, your language of ‘we’ truly speaks to how quickly and completely you have become part of our community, kākou. I’m honored to know we are in this together.

  3. says

    Rosa, what an amazing woman you are.
    Dr Mani shared a quote with me on Twitter at the weekend, from Steve Jobs
    “I want to put a ding in the Universe!”
    Me too.
    And learning how to do it with love, fun and grace… well that’s what I learn to do with you.

  4. says

    Rosa, I found a great quote today:
    “Education is not the answer to the question. Education is the means to the answer to all questions.” – William Allin
    Real learning, as you know, does not occur within the circle, it occurs when you go to the edge and take a step beyond!
    As a fellow life long learner, I encourage you on your journey by being by your virtual side, or one step behind; being there, in any case, for support and to learn.

  5. says

    Sounds like me Steve, Ms. Play On The Edges :) Thanks for always being one who helps keep me from slipping off! ‘Education’ is not a word we use much anymore, preferring the learning of ‘Ike loa, however I do greatly appreciate the intention of Mr. Allin’s quote, mahalo for sharing it with us.

  6. says

    My mantra for today comes from one of my favorite characters…
    “That which does not kill us is going to live to regret it when we get our strength back.” ~ Dick Poppy
    Poppy is the kind of guy who takes charge of a situation and does the radically unexpected. I say charge forward into this crazy storm, lightning rod held high!

  7. says

    Thank you Jamie! Now that is a quote that gets my day started in a great way… gathering my strengths together at this very moment. Tuesday, here we come :)

  8. says

    Rosa, this is by far one of the most courageous, inspiring call to action posts I have read…ever. I found myself stirred deep within reading your words. I felt your passion and your desire to take your growth, your mission and your business to the next level. As I wrestle with my own reinvention so much of this truly hit me on a deeply personal level. You were bold enough to invite others to share your mission. A simple, heartfelt sharing. No trick, gimmicks or red letters but a call for others to not follow but join you as you lead. There is so much more within my heart but at the risk of rambling allow me to simply say, thank you Rosa, thank you.

  9. says

    Karen, when I see you comment anywhere I read every single word you have written, for you have a gift with saying just the right thing. If you call that rambling, then I want to be a rambler too!
    Mahalo ke aloha pumehana Karen, I thank you too, and I am thrilled you’ll be in the canoe with me, for you are not someone who follows, you co-lead. You are our Ho‘ohana Community personified.

  10. says

    Okay Sister, allow me to be a little playful before I get emotional.
    I hereby choose my next tribe, and they will be the movers, shakers and vital movement creators.
    I now have time to invent, innovate, and not just duplicate. :-)
    This is the continuation of a Ripple (remember that’s how I found you), that you created by dropping MWA into a still pond in 2003, the year before we met.
    Words cannot express how much enjoyment I have experienced watching your wave evolve. We both knew that the still waters that lay ahead would embrace and thrive as you, our Mea Ho’okipa passed by. We knew the wave would grow with community fueled by Ho’ohana, fueled by intent and purpose.
    I do believe that deep within your ‘Uhane, your spirit, you knew the wave’s direction. But I’m not sure it was clear. Life had to be journeyed upon for clarity, for Malamalama.
    JJL became a beacon, shedding light on the horizon. It has enhanced our Lokahi, our ability to collaborate. I knew that you knew this was to be essential if we were to Imua, to go forward.
    It truly is Ka la hiki ola, the dawning of a new day, but it is not monumental. Because tomorrow will also be Ka la hiki ola. It’s just that with more Malamalama, comes more intent and purpose.
    I love Steve’s definition of real learning!! Because beyond is where we must go. And we will…for all to see.
    Thanks for all you do Rosa!

  11. says

    Wow Dave, you blow me away… either you have been Hawaiian in some earlier life, or I have done a better job explaining these concepts than I even realized I had! Yet no… that would be giving myself way too much credit. I think instead to that saying, that “when the student is ready the teacher appears” for you have been one of the most thoughtful and open-minded students this hopeful aloha coach has ever had. When I say something, or write something, you have the ability to feel it versus just hearing or reading it.
    And perhaps that is what this next ripple is reaching for: That I go from “hopeful” to a much bigger positive expectancy of our community, and one which triggers me to stretch in my leading as well. I ask us all to step it up because I know we have it in us, and I know this much more deeply than I ever have before.
    How do I know? ‘Ike loa Kākou:
    I have always sensed that ‘knowing more’ comes from listening better, from hearing and understanding others more intimately, believing that we learn best from other people (sound familiar? :) and that is why I speak of my frustration with the silent lurking and tentative only-private conversations that really should be shared with the entire community, and not just me if only for a bit of a stretch in courage and transparency. A public comment on the blog might be all it takes to start! …and I obviously am not speaking to those of you who have already commented here, either in this posting or another of recent memory.
    When they are ready to lead, I need the MWA managers and emerging leaders of our community to speak up louder, making sure I listen, but also making sure WE listen, for I cannot do this alone. Thus my shout-out for more transparency, more experimentation, more public movement. Frankly, more guts. We are there at the edges, and we will begin taking those confident steps forward. Now, not later, not in the future, but today, and FOR the future.
    Are we learning our lessons in this recession, and taking better actions, or are we still passively waiting? And if so, what are we waiting for? I am listening… speak up.