Our 5th Year Celebration! Announcing TalkingStory.org

Big milestone coming up!

On August 23rd Talking Story will be 5 years old. And you know how I feel about the supreme goodness of the number 5… perhaps these ring a few bells?

Five Simple White Petals
Five Simple White Petals
  1. What’s the skinny on the Daily 5 Minutes?
    Absolutely, positively, the best workplace tool of them all.
  2. The power of questioning: Ask “Why?” Five Times.
    “Why?” is an  Alaka‘i self-leadership question.
  3. Rapid Fire Learning.
    Tracking 5 things we have learned each and every month opens up even more capacity for us, amazing creatures of abundance and growth that we are.
  4. Learn a 5-Step Weekly Review: You’ll love it.
    A calendar with a Strong Week Plan is your best friend.
  5. Learn 5 New Things About Walking.
    If you aren’t in good health, well, the rest of this is really a moot point. Walking works wonders for your mindfulness too.

So with a 5 year birthday coming up for Talking Story I have been wracking my brain thinking about how to celebrate. I thought about doing a forum or festival, about interviewing some of the good folks in our Ho‘ohana Community, and about having a huge Managing With Aloha book giveaway (MWA will be 5 in November), and I may still do a few of them later.

For it then occurred to me that as boring as this will initially sound, I really should celebrate with a in-depth clean-up here, bringing Talking Story to better integrity, so it can dwell in the place of honor it rightly deserves.

As of today, Talking Story will no longer live on the coattails of Say Leadership Coaching as www.sayleadershipcoaching/talkingstory.

You will find Talking Story at its brand new home on TalkingStory.org

If you are a Talking Story subscriber you need not do a thing: I will be rerouting you to the right place with tech-magic. However do click in so you can see the new site at its web-based home!

I have brought back our original Talking Story banner, designed for me by Christopher Bailey.


I still have a lot to do

Think about your garage (where the car no longer fits) or that junk drawer which doesn’t close anymore, or that extra deep walk-in closet which you seriously think of as more valuable than the kitchen sometimes. A blog which has reached its 5th year is sort of like the digital equivalent of those things. Just as you’d never show me that walk-in closet of yours, I would never show you the inner workings of Talking Story hidden behind the scenes right now, quite sure I would shrink in embarrassment —and I’m short enough!

Yet it works. Talking Story is the true glory of what a “digital Ho‘ohana closet” looks like.

And boy, it has worked hard. Talking Story has been the place where all other sites now a part of our Ho‘ohana Publishing ‘Ohana were born as an idea, and then became prototypes, and then spun off on their own like internet sitcoms looking for their own e-Emmy. Talking Story was the FIRST, and from here would come what I now think of as our Ho‘ohana Community ecosystem, and our web-world Sense of Place:

Not to mention that Talking Story has been a learning place for and about apps like LinkedIn, Flickr, Twitter, my Tumblr lifestream at   Ho‘ohana Aloha, and just about everything Brexy I did (Brexy = Brave Experiments in Digital Learning… remember that?)

And who knows what might be next. Because of Talking Story, I do know there WILL be a next something.

So mahalo nui for understanding my seemingly boring decision. I am not going for fancy appearances, but for a totally cleaned house Talking Story can live in going forward, both inside and out, for after all, it serves us so extraordinarily well.

A few final words from Brexy

If you are meeting her for the first time, Brexy darling is my inner geek. She is currently sitting a bit cross-eyed at the complete revamping I did with our Talking Story categories, and she is trying to put the right posts in the right place… she will be there for a while, and we thank you for your patience as the entire digital closet gets cleaned up. It will likely take several months.

To those who have linked to Talking Story over the years, I am so so sorry, but there will be broken links when I close the old site down in a month or so. I will probably sink my Technorati ranking like a lead balloon with this change, and I need to start praying to the Google gods, but hey, still a young one at 5, right?

Ho‘ohiki e ho‘omau: I promise I will make it up to you! We will only get better from here, from there is so much learning still ahead of us.

Now if you’re still reading this via RSS or email, click into TalkingStory.org and have a look: The old girl has a new lease on life, and she still delivers there, hard at work at her Ho‘ohana.

Life is good. We live, work, manage and lead with Aloha,

Rosa Say
Rosa Say

Day Last as Feature’s First: An invitation

Please join us at Joyful Jubilant Learning today.

“We are now 27 days into our shiny new WordPress digs here at JJL. We are enjoying the learning and beginning to feel very comfortable, and we also feel newly energized! We hope you are too.

The change was a pot-stirrer for us in a couple of different ways, and we thought that we would sit back and catch a breather with you today before we jump ahead to a brand new month’s theme tomorrow, the 1st of August.”


Change is something we speak of often here at Talking Story, and this happens to be a time that JJL offers up a virtual case study of change which helps us stretch, learn, and grow.

Please don’t save this one up for another time: Today is the day we are talking story there to

present a new feature that is a “Day Last.” Think Ho‘omau, and about how we strive to finish our conversations well, causing the good in our lives to be long lasting. Such a good habit to cultivate with our learning, don’t you think?

experiment, with a community profile presentation. We are thinking of doing this on a regular basis if you like the idea too, though today we took some liberties that are different from what we are planning going forward (you’ll see).

indulge in our Ho‘ohana Community goodness. Technical features are one thing (we have a brand new WordPress publishing platform at JJL), but our culture remains the same, and we want to hear from you, and be sure you are comfortable with the changes we’ve made there.

Join me there?

Great! Click here: Are we communicating yet? Let’s talk about JJL and You. I am a


and you can be too… all it takes is talking story :)

The 30-70 Rule in Leading and Managing

July is quickly coming to an end. When I looked at my calendar earlier this week, the 07.30 numbering for today triggered a thought: I have not yet told you about the 70-30 Rule in managing and leading, have I.

‘Rule’ is a short, compact, easy word to remember and so that’s what we call it, but it is more of a guideline, and a goal Alaka‘i managers will commit to achieving. It goes like this:

A manager will both manage and lead. They will be most effective at achieving results which matter when 30% of their time is dedicated to leading, and 70% of their time is devoted to managing.

We manage and lead every single day. What constantly shifts is the amount we will be working at each one, devoting X amount of time to managing, and Y amount of time to leading.

When we feel we are compelled to curtail our management actions a bit and start leading more, we are beginning to get impatient ”“ the good kind of impatience (in contrast to the not-as-good impatience of micromanagement.) We have an idea about something, and it is about how we want the future to be different in some way than how things are right now.

Something else has happened as the idea grew in intensity: We can no longer come up with any good reason to wait.

Leadership is Why and When

We have spoken of the differences between management and leadership at length (as we define them in our Managing with Aloha ‘Language of Intention’). As we think about the 30-70 Rule, let’s keep within the context of what we have most recently discussed here:

Leadership is Why and When: Leading is about acting on your good impatience for a new idea, one you fully realize will lead to change. Dedicate 30% of your time and effort to this leading.

Management is What and How: Managing then, will be about the execution of what it takes, and how it must be done for your visionary idea to become our new reality.
Dedicate 70% of your time and effort to this managing.

Learn to measure effort

I’m guessing your first question might be, “Why 30-70? How did you come up with that?”

Very early in my management career it became crystal clear that I had to learn to measure using a variety of expected business metrics. Many of us will learn to measure results (sales reports, profit and loss, ROI) and we will learn to measure work performance (annual performance reviews, incentive and commissioning programs). However there was always a lot of frustration woven in all these systems and processes of fairly standard business measurements for me. It is a frustration I see play out over and over again across industries and at all managerial levels within organizational hierarchies. We measure what we are expected to, not fully understanding why we bother, and how it can really help us.

We learn these metrics connected to financial results and work performance as industry or corporate rules and conventions: They are given to us as expectations. However we will rarely learn enough (if anything) about the cause and effect chain reactions which lead up to the results we get: The frustration stems from feeling that so much ends up happening by trial and error.

Worst of all, that trial and error is often packaged up and dismissed as learning we must attend to as part of “paying your dues.”

Well, it took me a while (I paid those dues), but I eventually figured out that to be effective with achieving GREAT results and work performance, what I had to learn to measure was the effort put toward making them happen correctly. I also had to qualify that effort. So I qualified it as the “great business calling of Managing with Aloha” and I categorized that calling as both managing and leading by specific, values-based definitions.

I then learned that those categories would best complement each other in a certain proportion over years and years of tracking them within my work performance teams. 30-70 evolved as our golden rule for the best reason: It consistently delivered the best results when it came to our vision of what Ho‘ohana (worthwhile work) should be.


Start by knowing where you stand

Greatly improve your effectiveness by doing more leadership (creating energy) and less management (channeling energy). Management matters and will always be necessary to a certain degree, but the constant goal of the Alaka‘i manager is to lead more and not less.

How to Stop Micromanaging, Part One

Most of us will manage way more than we lead, regardless of our position on that conventional role progression from supervision to middle management, to upper management and owner/director leadership. Even the guys and gals at the very top of the org chart lead too little and manage too much, regardless of the industry or sector they are in.

President Obama is a highly visible example to watch right now: He led a lot during his campaign, talking about his ideas for the future constantly so he could share his vision and get us to buy in, and say so with our votes, but most of what he does now is manage. His day-to-day managing includes repeated statements of his leadership intentions, but now into the 7th month of his presidency, he is not yet back to the consistent new idea generation we spoke of in “Leadership is Why and When” for he has found that more management is being required of him. He must delegate it, or do it himself.

The practical application of “learn to measure effort” is that you must also come up with how you “qualify that effort” and then “categorize it” too: As I asked in my last post, “Who is in charge of you?” That’s not to say that you can’t get help, but be deliberate in making your choices. You can use what I suggest by way of the Managing with Aloha sensibility for work, and the leadership/30 ”“ management/70 categories/metrics, or you can come up with something on your own, but you must make it tangible and measurable, and meaningful to you, so that at any given moment you know where you stand.

Once you know where you stand, you know where you need to go.

Because I have clear definitions for management and leadership (as my Language of Intention), I can measure the specific activities I associate with each one. Who cares if the dictionary, or a new business book by a famous management or leadership guru says something different? What is important is my own definition if I execute and act that way, because I then have a consistency of actions I can measure, knowing which one goes in my leadership/30 bucket, and which one goes in my management/70 bucket.

At the end of each week I look at my calendar (as it actually happened), and I assess in a very simple way: I use a green highlighter for my leadership activities, and a pink one for my management activities, then I look at the ratio of hashmarks now color-coding where I stood in my week’s effort: Was it the 3-7 I need, or did I come in at 2-8 or 1-9 instead?

Next, plan ahead for better

Now that I know where I stand, I need to adjust, and move toward where I should be going. So I look at next week’s calendar and measure the ratio I have already penciled in: Will each appointment be about a leadership initiative, or about a management one?

I look at the available blocks of time I have left and can proactively plan better with: How do I fill them in to get the most out of my efforts?

  • If they are at 20-80, I need to lead more to achieve my 30-70.
  • If they are at 40-60, I need to manage more to achieve my 30-70.

Management and leadership get so much guru-speak tied up in them, and they begin to seem unreachable. They aren’t.

The 30-70 Rule in Managing and Leading gets them to be activities that you have qualified in the way that matters most to you (as your Leadership Why and When) and that achieves the best results (as your Management What and How.)

I like practical and useful, and I’ll bet you do too.

Let’s talk story.
Any thoughts to share?

Photo credit: Work Tools by stryder10464 on Flickr.

For those who prefer them, here are the Talking Story copies of the links embedded in this posting:

Article originally published on Say “Alaka‘i” July 2009
The 30-70 Rule in Managing and Leading

“What’s in it for me?” is a Self-Leadership Question

This quote was reprinted in big bold letters in my neighborhood association’s newsletter, and the contrarian in me immediately took notice and started to shake her head in disagreement.

“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”

~ Brian Tracy

The voice of servant leadership speaks in Mr. Tracy’s quote, and the altruistic person within all of us wants him to be right. However there is so much evidence otherwise.

Let’s face it: We all know very successful people who are very selfish, and got to what others will view as success (for it’s a relative concept) by asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?”

It’s a great question.

Self-coaching is self-questioning

“What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) is one of my favorite coaching conversations to have with managers for two specific reasons: Proactive choice and decision ownership. I will ask them to use the WIIFM question in self-coaching, suggesting they ask themselves that question often, perhaps daily, because it helps them focus on why they are doing whatever it is they are doing at any given time.

Said another way, contrary to Mr. Tracy’s assertion, “What’s in it for me?” can get us to be more successful than we might presently be! It can help us make far better choices, and it can help us completely own the decisions we make connected to those choices. We become sure. We become value grounded.

Den Neva Mine

Waking up to our moment of choice

We are all bombarded with different choices in every single moment of the day. When I ask myself “what’s in it for me?” I am trying to focus better, and be both deliberate and self-disciplined with the actions I am purposely choosing to take. No sleepwalking, automatic pilot, or going through the motions in my blind kowtow to some sacred cow which really should be put out to pasture.

Focus, deliberate action and self-discipline are all necessary to get to your Ho‘ohana, your on-purpose work.

Ho‘ohana work is intentional work

Your Ho‘ohana is the work you do on purpose, with passion, and with deliberate intentions, consistently seeking to match up your attentions to that intention. Ho‘ohana is your value-connected work. It might be your job, it might not.

From the Archives: What’s your Calling? Has it become your Ho‘ohana?

Who’s in charge here?

I am also making absolutely sure that I am in charge of me.

That means I am not working on someone else’s plan for me. No blame, no excuses, no justifications. Only intentional my Ho‘ohana actions: Buck stops with me.

So when we ask ourselves, “What’s in it for me?” we are self-checking our intentions and our attentions.

  • Does “it” make me more effective and more productive?
  • Does “it” help me be more mindful and intentional about where my daily attentions should be?
  • Does “it” give me more energy, or drain it away from me so I have nothing left to give?
  • Is “it” in complete alignment with the values I am committing to upholding in my life? Will “it” help me be sure I walk my talk and talk my walk?
  • Will “it” improve the working relationships I have with other people when I am being the authentic me? How about the emotional relationships I have with them?

When the answer to those kinds of self-coaching questions is an emphatic “Yes, it will!” that is the kind of success I want to have. Ho‘ohana deliberate success.

What about you?

Can you ask the WIIFM question and still be a servant leader?

Absolutely! You can have the good results which come about as a result of their pairing.

I have found that Ho‘ohana deliberate success very naturally translates into serving other people better: It’s a win for everyone involved because we have made it our Kuleana, our personal responsibility, to only operate at our best.

I’ll bet that your better answers to “What’s in it for me?” will do the same thing for you. There is just one caveat, a crucially important one: Always answer the question with your personal values, for that is the authentic, self-aware you. And please understand this: I won’t impose my values on you, but I will challenge you to live and work within the truth and integrity of yours.

The successful person never hides from who they are.

Self-leadership requires self-awareness, and the self-attuned person will be successful.

And yes, that is my opinion about success, however I must say I’ve yet to be proven wrong about it. I agree with Mr. Forbes:

Success follows doing what you want to do.
There is no other way to be successful.

~ Malcolm Forbes

Let’s talk story.
Any thoughts to share?

For those who prefer them, here are the Talking Story copies of the links embedded in this posting:

~ Originally published on Say “Alaka‘i”
July 2009 ~
“What’s in it for me?” is a Self-Leadership Question