Take 5 in 2010: A Game-Changing Ho‘ohana

Preface: When you see our Ho‘ohana Community badge pop up on top, you know a newsletterish-ish post is coming up… this one is an Aloha readiness for 2010.

Aloha my friends and faithful readers of Talking Story,

Ho‘ohana CommunityI hope this reaches you inspired by the holiday spirit of this special week. December provides us with a great variety of gifts, and when you look for them purposely you can find they are waiting for your discovery! As I shared in a tweet yesterday:

No more blue Christmases, pretending to be happy when you’re really sad… Ho”›o it and make it happen better… get out and connect with people.

You who know me, and know Managing with Aloha are aware of what I mean by “Ho‘o it” —Make something happen! For some of us that means more energy, more fires burning brightly. For others it might mean the calm contentment we call ma‘alahi, which can be another bright intensity, another kind of luminaria. Either way, December is a month you can claim.

We lay our ‘claim’ early this year

I have just returned from an early Christmas celebration held in Nevada with my ‘Ohana, my family. The Silver State proved to be a central point we could convene to this year, and our Christmas Day was celebrated early, on December 17th.

So today I find I am scheming about the New Year earlier than I normally would, streamlining and fine-tuning my intentions with the detailed plans I have spent several weeks thinking about. It is a time the thinking gets written down on paper to be sharpened with the clarity of both my full attention and deliberate, committed intention. In a word, it is my Ho‘ohana writing time once more! Bless.

This posting then, is to share more about what I am thinking with you.

Strategy: Less will be more

My overall strategy for 2010 became clear to me early on: Less will be more.

Despite the financial frugality of the lingering recession, in my personal experience of it I found 2009 to be a year of information gluttony. It was financially frugal for me too, and there was not much indulgence within 2009, for ‘indulgence’ was something which remained quite unattainable for various reasons, but still, we have been searching.

Searching and finding. Our choices have seemed so overwhelming, especially for the business reinventions the recession has mandated. When our annual Sweet Closure arrived in October I found that there were so many options to wade through, sort intelligently, and then make my choices from. Did that happen for you too?

This I know, and am quite sure of: While I am grateful for the idea generation those many options revealed, I don’t want any more choices. I want to stop looking, and begin to dwell within the ones I know to be good and right for me, remaining focused and contented within those selections. Fewer choices which are well attended to can flourish better; they can bloom. When they bloom, I can be healthier along with them, for I’m the one choosing them, and attending to them.

I give you one guess as to which number I will refuse to exceed in 2010 when making any kind of list at all, including that all-important strategic one which generates my livelihood…

Christmas Bows

Objectives: We “Take 5”

“Taking 5” has proved so good for me in the past, and I trust it. Here are the 5 things I now consider the lumps of clay awaiting my own Ho‘ohana sculpting throughout 2010. I also offer them to you, inviting you to join me.

1. Say Leadership Coaching will serve Great Managers directly

We have several neighborhoods within our Ho‘ohana Community and each remains very important to me in some way. Our relationships are strong and they give me a personal strength I would be foolish to deny or neglect. That said, some have been purely social, others experimental, the wonderful result of the goodness of ‘Ike loa, pursuing our value of learning. Within these past years of growth however, there is one group I feel I may have strayed from way too much, and they are those Managing with Aloha was primarily intended to serve: Those who will be our Great Managers of the future.

I may have needed the recession to see this as clearly as I now do. In the past, Say Leadership Coaching has served managers through their companies, but not directly as the individual warriors they need to be, especially now in our struggling economy. We continue to need a reinvention in the ever-critical Role of the Manager, and I intend to be quite stubborn in speaking directly to managers throughout 2010 instead of through the filter of their bosses.

To be clear, their bosses were always on board in the companies I worked with or MWA would not have been part of their program in the first place, but there was a budget which accommodated us all, and that is no longer the case. If we are to continue making progress, the managers who are not owners will have to forge their own path, and be an economic force to be reckoned with. Managers must become game-changers.

It will require quite an exploration as to how I can effectively reach out as I need to. I say the recession helped me see this, in that the slashing of training budgets separated me from many of the managers I had been reaching unless they happen to read one of my blogs, and many who consider themselves way too busy “in the trenches” of their day-to-day work are not connected to us yet. In other words, I want to serve an audience I know I am not yet reaching sufficiently. I am hoping that you who read Talking Story will help me figure this out: How do we get more managers to convene here, and become a strong community intent on being our game-changers of the future?

Having arrived here, the core of what we will then talk about is next. It will translate into the product line my business entities will concentrate on producing in order to best serve Great Managers…

2. M/L Practical: The 30/70 Mission of Managing with Aloha

The 30: Leading to create the critical resource: Energy
The 70: Managing to channel that resource into the core ‘product’ great managers produce: People who Ho‘ohana (people who thrive within their worthwhile work)

Hopefully, these managing versus leading definitions are now familiar to you, as is my insistence that managing and leading are verbs which ALL managers do; they need not have the title of ‘leader.’

More about this strategy was contained in this posting a few weeks back: Reduce your Leadership to a Part-time Gig in 2010

3. Jobs Reinvented and Delivered for Best Livelihood

I admit it: In the past I have minimized much consideration of “job” in favor of us investing all of our energies in Ho‘ohana instead. Well, another lesson from the recession: I downplayed jobs too much. Great Managers must serve those who may never choose Ho‘ohana just as much as they must serve those who do.

It has become brutally clear that we need jobs created if we are to have a healthy economy (and in turn, a healthy humanity.) Great Managers then, must expand their reach into two critical products of their managing/leading work:

  1. People who work to Ho‘ohana, eventually choosing some kind of entrepreneurship for an ‘Imi ola degree of self-employment/self-sustenance on their own terms, and
  2. People who work for the best livelihood of a forever-necessary or recession-proof job, or at minimum, a job which is lucrative enough to deliver long-term financial security

We need Great Managers to be those game-changers who enable these choices as feasible for our current society. In their new game-changing role, managers must be the bridge connecting the workforce with business owners who normally have blinders on where this fact reigns supreme in existing business models: The most efficient and profitable businesses are those with as few employees as possible.

That assumption is not very conducive to job creation, and managers must be our New Economy Saviors: They must illuminate the possibilities where human beings at work are exponentially necessary, not just costly.

4. Small and Nimble Self-Managing Teams and Tribes

Game-changers require new team formats they can tap into and create mini-movements with, movements which can achieve faster momentum when energies become available. I believe that the winning teams and tribes in 2010 will require 3 key qualities:

  1. They will be small. Small is quicker in decision-making. Small is more innovative, adept at handling project pilots and seizing opportunities.
  2. They will be nimble. Nimble can be agile in taking action with a sense of urgency. Nimble is more customer and market responsive.
  3. They will be self-perpetuating, learning to embody the same 30/70 guideline in self-leadership and self-management.

Organizational cultures have been fat and slow. We have all depended on leadership/management structure, ownership and procedural systems much too much. Small, nimble, and self-managing teams can function much better without the foot-dragging bureaucracy that conventional business structure has erected as an obstacle or excuse.

“Big business” you are so over. Small teams and tribes, your day has come.

Let me be clear: Big businesses have worthy missions and visions too. However to achieve them in today’s world they must become smaller in their approach so they can be effective. If they aren’t effective, they won’t be successful. End of story.

What I’ve said so far can be a bit scary. It sounds like a lot of small pieces running very independently, possibly wreaking havoc, doesn’t it. Keep reading, we’re almost done, and number 5 will be about the ties which bind brilliantly.

5. Critical, Consistent, Clear Communication

Here on Talking Story we have always known this to be true: Language, vocabulary, and conversation combine as our primary tools in business communications. What we speak of day-to day is likely fifty times more important than what we write or read, and when they all come together cohesively – wow. The need for CLEAR, intentional, reliable and responsive communication is critical in thriving businesses — and in thriving relationships. Drive communication of the right messages consistently, and you drive momentum and worthwhile energies.

That’s the ‘why.’ Now, how about the ‘what?’ Communication is huge and we need a focus.

We have our focus, and I have been the one guilty of straying from it as I’ve dabbled in other learning. Our focus is, and always will be the language and vocabulary of Managing with Aloha, and the conversations here on Talking Story as our mothership online.

In 2010 we will again honor our MWA value-alignment in our Language of Intention and our Hawaiian value themes will return. They may not always conform to precise monthly windows, but you will again be hearing much more of the 19 values of Managing with Aloha, I promise you.

Will you be here in 2010?

Will you be here, reading more of Talking Story throughout 2010 knowing of this Take 5 outlining my Ho‘ohana intentions? I do hope so!

We Ho‘ohana together, Kākou.
You can live, work, manage and lead with Aloha; I know you can. Question is, will you?

Tell me, what do you think about this? I would love to hear from you: Let’s talk story.

Rosa Say 2009
Rosa Say

From Managing with Aloha, if you have not yet seen it: This will convey more of my Language of Intention when I use that phrase “Great Manager.”
The Calling of Management: The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers

Pink Poinsettia


  1. says

    Rosa, your post mirrored so many of my own challenges, questions and passions. I also found this to be the year of information gluttony. Last month I began curtailing the intake with the same declaration that I did not want any more ideas I simply wanted to cultivate what was already present. I agree with your assertion and passion that big business must seek smaller execution. The tide has already turned and organizations who are not able to lean their processes will find themselves at a disadvantage. In my world we talk a great deal about customer conversations and the role of social media, but in 2010 I am more interested in internal social media and using those tools to drive internal tribes, relieve the burden of cluttered inboxes by streamlining communications and providing a forum for greater communication and collaboration.
    .-= ´s last blog ..Why You Should Learn to Fight Fair =-.

    • Rosa Say says

      Thank you for your comment Karen. My posting delivered quite a few private responses by those receiving email subscriptions (and I know this is a longer missive that may not have been completely read yet) and all feedback is very helpful to me, yet I greatly appreciate your taking the time to comment publicly here on the blog – mahalo :) Two things jump out for me:

      1. As you’ve pointed out “getting lean” has become a given. It is also one of those concepts that can be looked at from both the half empty or half full viewpoint. For example, lay-offs and furloughs: Half empty. Process and system reinvention: Half full.

      2. You said,

      “in 2010 I am more interested in internal social media and using those tools to drive internal tribes, relieve the burden of cluttered inboxes by streamlining communications and providing a forum for greater communication and collaboration.”

      Yes, yes, yes! One of the business opportunities I see is the smart comeback of the company intranet, for those conversations are so vitally important. Social media on the public web is fun, and I believe it does make a difference, yet within the workplace pressure cooker the real-time immediacy of mutually-supportive collaboration gets very, very exciting.

  2. says

    This is also where I’ve been for a while. Here are my thoughts:

    I want less, yet more…

    I want…
    Fewer posts, more content
    Fewer acquaintances, more friends
    Fewer noisy interruptions, more valuable signals
    Fewer shallow conversations, more going deep
    Fewer meaningless minutes, more intense days
    Fewer projects alone, more collaboration.

    Here’s to an abundant less in 2010 and beyond for all of us.
    .-= ´s last blog ..How to Brand Yourself =-.

    • Rosa Say says

      This is great Phil! I love the way you have crafted a language of intention for yourself in these phrases: Print them out on index cards and litter the routes of your attention span with them! I strongly believe they will start to work their magic for you and come true if you keep them close and continually pepper your thoughts with them.

      Abundance does come to us when we focus and “go short and deep.”

      It also brings this posting at JJL back to mind for me: Thank you for triggering the review, for I do need to look at it again as part of the litter of my attention span! A Measure of Success: My Results of Going Short and Deep

  3. Rosa Say says

    Seth Godin wrote a post called Maneuverability today, and it’s a good word to add to our vocabulary within the “small and nimble” of no. 4 in our Take 5.

    We often talk about speed when describing certain kinds of businesses. Some companies are bureaucratic, slow, dysfunctional… others are fast… fast to market, fast to ship you something.

    Just like a car, though, there’s an alternative to raw speed. Call it maneuverability. You might still take a long time to get up to perfect cruising speed, but you can initiate a turn on a dime. I’d put Ford in this category. Obviously, it’s going to be a long time before a car company is fast. It can take a year or more to get a factory up and running… there are just too many resources to manage. But how fast can a leveraged person in the organization get a decision made? How much data needs to be collected, how much proof needs to be produced, how many meetings need to be held?

    In my experience, the size of the company isn’t always the driving factor in this metric. It’s usually the guts of senior management that matters.