Tsunami Scare February 27, 2010

Today was to be about Rapid Fire Learning ~ and that it was!

Saturday, February 27, 2010 became the ‘host’ of an unexpected event: A Tsunami advisory, then watch, then warning for us in Hawai‘i nei, sent by an 8.8 earthquake about 6,000 miles away in Chile. Here’s a sampling of my play-by-play tweets to remember the day this has been:

5:40am Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning, its highest alert, for Hawaii. Follow @hawaiiredcross

6:17am Such a strange thing to hear…“If you are in a coastal area, leave your home assuming you cannot go back.” #hitsunami

7:15am Tsunami waves are not surfing waves or photo opps: Please prepare to leave coastal areas. Don’t put others in danger attempting to save you!

7:20am So many blessings to count, w/just short of 4 more hrs to prepare mālie~ calmly, w/ways science/ technology now help us be aware #hitsunami

7:50am I urge neighbor island tweeters to get necessary info out: Media coverage very O‘ahu centric, understandably per their resources #hitsunami

7:58am “A tsunami isn’t just 1 wave but a series, surging in/ out over several hours.” See inundation zones front pages of your phone bk #hitsunami

8:07am Mahalo friends for tweet-wishes and w/getting info out. Our ‘Ohana in safe place. We’re now preparing our home for others needing shelter

8:33am Think about traffic, go mauka early as you can w/calm: “All roads in coastal inundation zones will begin closing at 10am HI.time” #hitsunami

9:17am 6ft wave in Marquesas lowering forecast, but not enough to put Hawai‘i harbors/coasts out of danger: Continue your preparations. #hitsunami

9:22am Very proud of you Hawai‘i re media coverage I’m hearing: We’re taking this very seriously, but calmly, and w/Aloha, kokua for all #hitsunami

9:36am Hawai‘i keep in mind we’ve been in drought, reservoirs already low. Turn off irrigation systems: conserve water ‘til we know more #hitsunami

9:44am Very impressed by ongoing television coverage all-islands on @KHONnews @KITV4 and @HawaiiNewsNow: Mahalo to all of you! #hitsunami

10:01am Kuleana Kākou: Time to get off the roads, stay home/at high ground; keep roads clear for evacuation buses and emergency personnel #hitsunami

10:13am Big Isle: We’ve less than an hour before 1st surge expected in Hilo: Have your battery-powered radios ready if power interruption #hitsunami

10:16am Oh my, prayers for Chile ‘Ohana! RT: @WSJ New photos of the destruction in Chile after their massive earthquake: http://on.wsj.com/azJ0Rn

11:35am Water definitely receding, unusual surf activity in many areas. Thanks to technology of today we are seeing and learning so much! #hitsunami

11:53am Truly amazing to see our ocean water behave so differently. white water going backwards, reefs exposed. mesmerizing. still gentle #hitsunami

11:57am “This is not an exact science, everybody has to be patient, we’re still in the waiting period.” Ed Teixeira state civil defense #hitsunami

12:04pm Auwe, ocean churn increasing, and 1st wave “not necessarily the biggest.” See live feed here: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/ #hitsunami

12:07pm Way too many Twitter news updates to RT— wow! The list I have w/news most local to #hitsunami is @rosasay/newsfeeds

12:34pm News: “1st tsunami wave has now reached all Hawaiian islands. Its energy is now swirling all around us. Too early to call off warning tho.”

12:57pm Latest/ quick to hit the net! RT @CBSNews Tsunami official in Hi says “We dodged a bullet” but keeps warning in effect http://bit.ly/bE9WRq

1:03pm Hawai‘i ‘Ohana please keep safe, cautious. Live feeds show our ocean still behaving strangely w/erratic current shifts and surges #hitsunami

1:46pm Now hearing official word: Pacific Tsunami Center lifting #hitsunami warning: We’re in “stand-down” mode. Significant surges, but no damage

1:56pm A very BIG Mahalo to caring Aloha Spirit of Twitter ‘Ohana: I’ve got to believe all those good vibes help in exponential ways #hitsunami

1:59pm Now 56 aftershocks 5.0+ from Chile. Pacific Tsunami concerns not over for Guam, Japan, the Samoas, NZ, others. Keep the Aloha Spirit strong

2:33pm RT @alohajanet: Hawaii residents we were lucky today #hitsunami Donate your canned goods to a local food bank. Need is great in this economy

3:36pm Betcha many afternoon nappers in Hawai‘i after being up all night to prepare for #hitsunami I’m liking that idea too w/last guest now gone.

5:37pm News Update: Tsunami may still be a concern for Russia and Northern Japan. All others in the Pacific now in the clear. (via @HawaiiNewsNow)

Getting Some Air

Technology has changed so much. The day does give me a sense of wonder about the difference (After Sunday’s Earthquake, October 2006 …no Twitter then, all my reporting after the fact).

As Jennifer Chandler summed up in these three tweets:

my opinion: twitter works because it creates community among people who weren’t community before. we call it different things…

… we call it marketing, pr, govt -but at the end of the day, its still good ol social mechanisms and our own desires driving us together.

when there’s a crisis, we become community for many different reasons and suddenly the boundaries shift… like we saw today…

8:50pm Update: I see Jennifer has published a blog post:
Community emergence in times of crisis #hitsunami

And in the interest of complete reporting, this from Howard Dicus, “Hawaii News Now Resident Explainer:” Apotheosis of the dumbass

Rapid Fire Learning Returns to Talking Story

Preface: If “Rapid Fire Learning” isn’t ringing a bell of quick recognition with you, I ask that you learn all about it by reading this duet of postings:

  1. This is the FAQ sheet for RFL which is in residence on Joyful Jubilant Learning, a site now archived as an online resource for our Ho‘ohana Community:
    About Rapid Fire Learning
  2. This is one of the more recent articles I had written about RFL here on Talking Story:
    Our RFL Recall: Are you Remembering or Learning?

Then please, do come back to this one! Your Talking Story, Say “Alaka‘i” and Managing with Aloha connections appear at the ending of this posting.

Aloha, and mahalo for spending part of your weekend with me!

Our Ho‘ohana Intentions

Starting today and tomorrow, I’ll be bringing Rapid Fire Learning here to Talking Story on the last weekend of each month, with a new twist: The weekend will serve as a full learning immersion value-aligned to ‘Ike loa (the MWA value of learning), and therefore open to both RFL the way we have known it within our JJL habit, and Take 5, our practice here on Talking Story of keeping a Take 5 focus in the game-changing strategy we’ve set our sights on as our 2010 Ho‘ohana.

Now I know that is quite a mouthful, and if you “got it!” in reading that last paragraph, wow! I am impressed (and profoundly grateful) for you are a true Joyful Jubilant Learner, and a  Talking Story/ Managing with Aloha champion!

If you aren’t quite there yet, not to worry! Take an easy, relaxing weekend breath, and please, please don’t let me scare you away, for RFL and Take 5 have one purpose: To celebrate you and your learning in a joyful way, Hau‘oli‘oliin joy, wonder and delight.

We’ll just let that paragraph of Ho‘ohana intentions stand as is: Rather than break it down, I think the easiest way is to take a cue from Nike, and Just do it! So here we go…

I’ll go first, and I invite you to join in. Use the comments here, or send me a trackback from your own site. Tumble something, or tweet yours one-by-one in the Twitter 140 if you like!

My RFLs for February, 2010, stream-of-consciousness, as I sit for this writing capture:

Our JJL practice had been to “take 5” in our RFL listing too, capturing the learning strongest in the current month’s memory impressions. After jotting down your RFLs, you may choose to look back into your journaling, or skim your own blog’s archive listing, asking yourself why your RFL capture may have differed from your documentation: The comparison can trigger even more learning for you.

Here’s mine:

  1. When I decide on some kind of theme for my month, I do experience a passionate flare-up about it, for I am simply paying attention better, in a very channeled, specific way. However for me, the theme cannot solely indulge in blogging conventions; it has to connect to my Alaka‘i coaching.
  2. Saying “No” or “game over” to friends and colleagues can be very difficult, but the emotions eventually stop churning when you have a burning “Yes!” of your own which you will commit to as your Ho‘ohana. I must keep my own burning yes alive and well, for in the end, I will serve everyone better that way.
  3. I need to allocate more time in my Strong Week Plan for finishing well. I have been much too quick to flit from one project or task to another, when short and deep immersion is what actually works better for me. Less is more.
  4. BIG impression made on me this month by Jason Fried when he said, “Inspiration is perishable” in this podcast. I am learning to “work fresh” when I have an idea that is connected to my “burning Yes!”
  5. Proving once again that learning benefits from those unexpected refresher courses your health will give you: Amazing how much of your life shifts when you take ill; it becomes continuous learning in Mālama, the value of stewardship, caring and compassion. (Your business is a person, separate from you.)

My Ho‘ohana Take 5: This is what I have given my ‘Ike loa focus to in February:

You can do your Take 5 in Learning however you wish: No Rules, keep it useful for YOU.

All of mine have something to do with a post done here at Talking Story this month, but I am purposely not linking them up, for I want to keep the words alone as my Language of Intention triggers, stimulating new thoughts in sequential and consequential learning. My Take 5 will help me look ahead to the month of March, knowing that, as prompted by RFL number 3. above, I am not finished with these:

  1. You’ll be the company you keep. Aloha teaches both unconditional acceptance, and a “what’s next?” choosiness of discretionary intention.
  2. My game-changing in productivity stress-free performance requires a Trusted System: Am I busy, or accomplished? Is my behavior acceptable, or inspirational? Big difference.
  3. Of Significance: 1. Learning is a never-ending Project. “Everything is a learning experience. However, all learning isn’t equal.” Of Significance: 2. Communication benefits greatly from Sense of Place. Effective communication requires choices and faithfulness to those choices.
  4. Being positive is Hō‘imi: Looking for it. And when I look for it, I manage to find it! Writing then (and my speaking, and my teaching, and my photography), becomes a deeper exploration of that discovery. Your words will move you there if you let them.
  5. Feeling good isn’t necessarily the same as feeling strong —and your strengths do make you feel strong. The Alaka‘i manager who delivers this clarity to a workplace will be indispensable.

Now your turn!

Use the comments here for one or the other, or both. Ho‘olokomaika‘i: Be generous, knowing that your sharing will encourage others to reflect on, and appreciate their own learning too.

Consider using your coffee time, or bookend your weekend with us: Perhaps Saturday for one, and Sunday for the other?

Additional coaching for the Say Alaka‘i Manager:

If you are really ambitious, you can somehow connect this with either our Weekly Review, or a decision you made last weekend with Hō‘imi, the 3 Secrets of Being Positive, and your Trusted System.

However what I said above is worth repeating: No Rules or specific steps —get this to be useful for you in the design of your own learning success structure. Give yourself some whole-minded love, knowing your self-care is your February strengthener.

“”someone who calls themselves a manager of people must be a learner, and they must dedicate themselves to non-stop, sequential and consequential learning.

Sequential in that it builds upon previous lessons learned, and it takes you through a process where you question instruction and do not always accept what you are taught at face value; you polish it like a gem in your mind until something about it rings true for you.  

Consequential in that it is worthwhile stuff; it makes a difference for you, and you aren’t simply collecting lessons on some scorecard. There’s some personal take-away in it for you. Now that you know it, you’re going to use it.”

‘Ike loa; to seek knowledge and wisdom in Managing with Aloha (page 136)

Photo Credits: Our Ho‘ohana Community icon and Rapid Fire Learning banner were designed for us by Tim Milburn, of StudentLinc who says, “Leaders are learners.” “Experiment Five” was shot by woodleywonderworks, and “Pent” was taken by Here’s Kate; both found on Flickr.

Failure isn’t cool. Neither is weakness

“Failure is not a great well of lessons. ”¨Don’t think it’s a prerequisite for success.”
Jason Fried

I listened to a short riff by Jason Fried of 37signals recently (the podcast is available here) in which he says, “Failure is not cool. Don’t get into it.”

He asks why we will insist on thinking of failure as character-building, when what we really aim to build up are our successes, not our failures. If you make failure out to be “cool” and you concentrate on learning from your mistakes, you’re only learning what not to do next time. Isn’t it way better, he asks, to learn from your successes instead, and continue to parlay on what went right?

Makes sense to me. It’s not a good idea to keep catch-phrases like “fail early and often” in the language of your work culture when failure isn’t what you actually want. In Managing with Aloha we will say that “mistakes are cool” to recognize that mistakes are part of the learning process, but we do stop short of being okay with repeated mistakes, and with failure, because truth is, we’re not!

Fried later wrote, in a follow-up article on Signal vs. Noise:

“I don’t understand the cultural fascination with failure being the source of great lessons to be learned. What did you learn? You learned what didn’t work. Now you won’t make the same mistake twice, but you’re just as likely to make a different mistake next time. You might know what won’t work, but you still don’t know what will work. That’s not much of a lesson.”

“There’s a significant difference between ‘now I know what to do again’ and ‘don’t do that again’” It’s true: Everything is a learning experience. Good and bad, there’s something to be learned. But all learning isn’t equal.”

I think this reasoning applies to strengths and weaknesses as well.

When doing performance assessments, managers continue to operate within a misplaced focus on weaknesses, when strength-building is what will get them far better results.

Relevance, and setting expectations

I will never, ever forget something an employee once said to me in an annual performance review, as we both sat in that dreaded annual appraisal meeting mandated by our employer, with the company’s check-off-the-standard-box form on the table between us. Thankfully this happened pretty early in my management career, and I did catch my mistake before repeating it into a dismal failure.

We had been talking about something the employee had screwed up, and he reached out both his hands to lie them flat on the review form and cover it up as a way to make me look up at him, stop talking, and listen.

“Got it already Rosa, can we change the subject and get through this faster? Believe me, when I make a mistake, I know it, and I don’t need you to remind me about it. What I need you to help me with, is seeing when I do something right, and I haven’t yet figured out that you like it, and it’s something I need to keep doing.”

“My screw-up sucked. But you know what really sucks? I’m still not sure I know exactly what I should do next time. Tell me what you want, and let’s  move on.”

What a lightbulb moment! He was telling me that he dreaded another mistake happening way more than I did, my harping on the mistake was like rubbing salt into his wound, and I wasn’t doing a damn thing to help him make sure the mistake didn’t happen again as failure just waiting to happen.

That conversation became a lesson we’ve now woven into our Managing with Aloha coaching for managers as,

“People catch their own weaknesses.
Your job, is to catch and encourage their strengths,
and those strengths aren’t usually clear.”

See here’s the thing: RELEVANCE. Contextual relevance, with the context being your workplace. Similar to failure and success, weakness and strength is either relevant to what you need, or irrelevant. Just as Fried says, “all learning isn’t equal,” neither are strengths, for honestly? Nobody cares about a strength you have unless it is useful to them too.

This creates a perfect opportunity for managers to manage better. Managers help their staff best, when they clearly define the workplace relevance where strength-associated activities matter, and count in better performance results. What we normally refer to this as, is “setting expectations” but we stop short of making the expectations crystal clear.

For instance, an employee can feel they are good with numbers, and they will call it a strength in analytical thinking, but “numbers” and the mathematical application of numerology is a pretty huge arena of possibility: Are you looking for strength with measurement? With statistics? With numerical classification of asset inventory? With pattern and sequence? With rounding-off calculation out in the field? Or with macro wizardry in an Excel spreadsheet?

Here’s another common strength self-assessment you will usually hear in a job interview, one which really doesn’t tell you very much at all: “I’m good with people.” Which people? Customers and comfort with the welcoming process and art of the sale, or co-workers where you rely on an insider’s language and peer-to-peer coaching?

Let’s connect our Alaka‘i lessons-learned:

Here’s a self-coaching plan for you, the Alaka‘i manager, using the free resources this blog offers:

Step 1— M/L 70-30: Reduce your Leadership to a Part-time Gig in 2010. Use The 30-70 Rule in Leading and Managing, for reviewing it can help you think about this in both a practical and intentional way. Besides the productivity slant of it, the articles cover the intentions we bring to leading (and creating workplace energies) and managing (to channel those newly available energies).

Step 2— Leading in 30: Post before this one, we spoke of the difference between acceptable behavior and accomplished behavior in moving performance forward in a better, stronger way. Accomplished behavior is the way you can better identify the strengths you need in your own workplace: Feeling good isn’t the same as feeling strong. Define your contextual differences.

Step 3— Managing in 70: Is the 70% you must devote to your day-to-day efforts, and it is what today’s article is all about. Kick “failure is cool” out of your language of intention, for success is what’s cool. Then get this to be real in your managing: “People catch their own weaknesses. Your job, is to catch and encourage their strengths, and those strengths aren’t usually clear.” Help them get clear, and be successful.

Photo Credit: Pipe Cleaner Muscle Man by Bob.Fornal on Flickr

Feeling Good Isn’t the Same as Feeling Strong

I’m working with a management team taking pause this first quarter of their year to inventory their strengths. They wish to mix things up a bit, opening their thinking with cross-functional teams assigned to specific projects in March and April, and they hired me to help them approach their re-teaming in a way which will better leverage the strengths each person is anticipated to bring to each project team.

Smart strategy. They feel confident in their workforce, and they’re sure there are strengths they’ve not tapped into yet: They are determined that 2010 will be the year everyone’s strengths are encouraged to come out and play.

Fun stuff too, very encouraging for those involved, and we’ve celebrated some true aha! moments just one session into it.

There was one insight in particular that I’ve seen come up before with other groups, a very helpful awareness to have, when you feel you have begun to close in on identifying your own strengths:

Feeling good isn’t necessarily the same as feeling strong
—and your strengths do make you feel strong.

Let’s think about that specifically in regard to leadership today, and keeping our Alaka‘i leading-as-verb definition in mind: When managers lead, they create workplace energy. Energy is our most importance resource in moving work performance forward in a positive, and productive way —more than time, more than finances, for when we have positive energy, we optimize our time and financial resources; having them is just the beginning.

Leadership is riddled with “should-ing” expectations: Everyone has some kind of an opinion about what leaders should do and should not do. Even if we only consider the positive expectations, and what others want from leaders, we can separate those wants into two classifications:

  1. There’s acceptable behavior according to social norms (e.g. decorum, civility, ethics, community responsibility), and
  2. There’s accomplished behavior, where leadership ventures above and beyond, and enters that stratum of success, volunteerism, social entrepreneurship and giving to mankind.

One you admire —it’s good. However the other inspires you —as the strength it truly is.

Acceptable behavior delivers maintenance-level energy to a work culture, whereas accomplished behavior delivers the higher-level energy which makes that work culture vibrant and dynamic: Within a workplace, it is the high energy of accomplished behavior which delivers true performance excitement and growth. People stop thinking work and begin thinking legacy.

So let’s bring this back to you, as an Alaka‘i manager giving your 30% to leadership intentions. Here is the aha! awareness to have, if you are to leverage your strengths too:

  • You may feel good as a leader (you may feel very good) because you are living up to other’s expectations of you, expectations you do share with them, and have agreed to make good on. You demonstrate acceptable behavior, and you may even have nailed maintaining it at a constant level, both for you and the organization you lead. You are reliable in that way, you are trusted, and you are admired.
  • You will feel strong as a leader when you’ve entered the realm of accomplished behavior. You are living up to YOUR expectations of you, AND you are consistently working within those activities which capitalize on your strengths. You feel great because you feel the accomplishment delivered by your strengths, and you are now eager to explore the further depths of your full capacity [More on Palena ‘ole in the footnote.] You are more than admired; you are inspiring.

Accomplished behavior does a LOT for your Aloha Spirit as well. Aloha comes from within you; it helps you live from the inside out, fortifying your personal energies. And what is inspiration? A noun which means “in spirit.”

“There are four telltale signs of a strength. The acronym SIGN is a good way to organize and remember them: S is for Success, I is for Instinct, G is for Growth, and N is for Needs.

Putting these four signs together, the simplest and most useful definition of a strength is this: your strengths are those activities which make you feel strong” In the language of SIGN, you need to be acutely aware of your Instinct, your Growth, and your Needs, because they drive your success.”

Marcus Buckingham, Go Put Your Strengths to Work; 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance

I highly recommend Buckingham’s book if you cannot hire a coach to help you identify your strengths, and match them up to your Ho‘ohana strategies. But don’t just read it: Study it and personally apply it. Work on you as your best project this year.

For now however, read his quote again: The success, instinct, growth, and needs of which he speaks is all about YOU, and leveraging your strengths for the accomplished behavior which requires you work harder, and KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u, strive for the summit.

Is that the leading you apply yourself to?

A last word (well, for today :) This is good news and should not intimidate you, for it’s all about you! It is also a daily journey you will enjoy, and be fulfilled by. Connect this article to these other discussions we have had here:

  1. What Your Big Ideas Do Best: “Our big ideas don’t have to change the world. They just have to move it along.”
  2. Small Wins Create Big Domino Effects: A “Small Win” is not small as in insignificant. It is small as in, you cannot fail unless you completely go lazy on me or get stuck in procrastination.
  3. Who leads? You do. In the Sweet Spot: The trouble with “all or nothing” is that it is often too intimidating to choose all, making it much too easy to choose nothing.

Photo Credit: Day 232 Participant by lintmachine on Flickr.

Footnote: We have themed our February somewhat, starting with this posting: February’s Strengthening. We know it as Love. However strengths-management is a constant discussion here on Talking Story, for it is one of the 9 Keys of the Managing with Aloha philosophy in shaping workplace culture:

7. Strengths Management:

Keys 1 through 6 have put a great foundation in place for your business to thrive within: Together they have created the best possible launching pad for your organizational culture. Now we turn to bigger investments made in each employee, business partner, and stakeholder involved, so you can truly say, “Our people are our biggest asset” —and mean it. Cooperation, connectivity and collaboration evolve to optimization and co-creation.

From December, 2009: Find Your Strongest Life. Yes, You. A book review on a follow-up book that Marcus Buckingham had written for women.

This discussion today also pertains to Key 9:

9. Palena ‘ole (Unlimited Capacity):

This is your exponential growth stage, and about seeing your bigger and better leadership dreams come to fruition. Think “Legacy.” Create abundance by honoring capacity; physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. Seek inclusive, full engagement and optimal productivity, and scarcity will be banished.

What will be the result you achieve when you work to manage with Aloha? New learning, increased energy, passionate commitment to vision, and dramatic shifts in personal engagement. Said another way, you will grow as you learn the Ho‘ohana of self-management and self-leadership as you make extremely valuable contributions to whatever organization you are presently involved with.