Job Creation Employs Strengths, Then People

Throughout my management career (recession or no recession) there has been a job-related coaching I’ve continually given to the other managers on my team, which in a single sentence goes like this:

“Recruitment, selection and hiring is a fully-loaded stronghold of growth potential for us, and therefore, those processes are among the most crucial ones needing our attention.”

Those three words contained these Intentions:

RECRUITMENT adds business partners to our ‘Ohana in business [MWA Key 6], and we don’t wait for the right people to knock on our door: We actively seek them out.

SELECTION adds strengths to our team [MWA Key 7] and thus we need to understand which strengths we need to add, and why, and how we will immediately employ those strengths to mutual benefit: A job is win-win.

HIRING then, is about starting someone in the best possible way so they can immediately connect our job for them to their Ho‘ohana intention [MWA Key 2]. We start with Aloha [MWA Key 1] aligned throughout ALL of their beginning with us (i.e. The practical container of their first 90 days.)

Bonus link: Rands had written an exceptional blog posting describing how a new hire’s Day 1 with you isn’t necessarily their first day on your payroll… every Alaka‘i Manager should read this: Wanted

To “start with Aloha aligned throughout ALL of their beginning with us” sounds straight-forward enough, however to provide it thoroughly means that you’ve done enough homework and preparation to have that luxury of time and energy to give it.

Seasoned managers reading this will have instantly realized there are a lot of assumptions in those intentions I’d noted above within recruitment, selection and hiring — a company’s language of intention [MWA Key 5] has been thoroughly discussed, made clear, and held in agreement by all involved. For instance, what values are you hiring for?
[At Managing with Aloha: Choose Values]

Our current theme here on Talking Story [The Alaka‘i Manager as Job Maker] is begging a couple more questions about how you design the job before you can begin to recruit and interview for it — in the language of these intentions above, we can see that selection assumptions were settled first: You assessed the team you already have in place, and you identified strengths you need, strengths which need to be doubled up, or which may be missing altogether based on the good working order of your healthy workplace compass.

Strength management gives twice the muscle power to Job Creation! Photo by Victor Bezrukov on Flickr

Strong Job Creation: Identify, Capture, Employ

Therefore, job creation is heavily influenced by designing a job for strengths management:

— a Ho‘ohana-worthy job identifies the strengths which ensure a business will be successful

— a Ho‘ohana-worthy job captures those strengths in the personification of a working human being (your systems and processes exist to support that person’s initiative and creativity)

— a Ho‘ohana-worthy job employs those strengths by giving that person chosen the opportunity to apply his or her strengths to specific activities each and every day

In regard to those specific activities, remember that:
Feeling Good Isn’t the Same as Feeling Strong

Here is our goal for the coming week: Start with what you have, and improve it.

Before you even think about bringing another person into your company, get your workplace to be healthier for those already in it. Consider the jobs already ‘in play’ everyday with you, and analyze them one by one — do so with the people who hold them, and get their first-hand perspective: Are the jobs you now have all Ho‘ohana worthy? (That last link will serve to help you review the Aloha connection as well.)

These will be strength-building conversations: End every conversation you have with an agreement between you on what shift will be made in the right direction — in the Ho‘ohana North Star direction of your healthy workplace compass (wherein an ‘Ohana in business is mission-driven, values-centered, and customer-focused).

And you know what? I bet these will be conversations you sincerely enjoy.

A Teaching with Aloha Bonus from
Workplace Aloha School and Managing with Aloha University:

Another connection for the serious Managing with Aloha learner now in Talking Story self-study: Are you a manager or leader?

I am leaving this post up through-out this week, for I want to encourage you to work on this before I distract you with more writing on this theme! Review the MWA keys within this post, take the links I have carefully placed for you, and let’s talk story about it as you need to.

Relating this to our 2010 Take 5 Game-changing, No. 2:

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

  • Your Leadership 30 is this design work on strengths:
    It creates energy.
    It’s you as leader working on your leadership initiatives. It’s you as leader knowing who you need on your team, and why their work collaborates so well with your own.
  • Your Management 70 is the operational execution of your resulting job design, and the coaching which goes with it as you continue to forge a boss-employee relationship with someone:
    It channels energy.
    It’s you as manager having those conversations I suggest, and working with your team on the agreements that will shift work as your healthy workplace compass directs you.

Moving forward, can you maintain this 30/70 mix as an on-going Job Creation strategy in your Strong Week Plan as an Alaka‘i Manager? What will it take?

Can you see how going forward, you will create more energy for you, and your other initiatives, as your people work on the RIGHT things? The more you achieve Ho‘ohana-worthiness, the more your people truly become your business partners, working ON your business with you, and not just IN it.

Rapid Fire Learning | Take 5 from March, 2010

Aloha Ho‘ohana Community and learners one and all!

If you are newly joining us, Rapid Fire Learning is another way we “take 5” here at  Talking Story: It happens on the last weekend of the month. Jump right in, or dip your toes first by catching up with a fuller explanation of what it’s all about here:
Rapid Fire Learning Returns to Talking Story.
[Also… You may have seen that post before, but did you catch all the comments there? Good stuff shared by Ulla, Dwayne, Phil, Káren, Steve and Joanna— mahalo to all!]

RFL, Take 5, and Ho‘ohana

We’ve been getting intimately familiar with the value of Ho‘ohana recently, so let’s kick off RFL and our March Take 5 that way: Our Ho‘ohana with this monthly process (our intention and purpose) is to reflect on our learning as a way of retaining it, to share it with each other, and to celebrate it within our sense of place here within our Talking Story community.

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 Malaki ~ March, 2010:

This month I scribbled my 5 top-of-mind learning sentences out on paper first, and I noticed that they also captured 5 different kinds of learning for me. So I rewrote them to share with you that way:

  1. Learning merits from cooking.
    I continue to collect my lessons-learned from bidding Aloha to Joyful Jubilant Learning this past January, and thus I’m noticing how a couple of half-baked take-aways have become ‘fully risen and well browned’ given the simple merit of allowing some time to pass.
  2. Learning requires the quiet of solitude.
    I find that the more I can keep some time to myself for reflection, the more I think about what I have learned, exploring it more fully, and questioning how I will hold onto it by actually using it well.
  3. Learning requires the noise of company.
    That said, there has been certain learning this past month I was so grateful to have company for, in that people gave it better context and more meaning. I may prefer the quiet for making my final decisions, but I really depend on the musical noises first for doubly good input!
  4. Learning fills open spaces with earlier decisions.
    When you devote yourself to learning something specific, you’re never bored, for calendar openings are opportunities to chip away at it a bit more. Your decision with how to spend available time has already been made and precious minutes are never wasted: They are devoted.
  5. Learning sizzles in action.
    Learning by DOING is the richest learning of all, for it’s the way I will surely go “all in.” Think about that: We learn ‘about’ things constantly, becoming aware of them, but we are more selective in what we actually try to do. And when we do it, wow!
For example, with No.5 above this month: I decided to do the publishing formatting for Managing with Aloha on Kindle myself rather than delegate it, so I could learn ALL about it, and open up my thinking with future publishing possibilities.

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

You can do your Take 5 in Learning with ‘Ike loa (the Hawaiian value of knowledge seeking) however you wish: No Rules, keep it useful for YOU.

Or you can share in mine! These are my top 5 take-aways particular to 5 of the Talking Story conversations we have had in recent weeks. They are that cooking I mentioned in my RFL No.1 above, specific to  Talking Story. Did your ‘rising and browning’ of our conversation starters turn out differently? I would love to hear about it!

  1. From: Are you a Linchpin, a Genius, or an Alaka‘i Manager?
    This was one of those write-it-out to think-it-out posts for me, and I took the added step of reaching out to someone privately to help me make sense of it. Mahalo Paul, for your generously honest help: Your coaching has been priceless.
  2. From: 2010 Mālama for Say Leadership Coaching
    Another posting in which I shared my inner work processes with you, this time particular to Say Leadership Coaching and some publishing/ web presence statements there. BIG learning in designing for my customers, receptive to their needs and identifying how I best serve them. Mahalo to Karen Swim for her truly stellar advice!
  3. From: When Learning Gets Overwhelming
    No doubt about it: In this stretch of time since our February RFLS/Take 5, this is the Talking Story post I have returned to most. It stimulated the vast majority of my private emails from you too. Mahalo to Ulla, Joanna, and Gwyn for the the comments openly shared there for everyone.
  4. From: Ho‘ohana Stretch Marks
    I write about, speak about, and coach Ho‘ohana so much: I daresay I use the word much more than Aloha! Can it possibly stretch any larger? Oh yes it can.
  5. From: We buy, and work, with our hearts
    This one was about our emotional capacity being better expressed through experience design, and I am self-coaching myself to keep it close. It puts my senses on high alert: I feel it articulates our true opportunity with the job creation topic we are now working on together here. Tough times can make us too pragmatic, and we dismiss our emotions as not as ‘sensible’ or as luxuries we can’t make allowances for until the basics are met. Big mistake, for our emotional intelligence is what needs to get more ‘basic’ in how we embrace it!
When the winter keeps chilling the air we turn to comfort soups. So good! Yes indeed, cooking time makes a big difference.

Your turn! RFL-ing and Taking 5 is way easier than you think

This month-end weekend posting will always look like a long one, appearing to be very ambitious, but it really isn’t —it’s a recap of my keepers, and so it actually gets written very quickly. Once you get into your own RFL/ Take 5 habit you will begin to experience that too. As with most learning, you’ll be slower in the beginning, but you pick up speed!

So jump in. What have you learned during this month of March?
We learn so much from each other when we share it!

Which reminds me: I MUST add another Mahalo to Lodewijk van den Broek. Have you noticed how my post titles will now appear in the subject line of your email subscription? It was Lodewijk who taught me how to get that done for us :)

We Ho‘ohana together, Kākou,

Ho‘ohana: Redefine ‘work’ to make it yours

Quick catch-up: We’ve been talking story about job creation, about how Alaka‘i Managers can affect jobs, and about gainful employment:

Important question: Why is the value of Ho‘ohana the qualifier?

There are two reasons; two big ways to expand our learning about the possibilities before us.

First, Ho‘ohana is about work. I believe that our tackling JOBS, whether to sustain, reinvent, or newly create them, is best done with an approach which explores, which questions, and which celebrates WORK.

Second, Ho‘ohana calls for personal ownership in our actions. When we think about Ho‘ohana it helps us redefine the word ‘work’ in a personal, “what’s in it for me?” way — a good, self-motivational way. We give ourselves a gift that we can soon give to others in how we serve people as Alaka‘i Managers.
[Archive Aloha: “What’s in it for me?” is a Self-Leadership Question]

Walking our own talk is always a great place to start: We need to be “Job One” in our efforts. Thereafter, you can take the approach of enhanced value alignment [MWA Key 3] when you, as the Alaka‘i Manager, bring Ho‘ohana to your company. You could choose ‘Imi ola to flesh it out with vision and mission. You could choose Mālama to weave in the initiatives of ‘Ohana and community stewardship. There is likely a connective possibility with each and every value held dear by your own organization.

HANA: The Hawaiian word for work
HO‘O: To make something happen

Ho‘ohana means to make work happen in an intentional manner, and thus, it’s a highly desirable way: It’s work that you value. Why would you work on something you don’t want?

Took this photo at the Mauna Lani resort, and I like thinking about Ho‘ohana this way: It gets you to stop, and assess which direction your work has you headed toward. Are you working to get to where you you want to go?

And why hana alone? If you’re going to devote your time and energy to the work which is job worthy, or career worthy, or legacy worthy, you can be sure there will be good times and rough times blended in that effort: that’s just how worthy achievements usually happen. To just hana is a drag, it’s that 4-letter ‘hard’—ness that working can get saddled with.

On the other hand, to ho‘o and make something happen becomes new, exploratory and creative. Ho‘ohana is thrilling. It taps into personal purpose, personal passion, and personal intention.

If we are in a time where so many are finding they must newly create the work they are doing —and we ARE in that kind of time!— let’s get it to be the work of Ho‘ohana intention. Why bother with anything else?

Aloha makes it even more personal

If I were asked to choose one and only one value that is representative of the entire Managing with Aloha mission it would be Ho‘ohana, second only to the value of Aloha itself.

MY MANA‘O (what I believe to be true) ~ ~ ~

ALOHA is about you living with authenticity in a world populated with other people. We human beings were not meant to live alone, we thrive in each other’s company. Aloha celebrates everything that makes you YOU, while you take part in our shared humanity. Aloha moves you when you give in to your in-Aloha spirit: It moves you to live from the inside out.

HO‘OHANA is about you making your living in our world in the way that gives you daily direction and intention. Ho‘ohana leaves you with a feeling of personal fulfilment every day —not just when you have accomplished large goals. You make deliberate choices happen in small ways daily that add up to bigger achievements over time while adding constant work quality to your life.

Thus Ho‘ohana is not about career in the conventional way we’ve thought about it. Ho‘ohana is about best-possible livelihood. Working with Aloha becomes Living with Aloha too.

When a person chooses to incorporate the values of Aloha and Ho‘ohana into their working lives, there is no more “going through the motions,” no more “paying my dues” or “earning my stripes,” and no more “biding my time.” There is only deliberate, intentional, purposeful work, where all your attentions are focused on that work, whatever it may be. Your ATTENTION gets connected to your work INTENTION —even if it is work which is currently temporary for you.

You no longer call it work. You call it “my Ho‘ohana.”

Would you say that about your work now?

Would you call it “my Ho‘ohana” and have those words capture your essence of intentional work well done?

If you have any hesitation at all, asking yourself, Why not? and identifying any gaps is probably a great place to start. Begin to take notice of where your attentions might be getting pulled to instead.

Redefine the word ‘work’ and make it yours. Own it in a personal way. You can give yourself no greater gift, for you are likely to be working in some shape or form for a very long time to come. To Ho‘ohana your work is to enjoy it, and then arrive at that glorious day —one of many more to come— when you celebrate it.

The Energy of Gainful Employment

Leadership gets defined in all sorts of different ways: I’m sure authors and bloggers will never tire of writing about it. Neither will I.

What makes all that writing useful to you, the Alaka‘i Manager reading it, is discovering a definition you love, loving it enough to weave it into your own leadership practice. You’ll find a way to then attach your chosen definition to other ideas and concepts: It becomes your constancy amid change, functioning like an anchor which allows ships to move with rising tides while keeping that ship within a safe harbor’s docking.

From Ideas and Vision, to Energy

In the year or two after I’d published Managing with Aloha, we would mostly talk about leadership as connected to an idea or a vision. Leading then, was about giving that idea or vision more movement somehow, and helping it gain momentum and greater following. It was about bringing an idea to fruition.

In the last year or so, we’ve spoken of both leading and managing connected to a different definition, that of ENERGY. I think of this shift as another drilling down deeper —to what supports our pursuit of great ideas and meaningful visions. You can have a stellar idea, but it will sit waiting in your brain, tucked away in your journal or buried within your priority list if you haven’t the energy to give it —or the pressing need.

  • LEADERSHIP is the workplace discipline of creating energy connected to a meaningful vision.
  • MANAGEMENT is the workplace discipline of channeling that mission-critical energy into optimal production and usefulness.

Great managers cannot channel good energies they are unaware of, or energy which doesn’t exist.

“Workplace energy functions the same way batteries do for your favorite electronics: You can have the most high tech camera in the world, resplendent with amazing features, and it will do absolutely nothing if its battery is dead.”
3 Ways Managers Create Energetic Workplaces

Same goes for people. We are resplendent with amazing features as well, and our capacity for exceptional achievement is so abundant. However we need a power source we can plug into; we need our energy. No surprise that we value a sense of urgency in each other, for when we’re all charged up it seems there’s very little we can’t do.

Therefore that’s how Alaka‘i Managers serve best: They help their people continually tap into their human energies.

Inspiration and Battery Packs

What we’ve learned in our current economic climate, is that gainful employment is our battery pack. It’s the tangible counterpart to our intangible (and more conventional) thoughts about human energy coming from inspiration.

It’s not often that the intangible is what we’ve grown accustomed to holding onto, yet oddly, we’ve done just that with inspiration. It’s a fuzzy concept we’re always hoping for, even when our rational minds tell us that “wishing and hoping is not a great strategy.”

Don’t get me wrong. In no way am I knocking inspiration; it’s something we will always seek and value greatly. However we think of inspiration as rare, elusive and fleeting. We don’t count on it —and we don’t bank on it. We bank on our gainful employment instead.

Gainful employment is our cake: It’s our nourishing energy.

Inspiration is our icing: It’s our motivational energy.

Simply defined, gainful employment is the work we do for income. And income drives our livelihood and our purchasing power. With a few exceptions, we are no longer creatures who live off the land; like it or not, we finance our lives.

Management, whether good or bad, affects jobs and gainful employment. The Managing with Aloha partnering of management and leadership directly affects both the quality and the availability of gainful employment for you, for me, and for our children. It’s important, because gainful employment delivers physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual well-being to those who have it. It finances the exploration of our ability and capacity. It strengthens families and builds flourishing communities, and when it’s missing, that lack of gainful employment can destroy them.

Gainful employment is personal, as personal as it gets.

Professional is desirable, but lofty. Personal is where it always matters most to us, doesn’t it.

Footnote: This posting was a promised follow-up to this:

We’re at our starting block: Today is Ho‘ohana theme day 1 for us here on Talking Story, and our overall goal is collaborative, creative conversation: How we can affect Ho‘ohana job creation for gainful employment?

We’ll talk about how we define “gainful employment” soon.

The Alaka‘i Manager as Job Maker

Photo Credits: Exploring an idea by JJay, and Feeling positive  by Snacktime2007,  both on Flickr