The Alaka‘i Manager as Job Maker

My Aloha to all of you on this beautiful Malaki (March) day.

I’m ready for our next value theme on Talking Story: How about you?

I don’t want to bury the lead in the transitional paragraphs which follow, so here it is: The value we next explore in our 2010 context will be Ho‘ohana, the value of worthwhile work.

Here’s why:

We need Ho‘ohana help for the “job stimulus”

“To Ho‘ohana is to work with intent, and with purpose. Managers do this for themselves, and they do this for those they manage: When managers pair employees with meaningful and worthwhile work that is satisfying for them, they will find these employees work with true intentions in sync with the goals of the business. Be one of those managers.”
Managing with Aloha, page 30

Say “job stimulus” and smiles disappear. You’re likely to hear a lot of groaning, or see people shake their heads despondently. We know we need jobs, and we’re sensing that public sector efforts with stimulating jobs isn’t quite cutting it.  The job stimulus we’re now financing as taxpayers (who are steadily sinking deeper in debt), feels like a flimsy bandage on a painful wound needing sutures.

We’ve got to go farther than “stimulating” jobs: We’ve got to create new ones, and better ones. We’ve got to reshape many others which now barely escape the chopping block with furlough day trimming. We know of jobs which may have all their days numbered soon, for they’re next in the downsizing queue if revenue streams don’t somehow start raining from heaven.

Jobs in 2010 must be Ho‘ohana jobs. Ho‘ohana jobs must be gainful employment.

This is NOT too big for us to tackle

Know that as an Alaka‘i Manager you have several advantages. If anyone is equipped to handle our job problem, it’s you. As the Managing with Aloha quote above reminds us, the Alaka‘i Manager isn’t just any “job maker” but a Ho‘ohana shaper too!

Here’s a quick review of what we’ve already done these past few weeks.

We’ve spent some time with the value of Aloha, and we’ll keep it close by, for we’d said, “Let’s make 2010 the Year of Aloha” knowing that “the only way you get Aloha, is by being obsessive about being the first one to give it.”
(Post reference: For 2010, with Aloha)

It felt great blending in Hō‘imi as our idea-mover, and The 3 Secrets of Being Positive as our Aloha strengthener to equip ourselves with a positive expectancy early in the year. We even fit in some work on our trusted systems, replacing “productivity” with “stress-free performance” in our deliberate, talk-it-to-walk-it Language of Intention [MWA Key 5].

So I’m feeling confident enough to forge ahead with what I knew would be the toughie in our Take 5 strategy for 2010: Jobs.

I honestly have no idea where this will take us over the next few weeks, but I know that we, as Alaka‘i Managers in our own Ho‘ohana intention, have to tackle it. And you know what else? The more I think about it, the more I’m getting pretty excited about the challenge, for just think of what we can deliver!

Why us? Because we care, and because we want to lead the effort

We’re Alaka‘i Managers, and we deliver better health to workplace cultures. Jobs are our puzzle pieces; they’re the artful brush strokes in the picture we frame. Jobs are also the way we grow people, helping them make room in their lives to explore more of their Palena ‘ole capacity [MWA Key 9].

Manage x 70: Remember too, that Alaka‘i Managers also have a powerful ally in their Ha‘aha‘a humility: We see with our ears. We realize that we don’t have all the answers. We don’t need to, and besides, it’s often better when we don’t, for we allow for the collaboration of creative synergy. Our job is to find the best possible answers within the people we manage and lead. We explore, we prod, we question. We encourage, we support, we facilitate. We coach, we mentor, and we grow people into better jobs.

Lead x 30: In doing this, if you have a great idea, one you know will add to our collective energies, give voice to your idea —share it with us, knowing of all the fertile ground represented in the eager listening of our Ho‘ohana Community.

If I’m tracking days correctly, we’re jumping into our new theme 5 days before the official start of Spring. Yesterday, my daughter sent me photos of the cherry blossoms bursting into bloom near her Nevada home, and it felt like perfect timing, being able to share them with you too!

Spring as our Starting Block

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. For now, here’s what we’d said in our Take 5 Strategy for the year (it was number 3):

Jobs Reinvented and Delivered for Best Livelihood

Alaka‘i 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.) Alaka‘i 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 Alaka‘i 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.

Excerpted from our 2010 strategy post: Take 5 in 2010: A Game-Changing Ho‘ohana

Our Constant: A values-based approach

In the United States, the $862 billion stimulus package is formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: That’s an immense amount of money representing the cost of our ineffectiveness!  I really think a big reason the job stimulus isn’t working as we’d hoped, is because we can’t just throw money after the problem: We’re ignoring that lesson-learned about throwing good money after bad. We’ve also learned that wealth is a value, and we’d best keep money, and business revenues, framed in that context.

Thus our approach here will be with the Healthy Workplace Compass which has served us well, and served us better, where we will:
—Be Mission-driven, knowing what we seek to achieve (‘Imi ola)
—Be Values-centered, knowing why it is important to us (Nānā i ke kumu)
—Be Customer-focused, knowing who we serve (Mālama)
—Strive for the “North Star” and guiding light of Ho‘ohana, knowing that is how we grow in our learning

I’m so looking forward to our conversations to come!

Any initial thoughts?
Where do you anticipate our conversation on Ho‘ohana Job Creation can take us?
What connection would you like to explore, feeling it will be helpful to the community, and highly relevant and useful to you?

Thank you for reading today, and please share the news of our theme challenge and Ho‘ohana undertaking. This is vitally important, and we can always make room for others, welcoming new voices to help us in the effort: Invite someone you work with to join our Ho‘ohana Community today.

We Ho‘ohana Kākou, together. Let’s talk story!

Rosa Say


If you’re a fairly new subscriber to Talking Story, here’s a bit more on what’s happening. I made some substantial shifts in my own Ho‘ohana for 2010, shifts which opened up room for us to have a strategic plan here on Talking Story this year: We call it our Take 5, and we “work on it” by way of our conversations, both on and off the blog.

My blogging is somewhat flexible in its content within the value themes I’m setting for us, as we’ll nalu it (go with the flow) but it’s not random, and I’m not publishing on a set schedule simply to publish, but when we’re ready to move on. Everything is connected in some way to what binds us as a Ho‘ohana Community, and that is our learning to be practitioners of Managing with Aloha, keeping it relevant and useful for today, with the book as a resource. Talking Story presents the self-study course I have promised to give you here: Are you a manager or a leader?