We buy, and work, with our hearts

“Human beings move when their emotions are moved.”
—Robin Sharma

As we’ve said, that simple act of MOVING can be powerful:

Our big ideas don’t have to change the world.
They just have to move it along.
What Your Big Ideas Do Best: Read more there, on why that is both reasonable and empowering.

That Sharma quote continues with:

“The competition in today’s marketplace is not for customers’ money. Not at all. The only real competition is for their emotions. Touch the hearts of the people you serve and they’ll be back for more. Engage their emotions and they’ll become your raving fans. Miss this insight and you just might lose your business.”

We don’t talk about this experience of engaging emotions as much as we should, both the customer’s experience and our own experience in serving them well. When we achieve it there’s a sigh of relief. There might even be an expression of hau‘oli‘oli (joy and delight). But we don’t ho‘omau with it, causing it to be long lasting. (Ho‘omau is the value of persistence.)

I wonder if we don’t talk more about that experience because we feel it is emotional, and we feel a loss at dealing with emotions. Ho‘ohana job creation MUST include an increased workplace comfort with emotional experience: It’s natural to human expression, and a win-win for the business.

Laughter is an emotion. It’s a good one to start a workplace study with, for you won’t get any objections when you look for more of it!

Where to start —immediately

Skill in experience design must be a huge component in assessing the quality of our renewed efforts at  Ho‘ohana job creation. I’d go so far as to call it one of your new core job competencies.

Here are three quick thoughts: Start with where you are, for I am sure you presently have this capacity.

  1. You can start with  workplace readiness, and look for those ways you may be putting a damper on emotions unintentionally. Before you look at the people component, warm up your efforts with taking a fresh look at the environment, i.e. your workplace atmosphere and sense of place.
  2. In your language of intention, you have to choose a phrase you are comfortable with which articulates that emotional experience as a clearly defined expectation. Emotional experience must be a more tangible deliverable. Give it to each other, and give it to your customers. Give it to all the people within every partnership you have.
  3. When that emotional experience happens, you have to celebrate wildly, shouting your highly value-articulate phrase from the rooftops, arm pumping and all. No formality is needed: Showing your excitement and saying “thank you!” a lot counts significantly.

You buy, and work with your heart too

This is one of those areas where we Alaka‘i Managers have to set an example bravely and confidently. Our own emotions have to be in play when we create heart-tugging experiences in others; I don’t think there’s any other way to achieve that. Not for us, not for our people.

The good news? Aloha is very, very helpful: For 2010, with Aloha. Displays of emotion become much more comfortable when you consider them the pure, authentic way that we “live from the inside out” ha-in and alo-out, Aloha-rightness.

Photo Credit: Laughter by Puck90 on Flickr

sayalakai_rosasay My mana‘o [The Backstory of this posting]
Each Thursday I write a management posting for Say “Alaka‘i” at Hawai‘i’s newspaper The Honolulu Advertiser. If this is the first you have caught sight of my Say “Alaka‘i” tagline, you can learn more on this Talking Story page: About Say “Alaka‘i”.


  1. says

    Rosa, such a powerful lesson – the experience of engaging emotions. The Sharma quote stopped me in my tracks. We dance around this humanity in our workplaces and businesses. We talk at it, as we discuss “engagement,” “conversations,” and “community” but are we really willing to get to the heart of of what it all means? Engaging is not a shallow effort to sway with fancy buzz words but a willingness to bring your heart to your work with boldness and confidence. I thought of all those I work with in my career practice, disillusioned, and some downright battered by corporate life. I am not sure where we got the idea that business is devoid of humanity but I am committed to shattering that illusion.

    • Rosa Say says

      That is why, dear Karen, you are one of my favorite examples to share, of those who truly manage with Aloha :)


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