How Alaka‘i Managers get work to Make Sense

How about an intention/energy audit today?

Preface-type notes before we go on:
If you’re a regular reader, or you’re working through my new ebook, you should be able to skate through this without taking a single link: This post is meant to be a review for you, for as learners know so well, Review and Repeat helps us retain our learning. The links will help those who are new readers: You should be able to just read through the narrative of this post too, but the links will give you the backstory if you’re interested in learning more.

double exposure 4 by Dan Strange on Flickr

The All-important Role of the Manager

Great managers are the stewards of thriving workplaces. The intention/energy audit is the best way I know of for managers to assess how they are doing with this:

From The Reconstructed Role of the Manager:

3. Mission: Managers get the work to make perfect sense.
—Connect the work to be done with the meaning why.
—Plan to succeed with a viable business model, so people always see realistic possibility.
—Encourage people to work on the enterprise with you, not just within it.

This Mission responsibility within the role of the manager is directly connected to your business model. [From Tuesday: Revamping your Business Model? Enjoy the Study.]

Let’s start by reviewing Energy, and why it matters

In our Take 5 Game-Changing for 2010, this was number 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: Reduce your Leadership to a Part-time Gig in 2010]

Alaka‘i connections…

Two days ago (“leadership Tuesday”), I asked you if your “30: Leading to create the critical resource: Energy” included upping your own leadership energies by revamping your business model with the study of other businesses, and not just your own: “Study Within and Study Outside.”

So being that this is Management Thursday on Say “Alaka‘i” let’s go to “The 70: Managing to channel that resource into the core ‘product’ great managers produce: People who Ho‘ohana.”

Ho‘ohana is also our current value theme, and we can make both connections.

How do your leading-as-verb actions in regard to your business model affect the Ho‘ohana of your people?

My goodness, it affects them in so many ways!

To review Intention, understand the power of Ho‘ohana!

People who Ho‘ohana attach deliberate intention and their personal values to the work they do. What your business model essentially does, is define that work for the organizational culture as a whole: If it could talk (and you CAN imagine it talking to you as a separate person), your business model would be saying one of two things to each person in the organization:

  • “yes! I want you doing the work of your Ho‘ohana with me!”
    or,
  • “we need to reassess our partnership, because your Ho‘ohana intention and my ‘Imi ola mission/vision are not matching up.”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, on “Business Model”

A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value — economic, social, or other forms of value. The process of business model design is part of business strategy. In theory and practice the term business model is used for a broad range of informal and formal descriptions to represent core aspects of a business, including purpose, offerings, strategies, infrastructure, organizational structures, trading practices, and operational processes and policies.

In other words, your business model defines all the work within your systems and processes. Hopefully, it does so in full support of Ho‘ohana, so that all the individually-defined Ho‘ohana intentions of your people blend in the most harmonious, collaborative way, and you achieve Lōkahi, the Hawaiian value of unity — Lōkahi is the epitome of teamwork.

The business model format you use probably won’t go into the nitty-gritty detail of job descriptions (which I’m not a fan of anyway” most job position descriptions give you a ceiling, and not a floor — use Ho‘ohana Statements instead.) However your business model should define your basic “how we get mission-driven work done” statement.

For instance, revamping mine within Say Leadership Coaching will continually define the different ways we choose to deliver coaching, and how we choose not to, for there are a lot of possibilities! We pass our decisions onto our new customers too, so they know what they can expect from us. [At SLC: How we work together.]

But let’s bring this back to your people and business partners; the ones you Ho‘ohana with in your workplace, and go back to this a few sentences back:

“Your business model defines all the work within your systems and processes. Hopefully, it does so in full support of Ho‘ohana, so that all the individually-defined Ho‘ohana intentions of your people blend in the most harmonious, collaborative way, and you achieve Lōkahi, the Hawaiian value of unity — Lōkahi is the epitome of teamwork.”

THAT is “The 70” that the great Alaka‘i Managers work on every single day in getting work to “make sense.”

Managers are the critical link between the business model which defines the business itself, and the people who will make that business model real, by getting it to WORK as it is intended to.

And it’s pretty clear how it’s either all about channeling available energy “into the core ‘product’ great managers produce” or it’s not — there is no bigger drain on human energy than when a person feels they are working long and hard on something that is not of importance; it doesn’t connect to the mission and vision of the company in a clear, and clearly rewarding way.

double exposure by Dan Strange on Flickr

The “audit” part need not be complicated

In fact, the simpler the better, which is why I love this approach, one which invokes the Pareto principle and “law of the vital few” in that it answers the questions both employees and their managers are most interested in:

  • Does the business model of this company value my Ho‘ohana so this is a win-win for us?

If so, my intentions are matching up to where my company needs/wants my attentions to be if we’re both to be successful.

If not, either the business model is hit-and-miss, or I don’t belong here.

  • Are my available energies devoted to the work which is both important, and which makes sense at a very basic level?

If so, I feel good about this, even when the work is hard and takes some time. And when I feel good, I can continue to be my best, and give others my best.

If not, we’re both wasting our time, and something has got to change, for energy shouldn’t be wasted for either of us.

As Alaka‘i Managers you can put your signature on this audit, one you do with and for all your people: It’s most commonly referred to as “your management style.” You know what I call it: The verbs of managing and leading with Aloha.

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sayalakai_rosasayMy 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”. There are some differences in this Talking Story version, most notably that all links will keep you here on this blog.

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Talking Story connections [Learning the 9 Keys of MWA]
If you have now Become an Alaka‘i Manager, you will notice several connections within this posting!