Ka la hiki ola: It’s a brand new day for Managing with Aloha

Aloha friends, I have an exciting announcement to share with you!

We’ve been working on a brand new site platform for ManagingWithAloha.com and you are invited to join us there! Click in to take a look, and select your new subscription preference: RSS or Email, for all my new articles will be posted there.

Why the change?

There are a couple of reasons. Some are due to technology: In recent years ManagingWithAloha.com was primarily used as a purchase page for the book, and as private portal for clients I was working with directly, and Talking Story became the beneficiary of my publicly published writing. Our m.o. at Ho‘ohana Publishing was to spin off my other projects onto separate, dedicated sites of their own (you may recall time we’ve shared on Joyful Jubilant Learning and Teaching with Aloha.)

Platform advances, and progress in my own learning about them (‘Ike loa in action!) enable me to do something I have wanted to do for a very long time now: Consolidate my online efforts into the one place it’s always radiated from, and always will — Managing with Aloha as our philosophical rootstock and fertile ground; our Mālamalama.

The biggest reason I’ve wanted to consolidate AT Managing with Aloha is that it’s my full-time “sensibility” and most passionate work: It’s my Ho‘ohana, that sweet spot I will constantly encourage you to grab for yourself too. When I practice Nānā i ke kumu, and “look to [my] source” I always find MWA there to guide me. Talking Story is there too, but within the much larger whole, for Talking Story is essentially our “Language of We.”

My strategic planning had to catch up with my learning, and I feel it has, thus my excitement! Upcoming plans for ManagingWithAloha.com include bringing back our Value of the Month program (a brand new version!) and Ruzuku Coaching for The Daily 5 Minutes (and other Say Leadership Coaching programs) before the year is over.

Remember An Aloha Business for 2012?

All of this has to do with mine, and my own workplace ‘Ohana in Business:

  • STEP 1: Allow your people to design their own work schedules, both where and when, and how much.
  • STEP 2: Value-align your Customer Service with a value-mapping 12×12.
  • STEP 3: Realign your own Ho‘ohana as an Alaka‘i Manager.

I never ask you to do anything I am not doing myself.

Please update your subscription

Please take a moment to subscribe to Managing with Aloha now; I would be so honored by your decision to remain an active participant of MWA’s Ho‘ohana Community — that’s who you have always been to me here on Talking Story. Managing with Aloha will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2014, and we have already made plans for something momentous to celebrate — all of this is part of the work we’re doing to prepare well and imua; move forward with renewed energies and a compelling vision.

Here are the direct links again: Your choices are RSS (for your preferred Reader) and/or Email (my suggestion for Alaka‘i Managers who print or forward, to share my articles in their ‘Ohana in Business huddles).

You know me, I love the interwebs. However I can very confidently say that this will be the last home-base subscription bounce I ask you to make. ManagingWithAloha.com will be the parent to my business entities, and even to RosaSay.com.

I have much more work to do in populating ManagingWithAloha.com as the single-site Community Resource it will now be, but I’m confident you’ll agree we’ve made a great start in getting our primary Resource Pages in far, far better shape for you there!   The work there is my mission, however YOU are my reason: Your ‘Imi ola (best possible life within Aloha) is our shared vision.

The New Here? page I’ve included would be my first-visit recommendation: It offers defined reading pathways to help familiarize you with my sitemap design.

This site, TalkingStory.org will remain online for an indefinite time so you can find your old favorites should you wish to refer to them. I say “indefinite” because it will eventually be retired as edits of fresher relevance appear at Managing with Aloha going forward.

Mahalo nui loa

Thank you so very much for all the wonderful time we’ve shared here at Talking Story. See you at Managing with Aloha!

Ka lā hiki ola: It’s the dawning of a brand new day.

We ho‘ohana kākou: We work with Aloha together.

With my Aloha,
~ Rosa Say

An update which may interest you as well:

Talking Story is Thriving. It’s What We Do.

Managing with Aloha

The Aloha “of great value” which is February 14th

Preface: I originally posted this on February 14, 2005, my first Valentines Day blogging, and I now reread it each year, for I need reminders as much as anyone else; I too need those gentle helps which keep me growing into a better person. The trace on my digital calendar is linked to this page, and says, “Be good to your family, and read this again – read it EARLY!” for my favorite on the list is the morning rebooting one, which says, “Close your eyes, and wake up all over again – in a great mood.”

We don’t need to buy anything for Valentines Day (sorry retailers, but even you know it’s true)… we need to be a Valentine. As Henry David Thoreau so keenly observed, “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of a human being to elevate their life by conscious endeavor.”

If a flower were a firecracker

Happy Valentines Day!

In my humble opinion, this is a day we take too much for granted, or just let slip by us. I’ve been the guiltiest of us all in this, and I’m trying my best to make up for lost time.

In Hawaii, there is a phrase which you will often hear in songs and chants:

He waiwai nui ke aloha, ‘o ka‘u nō ia e pÅ«lama nei.
Love is of great value, it is what I do cherish.

On this Valentines Day, I’d urge you to think of everyone you love and care for, and not just the one you may be romantically involved with. Those you love, and who love you, don’t need chocolate or flowers from you, they want the simpler things which are very easy for you to give — things that will do wonders for you too, for there’s only one way to pull off the suggestions on this list: You must tap into the goodness of your Aloha Spirit.

Close your eyes, and wake up all over again – in a great mood.
Choose to wear something they gave you for Christmas, or your last birthday. Display that funky gift on your desk.
Don’t rush, be patient. For today, let it be okay to interrupt you, and be interested, be curious and intrigued.
Let them go first.
Let them go last.
Give a sincere compliment about how they look today. Better yet, notice what they do.
Admire something they said, and share a comment which elevates it.
Ask for their advice.
Talk about a good memory you have of another time spent with them. Say thank you for it, again.
Call your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, your son, your daughter, your best friend.
Make a date to spend more time with them next week. Clear your calendar so there will be no way to miss it or forget it.
Do a chore for them when it’s not your turn, but theirs, with no word said to call attention to it.
Keep a promise
you’ve made. Make another one you know is important to them.
Hug them.
Smile at them, laugh with them.
Kiss their cheek. Hold their hand.
Share a dream or secret just with them.
Let them know its okay to be silly, or make a mistake, because you’ll be there for them.
Write a few mushy words of caring somewhere they are sure to see it.
Go home on time. Better yet, get home before they do.
Be completely present and open to possibility. No screens: Skip the idle channel, web, and dial surfing and turn off your phone.
Watch whatever they want to watch, listen to whatever they want to listen to, and stay in the same room with them.
Cook for them, clean for them.
Sing to them.
Read to them and tuck them in.
Do not allow a single negative, unkind or uncaring word to escape your lips.
Give them your permission before they have to ask you for it.
Radiate your joy, and be fun to be around. Be happy because that’s how the people who love you will love seeing you.

Don’t expect anything in return, and enjoy being someone who loves, wanting nothing but the chance to set that example.

“Managing with Aloha” is not enough today: Live with Aloha.

I know it’s a weekday, however I’d guess that the normal intensity you bring to work can wait for tomorrow. If the people you work with think differently, be a leader and consider this: they want someone braver than they are to show them the way; they need your good example. Today is Valentines Day, and it only happens once a year. You have the best excuse today for wearing your heart on your sleeve.

He waiwai nui ke aloha, ‘o ka‘u nō ia e pÅ«lama nei.
Me ke aloha pumehana,

Weeping Bottle BrushFrom 2011:
A Valentine of Aloha ~
Love can be a hard concept to wrap your arms around at work, but respect isn’t.

From 2010:
Valentines Day is Aloha Blooming ~
See the comments: Anne asked, “How do you say Happy Valentines Day in Hawaiian?”

And for ALL of 2012:
An Aloha Business for 2012 ~
Allow the “Aloha attitude” of Valentines Day to forge your commitment to year-long value alignment.

An Aloha Business for 2012

Last post, we talked about an approach for the January overwhelm that can appear this time of year, and our talk story about it slanted toward the personal. Let’s talk about your workplace today.

If you are a business owner, or an Alaka‘i Manager — one with Kuleana (a sense of personal responsibility, and personal accountability) within your circle of influence, whatever its scope, AND you have the Ho‘ohana intention to manage with Aloha — this post is for you.

An Aloha Business for 2012

What will the Aloha business look like and feel like? Why will it be the best kind of business to tackle the coming year’s challenges with the greatest prospects of success? What will it take, so it truly thrives and prospers?

Here are my suggestions for you.

STEP 1: Allow your people to design their own work schedules, both where and when, and how much.

If you’re a manager who maintains control of a schedule, it’s time to let it go. To be frank, you should’ve let it go a long, long time ago. If you have a group who works to obey their assigned time on the clock versus the demands and mission of the business, you still have a ‘staff’ and not a ‘tribe’ who will rally around a common cause with the vibrant energy an Aloha-valued business thrives on.

Even businesses with operating hours can successfully put their work schedules in the hands of their people, and should do so. You replace the schedule the manager has controlled (and refereed, yuck) with an agreement: Allow your emerging tribe to self-organize around necessary coverage first, and then self-direct, filling in the blanks with the rest of the work. Those ‘blanks’ are the opportunities to go above and beyond mere coverage, illustrating for you the work they choose to do because it is most important, either to them, or to your customer, and aren’t those the two groups of people who count most in the workplace equation to begin with?

You’ll be in for a might-be-rocky adjustment at first, but I promise you, the self-sorting, self-directing, tribe-loving work of your people will begin to reveal its treasures. They will surprise you, delight you, and fill you with pride.

If you’re arguing with me in your head with this, insisting that, “well fine, it doesn’t have to be me, but I’ll probably need a lead,” that lead will emerge — your people will elect their most trusted peer. Let it happen and stay out of it, for you have other things to do (read on!)

A related read in the archives, about giving permission: When Managers Say the Right Things. To be an Alaka‘i Manager, work on this deliberately: Speak with those two critical intentions of giving permission and sharing your appreciation.

STEP 2: Value-align your Customer Service with a value-mapping 12×12.

Imagine what it will do for your business — your profits, your cause, your reputation, your standing in the community — if you improve your customer service x12 in 2012! This is how you get there:

Begin a value of the month program which will focus on work-aligning the answers to just one crucial question month after month, a two-fold one: a) What does this value mean to us, and b) How do we share this value with our customer?

Sometimes the answers will have to do with changing what you allow a customer to do or not do: The answers which emerge as the month goes by won’t only be about you and your tribe. That’s good: Get rid of your sacred cows, reinvent and innovate, move forward and get better.

Start with the values which are most important to you, and work your program with the 12th of each month as day 1: Keep that x12 number in mind every way you can, and have this program take you through next year’s holidays to January 11th, 2013. For instance:

January 12-February 11: Ho‘okipa, the value of service in generosity.
February 12-March 11: Mālama, the value of caring, compassion, and stewardship.
March 12-April 11: Kākou, the value of communication, and inclusivity.
April 12-May 11: Lōkahi, the value of teamwork, cooperation and collaboration.
And so on.

What you will begin to discover — and it will surprise you how quickly this happens — is that your self-directed tribe will apply this value alignment to everything else too: That’s the magic of value immersion. You, as Alaka‘i Manager, take the lead with inspiring the charge for the customer, because they won’t always speak for themselves with the same “me too!” urgency that your tribe will. In fact, think about bringing favorite repeat customers into the program as well: Ask them to be your mentor of the month!

STEP 3: Realign your own Ho‘ohana as an Alaka‘i Manager.

If you tackle my first two suggestions with full commitment, you will be able to redesign your own day-to-day work as a manager — and as an emerging leader — because of the natural replacement of tasks that happens for you.

It won’t all be peaches and cream at first, for you have to get through the crucible of change that leads to the good stuff. For instance, you may discover that some people leave the tribe (or are forced out) because their comfort zones erode and they can’t evade the radar any longer — ultimately a good thing. Taking care of your tribe will always be Job One of the Alaka‘i Manager, but you are progressing magnificently, and growing as your people grow in their own self-direction. Keep your eye on the prize!

Eventually, there will be two game changers you can concentrate on from now on, because you have brought them into the realm of your “adjacent possible” (see footnote):

  1. The development of your people: How can you mentor their growth? Start here: Are you doing the Daily Five Minutes yet? then review this: Annual Appraisals, and then key in to ‘Ike loa, the value of lifelong learning (Review chapter 11 in Managing with Aloha.)
  2. Your business model: Re-sort out the financial common sense and innovative sense of your business model — compensation, profit-sharing, reinvestment, community philanthropy, all of it. Become the leader you haven’t had the time to become up to now, for that time is here.

I know you can do this, for you are an Alaka‘i Manager.

I won’t be posting again until January 12th or later, so you have the time to plan this, have your group meetings necessary, invite customer mentors and get started. Do write me if you have a question, or encounter a speed bump and we’ll talk story about it.

We ho‘ohana kākou, and always with Aloha!

… if you ache for something fresh to read between now and my next posting, remember that you can always click over to my Tumblr, Ho‘ohana Aloha, and see what finds are getting added there.

Footnote: “Adjacent possible” is an environmental condition I learned about in Steven Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. “The phrase captures both the limits and the creative potential of change and innovation… the adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself” — if you, as manager, are willing to take that leap into a better future, bringing your workplace with you.


Are you just catching up with our Ho‘ohana Community now? Here are links for our most recent talk stories this week:
January 1: What do you know to be sure? Hō‘imi ola.

Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou — Happy New Year!
I sincerely hope that 2011 ended with ma‘alahi joy for you (contentment), as it did for me. I am flush with the lush generosity of Mahalo (an elemental gratitude) as I sit and write this for you. Good endings help us create good beginnings…

January 2: Value Verbing: Theme 2012 with your Aloha Spirit

In my Makahiki letter, I’d said that I love this time of year because it is Ka lā hiki ola (the dawning of a new day) at its most pervasive moment: We human beings collaborate in self-care, and in our Ho‘ohana intentions. The whole world seems to be in sync, as we collectively look back to assess what we’ve come to know. We corral our confidences and our strengths, and then we look forward, expectantly, and with hopeful optimism knowing those confidences and strengths are packable and adjustable: They’ll remain with us, and they’ll remain useful.
What’s not to love? In a word, the overwhelm.

Written for January of 2010, and a good read to review: The ALOHA Point of View

Purchase Managing with Aloha at Amazon.com in hardcover, or in the Kindle Store.

Fridays with the Alaka‘i Nalu

Preface: I have thought about the Alaka‘i Nalu quite a bit this week as we’ve talked story about what it means to “Nalu it” [When Managers Say the Right Things] for if there ever was a group of people who taught this manager to “go with the flow” it was them! The story which follows was originally shared on ManagingWithAloha.com within the first year my book was published, for this very special group of Hawaiian watermen and women had starred in a few of my chapter stories, and many readers had asked me to share more about them. My Fridays at the Hualalai Resort with the Alaka‘i Nalu have come back to mind for me with all the warmth and joy our best memories hold within them — how could they not turn out that way, when you work with people who live their lives with Aloha? So here once more, is,

Fridays with the Alaka‘i Nalu

Every Friday my alarm went off at 4:30am. After a few weeks, my body’s rhythm adjusted, and I could naturally wake up just 5 or 10 minutes before the buzzer sounded, clicking it off before it woke my husband and children too.

My Friday mornings were for Hui Wa‘a, a weekly paddling program our resort did for residents and guests, so they could get a beginner’s taste of what it’s like to be part of a traditional Hawaiian canoe club. The paddle started at 7:30am, and so by 5:30am I’d meet my Alaka‘i Nalu to get their read on the morning’s surf conditions. As they stood on the beach and watched the wave sets come in, sensing the mood of wind and water in intuitively trained habit, I waited for the rising sun to light their faces. They read what the morning would be like in their way, and I read it in mine.

An Alaka‘i (spoken as noun) is a guide or leader. Nalu is the word for waves or surf. The Alaka‘i Nalu were my watermen (and women), my leaders of the waves, and guides in the surf. I was their manager, and they my staff, and never would I think of going into the ocean’s arms without them. Neither would I want any of my guests to. When the ocean called, the Alaka‘i Nalu listened, and they became her appointed teachers and coaches. The rest of us were their students. They would teach us: Nānā i ke kumu, “Look to the source” and the ocean was their source. She was their everything, their inspiration. As their manager I did only one thing: I brought both groups together, teachers and students. I wouldn’t have it any other way, for I trusted my Alaka‘i Nalu completely, and I myself would never be one.

As usual, we’d start our Hui Wa‘a paddle with a briefing we called our ‘ōlelo. Guests were taught about the canoe and how best to paddle her. They were always reminded to respect the ocean, and we would offer a pule, a short prayer to keep us safe in her arms during our paddle. Then, being sure everyone had tabis to protect their feet on our rock strewn beach, we’d prepare to launch the canoe.

On this particular morning, I watched Ikaika’s eyes settle on a teenage girl during our ‘ōlelo. In the day’s group were several return guests, anxious to skip the preliminaries and add an extra ten minutes stolen time to the paddle. However the girl was new, a first-timer, and Ikaika carefully watched her for any sign of nervousness or apprehension. I didn’t see these things in her, instead recognizing the almost haughty I-don’t-care attitude I’d seen dozens of times in a teenager’s demeanor, and I let my own attention return to the other guests.

However Ikaika knew better. He was assigned to be a steersman that morning (the steersman would be the captain of each Hui Wa‘a, the single authority we all deferred to), and in making his canoe assignments, he sat the girl in seat 5, just in front of him. Ahead of her, in seat 4 he put Aaron, the Alaka‘i Nalu who normally would have been the stroker (the pacesetter) in seat 1. His decision thrilled another return paddler who was given the privilege of stroking the canoe. The girl’s parents were put in Na Maka Eleu, a different canoe. I wondered why Ikaika chose to split them up, but I respected his decision and said nothing.

The sea was calm, glassy and welcoming. It was a perfect morning for a paddle, and conditions couldn’t have been better. As we ventured beyond the protective bay of Uluweuweu, the soft creamy blue of the water suddenly changed to a brilliantly intense marine color: deep beneath us, the ocean floor dropped away at the shelf. Skipping off the water’s surface, the breeze picked up a slight chill, and rolled gentle surges beneath us. Just as suddenly, the girl panicked and bolted up in the canoe in desperate fear, looking for a way out.

Ikaika had kept his canoe, one of four that morning, in the back of our hui. Paddling ahead of him, the rest of us never saw what happened. I’m told that the other three guests in Ikaika’s canoe sensed a fleeting change in their rhythm, but eyes ahead, kept paddling. By the time we’d all come together again on the beach, the paddle over, all we saw was a girl transformed, with exuberant joy on her face, the joy one sees when their child first learns to walk, or comes home from school to tell you they made starter on their soccer team. In the weeks which followed, the girl and her parents would become our self-appointed Hui Wa‘a ambassadors.

What happened?

Aloha and Mālama (the value of caring, compassion, and stewardship) was in that canoe that morning. Aloha was in Ikaika. And Ikaika was bound and determined to share it, in his mālama, his care for another who had come to Hawai‘i hoping and dreaming she might find it. And thankfully, because of the Aloha and respect which I had for Ikaika, I didn’t get in the way of it happening, despite all the good intentions most managers have with safety, liability, and just plain needing to know everything themselves so they can control it.

In normal workplace talk, that last paragraph may read a bit differently: “There were talented paddlers in the canoe that morning. They had been trained well. They had a job to do, and they did it, making sure their guests were safe.”

All of that was in place, but mostly, it was Aloha. It was just another story of how Aloha makes a difference in people’s lives and in their work, and it happens in our islands every day. It was another story of how the unique character of Hawai‘i, our Hawai‘i, our home, is shared in someone’s workplace all the time when that someone loves the work they do, and understands work brings meaning to life. Life brings meaning to work. The work we do is personal; that’s just the way it is.

We are currently living in an age where the need for reinventing work has never been more pronounced. We all want to bring meaning to what we do, and in our world we have the many blessings of paradise to inspire us; Aloha is not reserved for Hawai‘i alone. There are more stories to be shared, to be learned from, and to be multiplied. Our stories, all stories of Aloha.

I hope you will tell us yours.

Postscript: This was a true story in the worklife of Ikaika Kanuha, one of the Alaka‘i Nalu who are the watermen of the Hualalai Resort at historic Ka‘Å«pulehÅ«. Ikaika’s dream, is that the wonder of Hawai‘i’s ocean environment is respected and loved by all who live in and visit our islands. He has chosen to make his work his life. He understands he can make a difference, and dreams can become one’s legacy.

North KÅ«ki‘o Beach
North KÅ«ki‘o Beach, at the shoreline of Uluweuweu Bay
Looking toward the Hualalai Resort at low tide, gentle low surf, 6:45am.

Aloha! Just joining us?

Talking Story is the blog home of those who are learning to be Alaka‘i Managers — those committed to managing and leading with Aloha. Read a preview of the book which inspired this movement, and visit our About Page.

Talking Story with Rosa Say