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

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.

From In The Trenches, to #Occupy The World

The headline of our local paper’s Sunday edition was, “#Occupy The World: Wall Street Protests Go Global in Asia, Africa, Europe” and so the bold printing, coupled with the fact that he got a Sabbath’s leisurely day off, triggered the first time my working-in-the-trenches husband brought it up and into our conversation in any great detail. He was aware of the Occupy Wall Street protesting, but very off-handedly up to now, for he is more luddite in his habits, and prefers to keep it that way (he thought the # hashtag mark was a typo :).

However current affairs are hard to ignore when tipping points happen — the “hundreds of thousands” participating in the grassroots Occupy Wall Street protest is quite a movement. We both hope it can remain peaceful as passions continue to flare.

“In the trenches” has long meant “hands on”

Our conversation got me thinking about those I think of as “my peeps” too — in the trenches managers who do try to be aware of everything going on with “the big picture” and in “a global world” today, but who are much closer to having my husband’s habits than having mine. They are managers who I wish I could talk to on blogs, on Twitter, or on LinkedIn, but they aren’t there. They are managers who I wish I could reblog and tag on Tumblr as a better collection of our voices, but they aren’t there either. They are in their trenches, working by their Ho‘ohana, and managing with Aloha too, but in a more hands-on way than I do as a manager/ writer/ coach/ having the luxury of more knowledge work than physical work, and choosing virtual teams and tribes in addition to my geographic ones.

In reality though, ‘luxury’ is the wrong word. Each kind of work has its own pros and cons, its own pressure-cooker times, its own slow-down times. Each kind of work can be in the trenches. We are all Working in today’s ‘Knowledge Economy.’

Work happens wherever you are, and whenever you decide you’ll do it.

Work happens why you want it to, and why you need it to.

Work also happens in whatever you feel is your logical progression for it to happen. More often than not, it’s according to a personal hierarchy of needs (like Maslow articulated for us), but that’s my convenient point of reference, and my habitual one, and others may not think about it at all. They stay in their trenches, and they ho‘omau; they persist.

They concentrate on the work at hand. It’s the work of their own hand, and they concentrate on making it good. On making it both worthy (to the world) and worthwhile (to them).

You are the leader of your work

This is one of the up sides to Occupy Wall Street being a leaderless movement: Every single participant has a much greater freedom with defining what the best-case scenario of good followership is for them. Every single participant can be unencumbered, and can make a difference of some kind, so this very pervasive movement tips from frustration to worthy action.

When we consider work in larger context, it becomes easier to see how even protesting — the best single word I can think of for the Occupy Wall Street movement — can be a person’s chosen work too. I’d bet that every person who has chosen to letter a sign, march in one of the protests, or otherwise participate in one of the Occupy encampments, would say without hesitation, “I’m working in the trenches too.”

So when I think about all those “hundreds of thousands” participating in an ‘Occupy’ protest of some kind, my wish for them is the value alignment of Ho‘ohana I hope the work they have presently chosen gets streamlined and focused in a very personal way for them, where it becomes a very clear intention for worthwhile work. This is one of those crucible times, where people can more clearly discern their purpose or calling.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

The Occupy Wall Street movement represents an amazing amount of human energy. It deserves the significance of Ho‘ohana.

Related Reading in the archives: Following is NOT a Passive Activity.

‘Occupy the Tundra’: One woman’s lonely vigil in bush Alaska. Click on the photo for the story at the LA Times.

“My parents don’t know that I know”

This is what scares me about current struggles in our world today:
It was posted on We are the 99%:

“My name is Allison, I’m a 13 year old 8th grader. I only get a few hours of sleep at night, but I don’t tell my parents because they don’t need to know that I need sleeping pills. I’ve been showing symptoms of Schizophrenia but we can’t afford for me to go see a doctor about it. My parents get really scared when they have to pay the morage because it really cuts down on our money. I’ve stopped eating alot so there’s more food for everyone else. My parents don’t know that I know we’re the 99%.”

The up side, is that when I get scared I just work harder, but with better focus on why I bother in the first place.

The Managers’ Kuleana

Those who have heard me speak know I make this point as often as I can about Kuleana, our profound responsibility as managers:

If the children of your employees believe that working imprisons their parents and makes them grumpy people, it’s your fault. Hold yourself accountable for that, and fix it. Those children are going to grow up, and be our workforce one day: What attitude do we want them to bring to the workplace with them?

I do what I do, and with the passion I have for it, because I was an exception to the rule and I know it. I was one of the truly lucky ones, not just lucky in the way Allison describes it above. What my parents illustrated for me, was that work was what they made it, and making it great was entirely possible. They did this in spite of the bosses they had, and they partnered with my teachers in demonstrating it for me.

Well, I wanted to be a boss; I wanted to be a manager. I knew we could do better, and be better, and support parents like mine. This, is essentially how Managing with Aloha came to be: My dream, is that all managers become the teaching boss my dad never had, but taught me was possible.

Here’s the drill in life:

Everyone has to work.
We work our way up what Maslow called our hierarchy of needs: We work for our basic sustenance to start, but hopefully we will progress, reach higher, and work our way through the other levels; through a sense of belonging, through self-esteem, and toward the stuff of self-actualization which makes legacy possible.

Jobs are what we have to do in the economic machine of society.
Work can be what we get to do in an inspired life (what we call the value of Ho‘ohana).

We managers shape working culture.
Managing with Aloha is a way we do that, and do it well. I believe it’s the best way, because to manage with the values rooted in Aloha, is to manage with your own humanity.
For what’s a culture? It’s a group of people with a common set of values and beliefs.

To “shape working culture” is to create an environment in the workplace which is ‘good’ in every definition of the word.
Good is healthy, and good begets more good.

The workplace environment is a contagion. It infects and thereby affects everything connected to it through the people within it: It affects their homes and their families, it affects the quality of their play and the rest in their sleep. It affects people individually and on a very personal level, and it thereby affects entire communities and their attitudes, whether that be their despair, or their sense of hope.

Understand “the drill” and understand it well.
Then, understand this:

Alaka‘i Managers help the human race

You don’t get to be a manager, and a truly great person, unless that is who you choose to be.
You don’t get to be a manager, and a truly great person, unless you work on it intentionally every single day.
You don’t get to be a manager, and a truly great person, unless you accept personal accountability for The Manager’s Kuleana, and can look into a child’s face and feel Pono, your rightness in our world.

On that pyramid, that hierarchy of human needs, I see rightness above Sense of Belonging and before you get to Self-Actualization: Rightness is personal, and it’s right there where Maslow put Self-Esteem.

We may have a long way to go before we get to Sense of Belonging for everyone.
We continue to work our way there, knowing we have to: Quitting, or opting out, are not included in our viable options.

However Sense of Belonging doesn’t cut it; it’s not enough.
Just ask Allison.