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

How to Fill up by Spilling

I’ve finished reading How We Decide, and the book I’m reading now is An Everlasting Meal, Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler. It’s one of those books that aren’t to be denied (nor should you). Rave reviews kept turning up across the world of my web browsing, seeming to ask me, “How about now? Are you ready for me yet?”

Go get a copy of your own. This book is a gem, and I recommend it highly. I’ll be buying it by the case so I can gift it to everyone I know.

The book feeds your soul as much as your tummy, probably more so. It’s a well-seasoned weaving of “philosophy and instruction into approachable lessons on instinctive cooking.” — that comes from the book jacket, and it’s a good description. The book appeals to those who aren’t chefs, but want to come to a good partnership with cooking because they like good food and want to eat it without too much fuss and bother. Respectfully and knowledgeably, yes. Professionally and elaborately, no.

That’s me, through and through. I know my kitchen intimately mostly because of keeping it clean; from a culinary perspective it feels like a foreign land even though I somehow raised a healthy family with its help.

But before I go too far down that rabbit hole, this post isn’t about cooking, or even learning to.

How to Build A Ship

Author Tamar Adler writes;

“There are times when I can’t bear to think about cooking. Food is what I love, and how I communicate love, and how I calm myself. But sometimes, without my knowing why, it is drained of all that. Then cooking becomes just another one of hunger’s jagged edges. So I have ways to take hold of this thing and wrest it from the jaws of resentment, and settle it back among the things that are mine.”

The chapter that begins with this paragraph is called “How to Build a Ship” and it’s about how Adler gets her inspiration back when it has momentarily slipped away.

As a quick but helpful aside, Adler says she has two loves: food and words. Her chapters are evocative in their announcements: “How to Light a Room” is about how herbs perk up food. “How to Live Well” is about understanding how wonderful the lowly bean can be. “How to Make Peace” is about how rice and ground corn (grits in the South, and polenta in Europe) are pacifists, because they “fill bellies and cracks in our meals, and they fill the cultural divisions in our appetites, which really, in the end, are the same.” This chapter got its name from a quote attributed to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood, and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

So Adler takes his advice, and does just that for us, as her readers and hopeful voyagers. She explains how she gets her love of cooking back when she needs to, and guess what? It’s the shortest chapter in the book (at least as far as I’ve read). It’s because love has a way of sticking around, staying close to you.

How to Weave Cloth Without Thread

For me, weaving is about making learning relevant and useful; a beautiful cloth can be anything you want it to be, and mine is Managing with Aloha.
[We talked story about it here: Learning and Weaving: The absorption benefit of your Personal Philosophy]

When I read Adler’s “How to Build a Ship” I couldn’t help but think about those of us who are managers, and how often — much, much too often — we’ll “drum up people to collect wood” or “assign them tasks and work” when we should be teaching them “to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

I think Adler is right about her hunch that we have to fall in love again:

“My answer is to anchor food to somewhere deep inside you, or deep in your past, or deep in the wonders of what you love… I say: Let yourself love what you love, and see if it doesn’t lead you back to what you ate when you loved it.”

For her, it’s about the eating experience as much as the cooking experience. It’s about being where food has made everything surrounding her more vibrant and alive.

The question I have for you then, is this: Exactly what is the managemeant experience that will continually refresh your own inspiration, always helping you get your mojo back?

To put it more simply: When are you completely, and beautifully, in love with being a manager?

If you rewrote Adler’s chapter for the work you do as an Alaka‘i Manager — for your Ho‘ohana — what would you call it?

How to Fill Up By Spilling

My choice would be “How to fill yourself up by spilling” because of the spirit-spilling of Aloha. Spirit-spilling is what the beliefs I hold within my Alaka‘i calling are all about: Alaka‘i Managers are those who help people work from their inside out.

When I have been able to do that for someone, I feel full. I’m tremendously full, feeling nourished and satisfied. I feel healthy, and as alive as I have ever felt.

If my day falters in some way, I’ll usually get my inspiration by learning from people, willing to accept whatever they choose to share with me. It’s my quickest way, and it’s virtually guaranteed.
I get my continued energy in creating partnerships with them, or some other weaving (making the learning personal, relevant, and useful).

I count my successes as the people I’ve left behind better than I found them. To see them grow, or irrevocably identify their own strengths, knowing that I helped in some way, is extremely rewarding to me.

Recalling my ‘how to’ (to relight the fires of inspiration) gets easy for me to do, because all I have to remember are names. Faces, and the little details of people’s stories will come flooding back into my consciousness, and I begin to smile, I just can’t help it.

Then The Craving ever-beneath The Calling begins all over again. I want to be part of more stories, and so I get on with my ‘ship building.’

Loving this book!

I’ll leave you to think more about your own ‘how to’ with a final quote from Adler;

“So I listen hard. I listen with the purpose of remembering. And this digging into sounds and into days I have heard and felt roots future meals in the unchangeable truths of past ones.”

“Let smells in. Let the smell of hot tarmac in the summer remind you of a meal you ate the first time you landed in a hot place, when the ground smelled like it was melting. Let the smell of salt remind you of a paper basket of fried clams you ate once, squeezing them with lemon as you walked on a boardwalk. Let it reach your deeper interest. When you smell the sea, and remember the basket of hot fried clams, and the sound of skee-balls knocking against each other, let it help you love what food can do, which is to tie this moment to that one.”

When has being a manager been its very best and most beautiful for you?
What do you remember about it?

How will you do it again?

Culture-Building: First, understand what Management can be

When are you expected to work with your manager?

Where does individual ownership give way to partnership, and to the team dynamic?

Over and above the day-to-day focus within the work which is done, what are the visionary, mission-driven possibilities elevated in the near future?

How do mavericks grow in your company? How do your best ideas gain support, and then attain traction and velocity there?

These are the kinds of questions which every healthy workplace culture should have definitive answers for, answers which are aligned with the values that company stands for.

Management can then be managemeant.

Culture building needs a solid foundation that serves as fertile ground. We know values are critical. So are their champions.

Those champions should be your managers.

When organizations choose to adopt Managing with Aloha as part of their culture, they’ve done their homework; they usually know about the Core 21, the 19 Values listed on the blog sidebar, the 10 Beliefs, and the 9 Key Concepts. It’s a lot to take in at first, and it’s highly weaveable, but usually 1 Question trumps them all in the eager minds of those anxious to begin:

Where do we start?

My answer is always the same: Reconstruct the role of your managers.
(article, and coaching category) Understand the true cultural work your managers can perform for you when they are liberated and motivated to do so.

Work With Your GiftsThe evidence is clear: Managers create culture. Ignore them (i.e. devalue them), and they can destroy it. My core purpose in writing MWA was to help prevent that sad, damaging downslide from happening, because I know what a positive force great managemeant can be.

In most of the organizations I visit, there is quite a distance to bridge between managers and their staff; they’re operating in totally separate orbits and worse, they’re content to “leave well enough alone.”

Problem is, “well enough” for them isn’t delivering much well being to the workplace culture.

To Do: Today

Help your people understand what a partnership with an Alaka‘i Manager can be about. Help them see why that partnership is so useful, and how enjoyable it can be.

If you do nothing else, get your own perspective in check, and create a healthier relationship with your own manager; set a good example as you flourish in that new partnership.

Go back to the questions at the beginning of my posting: Answering them, and engineering the change which is necessary (with value-alignment) will get you much closer to the well being which will vastly improve the health of your culture.

Comfort Station, Hughes Company 1915, via Baltimore City Life Museum Collection, Maryland Historical Society

Postscript/Weaving: Role versus Practice

If you are a long-time Talking Story reader, you know that I am very insistent on having Alaka‘i Managers adopt and practice D5M, the Daily 5 Minutes, writing things like this:

“I need to be crystal clear about something:
If you’re not giving your staff the gift of the Daily Five Minutes ®
you’re not Managing with Aloha „¢”

~ So you want a MWA jumpstart. Do the Daily Five Minutes.

Adopting D5M gives Alaka‘i Managers a great tool for making everything else happen (‘everything’ being the full spirit-spilling, work-sensible philosophy of Managing with Aloha).

What the D5M does, is collect timely inputs (the talk story) from an ongoing partnership, so the two people involved will always agree on what they should be working on next, working on it Kākou, together.

Before that actually happens, D5M concentrates on the foundational stuff of getting a good partnership in place, so it can be a functioning partnership. There must be comfort between people first: Then, and only then, can they work together to achieve greater things.

This is why there must be Managing with Aloha champions within a culture; they are the braver, more vocal ones who foster better health, and push through any obstacles, just like Ricky does in her workplace culture as a teacher.

Bottom line here, is that I write Talking Story to help you make your way toward being one of those champions. Write me when you have questions; you’re not alone.

D5MBetterMgr

Matchmaker, matchmaker, find me some Skills

Something we often hear in these challenging times, is that jobs are becoming available, but they’re ‘new’ jobs, out of reach for the unemployed who possess skill sets that have lost their previous worth.

Sounds to me like a presumption riddled with faulty wiring.

One values-based solution seems pretty obvious: “Matchmaker, matchmaker find me a match.”

And who will be the matchmaker?

In my mind, it must be you, who are the Alaka‘i Managers who live, work, manage and lead with Aloha.

Let’s revisit the foundational, belief-fed basics of what this means.

Aloha is the value of unconditional love and acceptance. Aloha elevates the human condition, exploring and celebrating every nook and cranny of a person’s knowledge, strength, talent, capacity and intentions, and thus, their human worth.

‘Unconditional’ means that if this is the value you possess as a manager, you cannot accept that there are conditions to the love and acceptance you give; you are a steward, advocate, and mentor of the unconditional workplace.

Now this doesn’t mean you have blinders on to the challenges you must work with. It means you do whatever you can to overcome those challenges. It means you create a workplace culture which is both healthy and productive.

More often than not, it means you groom people and help them grow, and not that you pick and choose among them, laying down your conditions. (You know this: Conditions and expectations are NOT the same thing.)

Do you recall the epigraph of Managing with Aloha?

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German writer, scientist and philosopher

The mismatch of job and skillset is a challenge, but it’s a temporary one. It’s fixable. It has fixes that are completely within the realm of possibility for you — if you doubt that, we have to revisit your calling as a manager, for again, managers are supposed to elevate the human condition.

People who want to work, and who hear that their skills have become irrelevant, are being deeply hurt hearing this, for no one — no one! — wants to feel irrelevant. We managers are the people who can help them identify their own gifts.

To make a good match, identify your best ingredients: What are you matching?

What I’m discovering in my coaching, and in several deeper conversations about this topic of “skills relevancy” is this:

What we often need BEFORE new skills training, is better vocabulary. We need a for-today language that surrounds the skill sets we value most in our current business environment. We need to articulate what we want, doing so more clearly and more consistently, and in the way that is strength-relevant over skills-conditional.

“They did not have to create a new gig for me. All they had to do was not hold me back, and support me in figuring it out for myself, so I could find my own answers.”
Managing Strengths and not Standards

Our requirements may not be that ‘new’ after all… because “the times, they are a-changing,” our requirements have gotten freshened up in some way. Thus our “Language of We” needs freshening up as well. This always happens when we grow!

When we speak with the Language of We, we often find that people do have the skills, or at least an at-the-ready foundation for cultivating them quickly, and all they needed was this aha moment, one you, their manager, have arrived at too: “Ah! We are a match, aren’t we!”

Let’s work together, in the way of Aloha.

Let’s expect that we will be unconditionally matched up, and we simply need to Ho‘o, and make it happen.

Alaka‘i Managers, we need you; get busy as the matchmakers, advocates, and mentors of the human condition that I know you are.

From the Managing with Aloha Archives:

What do the truly great managers of our world believe in? (See the whole list of 10 Beliefs)

1. Great managers believe that people are innately good; they must. Without this core belief and faith in people, great management is not possible.
For more: Unconditional Acceptance, Nature and Nurture

4. Great managers believe that all people have strengths which can be made stronger, and that their weaknesses can be compensated for, so they become unimportant to the work at hand.
For more: Job Creation Employs Strengths, Then People

9. Great managers believe it is their job to remove barriers and obstacles so people can attain the level of greatness they are destined for. They believe that “can’t” is a temporary state of affairs, and that everything is only impossible until the first person does it.
For more: When Learning Gets Overwhelming