This article has been updated, and now appears on the blog I write for Managing with Aloha.
You can read it here:
Thank you for your visit,
This article has been updated, and now appears on the blog I write for Managing with Aloha.
You can read it here:
Thank you for your visit,
How would you answer the question? Think of ‘workplace’ very literally, as in a physical place of communal work, where other things can, and do happen besides the work itself.
On one morning of my recent vacation I sat in Tamarind Park (Bishop Square, downtown Honolulu) having coffee and doing people-watching with daughter and boyfriend while hubby fit in a doctor’s appointment in one of these tall buildings:
Boyfriend asked me if I ever missed the very, very nice office I’d had while a resort ops vp, and my answer was that I once missed some things about having that office, but I have since discovered my nostalgia to be a temporary state of affairs. The work, the conveniences, and the social relationships have all been replaced in some way to maintain or better the good (the pros), and discard the rest (the cons). Nothing is exactly the same, but the change has been good for me, forcing the shifts of new, and timely learning.
We three then began to talk story about how much work has changed since then (2003 was the year of my ‘corporate retirement’) because of our technological mobility today.
We also spoke of how you notice it more when you don’t have it — and thus you adjust faster in making those pro/con adjustments.
Others still have the office, still have the work, still have the conveniences and social relationships, and because they are “still in” them, they haven’t bothered to adjust at all, when fact is, they could have done so too.
Both daughter and boyfriend (both 26, and who both have a workPLACE) then stated quite correctly (in my opinion), “These people working here: Bet at least half of them could be sitting at home doing the exact same work they are supposed to be doing here.” “Heck, I bet it’s more like 80% of them. And why are they down here buying coffee and bagels at 9 in the morning instead of working anyway?”
Good questions. Great observations. So little is truly a brick and mortar business these days. That said, there are quite a few Downtown Everywhere office building property managers who are nervously relieved their tenants have yet to come to that aha! moment.
Another passing thought… Intriguing to imagine how many homeless we would help get off Honolulu streets and beaches if converting a single one of the skyscrapers in my photo…
What might you be “still into” with your automatic pilot? Are you financing place-of-work necessity, or someone’s too-long walk-about coffee and bagel break?
Want more? Try these:
Model Me This: There’s little use having a model you’d get an “A” for in some business course — including one of mine, because those are get-your-training-wheels places that at best, will steady you in your seat.
~ ~ ~
Manager’s Skill: Separate Signal from Noise: One of the best skills you can cultivate as a manager is separating signal from noise, understanding what you pay attention to, and what you ignore as irrelevant.
~ ~ ~
Embrace your Systems Thinker: I truly value and appreciate systems thinking; it’s the drool-over-it detail stuff of the stellar projects that dynamic workplace teams prosper within.
Preface for any who may be new, or occasional readers:
Subscriptions to Talking Story have spiked in the last week since we said Aloha to Joyful Jubilant Learning, and I am thrilled to have you here. THRILLED. I assure you, joyful learning will always be a part of Talking Story (learning is my Hawaiian value of ‘Ike loa); I cannot imagine it being otherwise.
Reading back over this posting, which follows, I also feel I should explain something. There’s a lot of self-indulgent “me” in it, offered up to you as the silent question, “Perhaps you too?”
There are times my posts will “talk story out loud” as a clarity-seeking extension of my own self-talk, and it usually happens on Sundays, a Mālama [stewardship, within caring] day for me. So a truthful caveat that my writing today is normal for me, as the person I am, but not post-normal as the author ofTalking Story, who seeks to deliver more concise writing to you that is not as lengthy, nor with as many posited yet unanswered questions. If you skip this one you will not hurt my feelings, truly. However if you have the time to read it, it might also be the quickest “pleased to meet you,” catch-up, and/or reconnecting you can possibly do with me, for I am committed to giving Talking Story my good stuff, and not the clutter, interesting as it may be, or the sometimes noisy clatter. It’s just that the process of it all needs a writer’s rambling room at times. Sundays suit, are Mālama kind and patient.
A seemingly opposite (but very connected) aside: I also discovered Iain Thomas’s TED talk yesterday, which is a very compelling way to learn about you and not me, and I highly recommend it:
“You and I, We are the Same.” Yet”“we’ve grown up in this digital space, where identity is entirely optional.” —Iain Thomas
You can watch it on my Tumblr, Ho‘ohana Aloha. Click here to see the video (9:28 long).
It’s Sunday. For many on this particular Sunday, that means the Colts versus the Saints within SuperBowl XLIV with a supporting cast of million-dollar commercial spots. For me, that means thinking and taking stock on a day others in my sports-fanatic household are more than happy to give me that space, especially after I’ve prepped with a great Weekly Review done on Saturday. If the game is good, they’ll have it on tape.
There is no better “taking stock” for me, than following up on something. Then ‘better,’ becomes more meaningful when that following up is with my current Ho‘ohana [my work intention]:
Take 5 in 2010: A Game-Changing Ho‘ohana is what we now turn to updating.
No, it’s not more within a SuperBowl metaphor. Game-changing is the first question I answer for myself when the years morph from one into another: Do you want to change your game, whatever it may be, or do you want to tweak the same one, and improve it in some way?
In my case, the 2009 shift into 2010 answer had to do with learning new and different versus more of the same, as a wanting that was tugging at my insides. It was connected to how my learning directly affects my ‘doing’ of most everything (i.e. my productivity: Am I busy, or accomplished? Big difference.)
As the saying goes, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll likely get what you’ve always gotten.” Einstein gave this another twist” he defined insanity as doing the same things but expecting different results. Provocative coaching.
Rands tweeted: “As you write, you need to take your readers with you.”
I think this Sunday is good for that purpose, for much has happened. Besides, as I write, and share things I find and discover, I will take myself with me too, in that “when the student is ready, the teacher appears” kind of way.
I have written that adopting mantras can be powerful. In Managing with Aloha, we refer to it as the power of our Language of Intention [MWA Key Concept #5] for the words we speak and act upon are incredibly quick and efficient in effecting shift in workplace culture.
Sometimes I will rediscover this key myself, and on a very personal basis, and by now you’d think I’d no longer be surprised by the way that works, but I am. Keeping my sense of wonder about it all is good, I suppose” yes. We have to know that there are forces at play stronger than we are, fragile and mistake-prone humans that we are (hmmm” more to explore here with the concept of love as a strengthener” will table the thought, for now.)
Back in December, as 2010 drew to a close, I posted Take 5 in 2010: A Game-Changing Ho‘ohana. In brief, updated form, the thoughts, and possible mantras within it, were these:
1. Say Leadership Coaching (my business umbrella) will serve Great Managers directly
Learning and stretching is glorious: They grow you. However the truth is that I had allowed too much mission-creep to sway me from my own Ho‘ohana focus. And guess what? In the process of better focus, we can do much for everyone who aspires to self-manage, and self-lead, or manage and lead with their ideas and demonstrative illustrations versus by managing others.
2. M/L Practical: The 30/70 Mission of Managing with Aloha
“M/L Practical” refers to leadership (L) creating energy as our greatest resource, with management (M) channeling that energy in the best possible way. 30/70 is a weekly measurement and action application of the time we devote to each: 30% to leading and 70% to managing. Generally I will write on leading each Tuesday, and on managing each Thursday, with publishing at Say Alaka‘i keeping me on track.
3. Jobs Reinvented and Delivered for Best Livelihood
Not only are business models being reinvented post the “Great Recession;” so is work, job, and career. Do we understand our true relationship with wealth? Our values can help guide us: Values are the Bedrock of Hard Reality.
4. Small and Nimble Self-Managing Teams and Tribes
And small and nimble everything else, it turns out. Self-reliance is speaking up in a louder voice too, a voice we all should welcome, I think. Teams and tribes demand that choices are made. Choices about involvement, about managing, about leading, about good following. There are choices about commitment, the honoring of character, and respect for culture.
5. Critical, Consistent, Clear Communication: “Communication is huge and we need a focus.”
Increasingly true, each and every day. It presses on me, hard and insistent. It battles within me constantly: Communicate, yet quietly reflect first. Communicate with clarity, yet be open to ambiguity and variance. Communicate, yet debrief in private, and self-edit.
Each point has gotten sharpened or strengthened, has spoken up louder, or has intensified somehow. These past few weeks have been affirming and amazing.
For today, and to wrap this up in some way, these are two milestones” movable rocks I am painting with emotional images (like those torches the final 3 burn on Survivor!)” polished stones I will hold in my hand to feel their presence, solidity and strength”
But even learning needs boundaries.
7 short days ago, I declared “game over” for Joyful Jubilant Learning: Learning Healthy and Joyful Endings. I surprised many with my decision; I surprised myself. There were others who completely understood, or who were not surprised at all, or who had wondered why it took me as long as it did to arrive at my place of ending. Not-so-oddly when you think about it, these others were some of the ones closest to the project.
Today, a mere week later, I can best think of Joyful Jubilant Learning as a project of stellar proportions, and not a blog I ended. “Project” does not minimize it in any way, believe me. I love, and thrive in Wow Projects. JJL was stellar in that it challenged me, and others, to open up our learning in Palena ‘ole capacity-stretching. Palena ‘ole is MWA Key Concept #9:
9. Palena ‘ole (Unlimited Capacity):
This is your exponential growth stage, and about seeing your bigger and better leadership dreams come to fruition. Think “Legacy.” Create abundance by honoring capacity; physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. Seek inclusive, full engagement and optimal productivity, and scarcity will be banished.
Learning is a never-ending project for all human beings who want to grow, believing in their own unlimited capacity. Yet we do have to manage our Learning within focus-sharpening boundaries with reasonable edges at times, making it a “short and deep” project of significance with a defined beginning and decision-bearing end. Otherwise, it can take over everything else.
For some, learning at JJL meant community. For others, learning with JJL meant “learning apart together.” Thank you so very much Lodewijk for that clarity. To you who chose that route, silently yet resolutely sticking with us in spirit whenever we vocal JJLers nagged you to be more visibly involved, I admire you, and better appreciate you now, if indeed you stuck with your learning.
Stellar Wow Projects give back in many ways, and , as raw as it still feels for some of us, I am very confident that JJL will continue to give.
I think this one also connects to “Less is more” and “Small and nimble.” I am still craving more FOCUS and as a publisher, I am fully aware how much every part of my life marches to the rhythm of how and what I am communicating in any point in time in different team circles.
And oh, what a vicious circle this can be…
Accomplishing is a smaller chunk than all of doing.
Can we do less, yet accomplish more?
Doing is a smaller chunk than all of communicating.
Can we communicate less, but get more done?
Communicating is a smaller chunk than all of thinking.
Can we think less, yet communicate more?
Thinking is a smaller chunk than all of learning.
Can we learn less, yet think more about our learning?
While critical, learning is smaller than the largeness of living.
And in our living, place can mean almost everything.
Another thing that JJL taught me so well, painfully so at times, was that communities and teams are defined by place too, not just people.
To help me focus on my game-changing in 2010, I need to recommit to Sense of Place [MWA Key Concept #8] in some tangible ways which are connected to how and where I communicate. So these are my decisions going forward, with where, for some very practical and tactical reasons, I will communicate from.
You will see more detail evolve as it happens; all need some transition time and may not start immediately, but soon. All are already in process. As usual, I start with Ho‘ohana intentions in the form of another Take 5: My manageable, small chunk of choice.
Clarity is such a beautiful thing! It is kind. It can soothe and heal.
Where do you stand with your Ho‘ohana, this 6th Sunday into 2010? Mālama yourself. It feels really, really wonderful.
Photo Credits: Posse of painted stones by Isot pihvit pizzat on Flickr
Preface: When you see our Ho‘ohana Community badge pop up on top, you know a newsletterish-ish post is coming up… this one is an Aloha readiness for 2010.
Aloha my friends and faithful readers of Talking Story,
I hope this reaches you inspired by the holiday spirit of this special week. December provides us with a great variety of gifts, and when you look for them purposely you can find they are waiting for your discovery! As I shared in a tweet yesterday:
No more blue Christmases, pretending to be happy when you’re really sad… Ho”›o it and make it happen better… get out and connect with people.
You who know me, and know Managing with Aloha are aware of what I mean by “Ho‘o it” —Make something happen! For some of us that means more energy, more fires burning brightly. For others it might mean the calm contentment we call ma‘alahi, which can be another bright intensity, another kind of luminaria. Either way, December is a month you can claim.
I have just returned from an early Christmas celebration held in Nevada with my ‘Ohana, my family. The Silver State proved to be a central point we could convene to this year, and our Christmas Day was celebrated early, on December 17th.
So today I find I am scheming about the New Year earlier than I normally would, streamlining and fine-tuning my intentions with the detailed plans I have spent several weeks thinking about. It is a time the thinking gets written down on paper to be sharpened with the clarity of both my full attention and deliberate, committed intention. In a word, it is my Ho‘ohana writing time once more! Bless.
This posting then, is to share more about what I am thinking with you.
My overall strategy for 2010 became clear to me early on: Less will be more.
Despite the financial frugality of the lingering recession, in my personal experience of it I found 2009 to be a year of information gluttony. It was financially frugal for me too, and there was not much indulgence within 2009, for ‘indulgence’ was something which remained quite unattainable for various reasons, but still, we have been searching.
Searching and finding. Our choices have seemed so overwhelming, especially for the business reinventions the recession has mandated. When our annual Sweet Closure arrived in October I found that there were so many options to wade through, sort intelligently, and then make my choices from. Did that happen for you too?
This I know, and am quite sure of: While I am grateful for the idea generation those many options revealed, I don’t want any more choices. I want to stop looking, and begin to dwell within the ones I know to be good and right for me, remaining focused and contented within those selections. Fewer choices which are well attended to can flourish better; they can bloom. When they bloom, I can be healthier along with them, for I’m the one choosing them, and attending to them.
I give you one guess as to which number I will refuse to exceed in 2010 when making any kind of list at all, including that all-important strategic one which generates my livelihood…
“Taking 5” has proved so good for me in the past, and I trust it. Here are the 5 things I now consider the lumps of clay awaiting my own Ho‘ohana sculpting throughout 2010. I also offer them to you, inviting you to join me.
We have several neighborhoods within our Ho‘ohana Community and each remains very important to me in some way. Our relationships are strong and they give me a personal strength I would be foolish to deny or neglect. That said, some have been purely social, others experimental, the wonderful result of the goodness of ‘Ike loa, pursuing our value of learning. Within these past years of growth however, there is one group I feel I may have strayed from way too much, and they are those Managing with Aloha was primarily intended to serve: Those who will be our Great Managers of the future.
I may have needed the recession to see this as clearly as I now do. In the past, Say Leadership Coaching has served managers through their companies, but not directly as the individual warriors they need to be, especially now in our struggling economy. We continue to need a reinvention in the ever-critical Role of the Manager, and I intend to be quite stubborn in speaking directly to managers throughout 2010 instead of through the filter of their bosses.
To be clear, their bosses were always on board in the companies I worked with or MWA would not have been part of their program in the first place, but there was a budget which accommodated us all, and that is no longer the case. If we are to continue making progress, the managers who are not owners will have to forge their own path, and be an economic force to be reckoned with. Managers must become game-changers.
It will require quite an exploration as to how I can effectively reach out as I need to. I say the recession helped me see this, in that the slashing of training budgets separated me from many of the managers I had been reaching unless they happen to read one of my blogs, and many who consider themselves way too busy “in the trenches” of their day-to-day work are not connected to us yet. In other words, I want to serve an audience I know I am not yet reaching sufficiently. I am hoping that you who read Talking Story will help me figure this out: How do we get more managers to convene here, and become a strong community intent on being our game-changers of the future?
Having arrived here, the core of what we will then talk about is next. It will translate into the product line my business entities will concentrate on producing in order to best serve Great Managers…
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 a few weeks back: Reduce your Leadership to a Part-time Gig in 2010
I admit it: In the past I have minimized much consideration of “job” in favor of us investing all of our energies in Ho‘ohana instead. Well, another lesson from the recession: I downplayed jobs too much. Great Managers must serve those who may never choose Ho‘ohana just as much as they must serve those who do.
It has become brutally clear that we need jobs created if we are to have a healthy economy (and in turn, a healthy humanity.) Great Managers then, must expand their reach into two critical products of their managing/leading work:
We need Great Managers to be those game-changers who enable these choices as feasible for our current society. In their new game-changing role, managers must be the bridge connecting the workforce with business owners who normally have blinders on where this fact reigns supreme in existing business models: The most efficient and profitable businesses are those with as few employees as possible.
That assumption is not very conducive to job creation, and managers must be our New Economy Saviors: They must illuminate the possibilities where human beings at work are exponentially necessary, not just costly.
Game-changers require new team formats they can tap into and create mini-movements with, movements which can achieve faster momentum when energies become available. I believe that the winning teams and tribes in 2010 will require 3 key qualities:
Organizational cultures have been fat and slow. We have all depended on leadership/management structure, ownership and procedural systems much too much. Small, nimble, and self-managing teams can function much better without the foot-dragging bureaucracy that conventional business structure has erected as an obstacle or excuse.
“Big business” you are so over. Small teams and tribes, your day has come.
Let me be clear: Big businesses have worthy missions and visions too. However to achieve them in today’s world they must become smaller in their approach so they can be effective. If they aren’t effective, they won’t be successful. End of story.
What I’ve said so far can be a bit scary. It sounds like a lot of small pieces running very independently, possibly wreaking havoc, doesn’t it. Keep reading, we’re almost done, and number 5 will be about the ties which bind brilliantly.
Here on Talking Story we have always known this to be true: Language, vocabulary, and conversation combine as our primary tools in business communications. What we speak of day-to day is likely fifty times more important than what we write or read, and when they all come together cohesively – wow. The need for CLEAR, intentional, reliable and responsive communication is critical in thriving businesses — and in thriving relationships. Drive communication of the right messages consistently, and you drive momentum and worthwhile energies.
That’s the ‘why.’ Now, how about the ‘what?’ Communication is huge and we need a focus.
We have our focus, and I have been the one guilty of straying from it as I’ve dabbled in other learning. Our focus is, and always will be the language and vocabulary of Managing with Aloha, and the conversations here on Talking Story as our mothership online.
In 2010 we will again honor our MWA value-alignment in our Language of Intention and our Hawaiian value themes will return. They may not always conform to precise monthly windows, but you will again be hearing much more of the 19 values of Managing with Aloha, I promise you.
Will you be here, reading more of Talking Story throughout 2010 knowing of this Take 5 outlining my Ho‘ohana intentions? I do hope so!
We Ho‘ohana together, Kākou.
You can live, work, manage and lead with Aloha; I know you can. Question is, will you?
Tell me, what do you think about this? I would love to hear from you: Let’s talk story.
From Managing with Aloha, if you have not yet seen it: This will convey more of my Language of Intention when I use that phrase “Great Manager.”
The Calling of Management: The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers