What is the work you do?

Who, me? Okay, I’ll go first, but only if you promise to take a turn too.

I teach people about Ho‘ohana and Aloha.

As I do so, I work to maximize the grown-in talents of other people, helping them articulate their talents in a language of values, strengths, and intention.

Water Lily Pot

I am intent on making workplaces better, and by ‘better,’ I mean that they are healthier. By ‘healthier,’ I mean that all the people involved with those workplaces feel they are thriving within them; they can be their best.

I work ever mindful of sense of place; yours, mine, and ours.

I help others ‘walk their talk’ in a more deliberate way, teaching them to wear their visibility more comfortably, and with Ho‘ohanohano (the Aloha of dignity, respect and humility).

My needs are similar to yours, so I do for me what I do for you. I am constantly learning to invest in the strengths of my personal values, using them, and exploring them as fully as I possibly can.

I teach others about the things I know to be true, and I ask them to teach me about what they know to be true.

I keep my curiosity front and center, so it will help me listen better. I want to respond to others instead of preach to them, for I feel I learn best from other people.

I honor conversation as our best communication, sharing Talking Story and something I call The Daily 5 Minutes. These are my tools, yet they are also goals I share with you, for I work on them too.

I write. A lot.

Notice something?

Though it is ever present, and is necessary, a job was never mentioned in my answers.

Job is simply a fringe player to the things you really do. However job might be described on paper is usually way too small for us; too limiting. In organizations it can be censored in the politically correct way that usually isn’t specific enough, or passionate enough.

You try it. Write your own list of things you do from your source of personal well being, and not ‘by the book’ or looking at some page in your employee manual.

Then tell me: What is it that you do?

Oriental Nesting

Don’t allow your art to get smothered by your job.

Allow your job to express your art.

Moderns backed to the wall

What our world needs is you, and what you manifest and create.

Use whatever you have to work with.

Pot of Polished Pebbles

Expression can take different forms.

It’s the work itself that is beautiful, making the job more meaningful.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Footnote: Mondays are devoted to Managing with Aloha here on Talking Story. I set out to write a professional business book, and I feel I did. What I notice, is that it works best for people who read it, and use it in a highly personal way.

There is more backstory to MWA Mondays here if you are interested, including an index of relevant resource pages: Monday is for Managing with Aloha. My Book Page is here.

On Previous Mondays, Pō‘akahi kākou:

To be Alaka‘i, be First

If I ask you what you’ve initiated lately, what would come to mind, and how quickly?

We speak of Alaka‘i in a wealth of context, for there is so much included within both managing and leading. There is much too much, and we need to focus.

For the coming week, I want you to try something: Think of only one thing, and have it be INITIATIVE.

Niu browns on black sand

Alaka‘i at its value-best is about initiative: We seize it for ourselves, and we are attracted to it in others.

We know inherently that initiative is about being first in something, and because we’re first we’re naturally pioneering — we’re exploring options and testing them, never resting on our laurels, for that would be duplication at worst, and improvement at best. However initiative is about complete freshness, newness, experimentation and bravery. It is about BEING FIRST.

Having a learner’s mind will equip you magnificently, so do not hesitate. Shed off any protective husk you may be keeping around you. Be first this week. Take initiative. Be Alaka‘i.

Update: Here is another take on this, just added to my Flickr pages:

I can be fire

“I want to be fire.”

“But you can’t. You’re a lily, and we live in the water.”

“Are those facts, or are they happenstance? I can change.”

“I don’t think so” you can’t change that much. There are some things you just have to accept.”

“Well, I don’t. You might accept them, but I don’t. I’m still going to try to be fire.”

“Gotta admit, there is something happening here in your trying” how does it feel?”

“Scary, but also thrilling, and the thrilling is winning.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Footnote: Mondays are devoted to Managing with Aloha here on Talking Story.

There is more backstory to MWA Mondays here if you are interested, including an index of relevant resource pages: Monday is for Managing with Aloha. My Book Page is here.

On Previous Mondays, Pō‘akahi kākou:

Cry baby? Not me!

The Cock’s Spur Coral is cultivated here, i.e. non-native, decidious and thorny, an Argentine/Brazilian relative of our endemic wiliwili, and I’ve heard it called the “cry baby coral tree.” However this past weekend it only brought me joy, helping me forget other sadness.

Cock’s Spur Coral

When you step back and take a panoramic view of the landscape, my Big Island home will sadden me greatly now, for we are in extreme drought conditions, the worse I have seen in the twenty years we have lived here. It is dry, dusty, and our viewplane is one of ugly barren browns, not rich ore-laden ones. The once-verdant green of the mountain slopes and pasturelands has largely disappeared, and we are sadly reminded that in Hawai‘i of old these were called the drylands. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a few green strips roadside, where weeds take advantage of the morning dew runoff which has collected at the asphalt edges (also bringing all the feral goats out of the bush, so those green sprouts do not last too long: They are very necessary food tenders).

So with the prospects of rain lessening even more in the coming months of our summer, this will be a time I step forward instead, taking more close up shots when I have camera in hand.

Cry-baby Coral

Or I look up, for in landscaped gardens and commercial centers, summer is the best time to see the flowering trees, like this brilliantly colored coral triumph, one of a pair at Parker Square, up in Waimea, Kamuela. I had driven by to check out the magnolia trees across the street since running errands fairly close by, but this tree and its pleasing reddish lawn litter ended up catching most of my attention.

Looking down at my feet was pretty wonderful too. Nature can give us the best carpets.

Natural carpet

Could you have kept your slippers on your feet, and resist the temptation to walk barefoot through it? Not me…

Taken altogether, these remind me of our Managing with Aloha value of Mahalo. To live within this value, we are thankful for the elements of life which make that life, our life, most precious.

Summer profusion

So in my own dry, and seemingly barren summer vista, these photos, taken only two rain-less days ago, remind me to Hō‘imi; to seek out what is still pleasing to me, noticing highlights and not low ones. I see the color of joy wherever I look for it. I appreciate intricacy, and see things I may have too quickly passed by before.

What can you see today with fresh eyes, and with Mahalo?

Flowering litter

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Footnote: Mondays are devoted to Managing with Aloha here on Talking Story.

There is more backstory to MWA Mondays here if you are interested, including an index of relevant resource pages: Monday is for Managing with Aloha. My Book Page is here.

On Previous Mondays, Pō‘akahi kākou:

Reprise: The 10 Beliefs of Alaka‘i Managers

The following list of 10 Beliefs was shared as one of my earliest articles for online publishing: It was originally titled The Calling of Management: The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers. I decided to revisit it recently, intending to bring the list to a new home on Talking Story. As I did so, I added a few links to postings done over recent months as a self-testing exercise, curious about my own consistency. They were very easy to match up, for these beliefs have not changed in their importance and relevance, not at all. If anything, they have gotten stronger for me.

It is extremely exciting to see a light of renewal go on in managers’ eyes when they realize that the hard work of management can evolve into the gift of a calling in your life. Catching glimpse of that bright light is one of the best things I experience in my work as a coach. Answer these vitally important questions for me:

What is your intention as an Alaka‘i Manager? Did you choose to be a manager, or did you just find your way to being one? Whatever the history of your journey, do you love being a manager today? If not, why do you persist in being one?

Working within belief is a good place to be

You can’t be an Alaka‘i Manager striving for greatness if you do not intentionally choose to be one, and then make a passionate commitment to management consciously and with full on-purpose determination.

To “get started” with Managing with Aloha, you must be able to honestly say being a manager is your deliberate choice, and that your passion lies in the joys which come from being a great manager: “Good” is not good enough, for as a manager you directly affect the quality of people’s lives. That is not a responsibility to be taken lightly.

You must take stock of where your own convictions are when it comes to certain critically important beliefs about the people you will work with, manage and lead. People will factor into just about everything you do; everything.

When it comes to your own learning and growth, people are the ones who will teach you the most.

What do the truly great managers of our world believe in?

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

2. Great managers believe they do not work on their people, they work with them; they enable and empower them.
For more: You’ll Be the Company you Keep

3. Great managers believe that “empowerment” comes from within, and has more to do with self-motivation and innate talent than with the acceptance of authority. They get their cues from the person, not from the task or process.
For more: If you Ask for Initiative, Grant it

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

5. When it comes to training, great managers do not believe they train people per se, they believe they train skills and offer additional knowledge.
For more: They like you. But do they perform for you?

6. Great managers believe they coach and mentor people as their best contribution to a community and sense of place, and they love doing so — not “like,” love.
For more: 3 Ways Managers Create Energetic Workplaces

7. Great managers believe that the people they manage are more than capable of creating a better future. They hold great faith and trust in the four-fold human capacities of physical ability, intellect, emotion, and spirit.
For more: Is it Time for Your Alaka‘i Abundance?

8. Great managers believe in the power of positive, affirmative thinking, and they have a low tolerance for negativity. They are confident and eternal optimists.
For more: The 3 Secrets of Being Positive

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

10. Great managers believe that their legacy will be in the other people they have helped achieve worthwhile and meaningful goals. They believe that success is measured in people who thrive and prosper.
For more: Helping Without Hurting

These beliefs may not sit well with everyone, but they are essential for Alaka‘i Managers as the people who make a difference in the lives of others.  These beliefs are the reasons why managers matter, and why management is vitally important. These are the challenges you must be eager to tackle, as in,  Let-me-at-‘em, I’m-perfect-for-this-job! eager.

If you do not share these beliefs, management will be possible by some standards (though not those of Managing with Aloha), however both my managing and coaching experiences have consistently demonstrated how it will prove to be much harder for you. Management will become the work of routine task and process, devoid of those rewards which stem from relationship-building and developing collaborative partnerships.

So what, pray tell, will you choose?

There IS a light inside everyone, I just know it!

Footnote: There is more backstory to MWA Mondays here if you are interested, including an index of relevant resource pages: Monday is for Managing with Aloha. My Book Page is here.