That’s the headline of a story Dan Nakaso wrote for the Honolulu Advertiser this morning. It’s about his experiences on the job in the last two years he’s been assigned to cover business in Hawaii, and the gist of it is that you could change one word in the headline and reach the same conclusion: covering life proves challenging, rewarding.
Nakaso says, “beyond the numbers and press releases, business stories are often about dreams realized and lost, power plays and miracle turnarounds.” He then shares a few stories of how people have been affected by their lives in business.
And guess what? If you look for the article in the paper’s print edition (I’m afraid it’s not in the online edition), it’s not in section “F,” the day’s Business Section; it’s in “B” the day’s Focus section. Focus. Hmmm.
Nakaso’s article brought more affirmation for me with one of my core beliefs, one you will find in the background of most things I discuss when we talk story here on business: work is personal.
This part of Nakaso’s story really struck a chord with me, and probably with most who will read it today:
“A few business leaders have used the tired line that their ‘greatest asset (the employees) walks out the door every night’ — then refused to let me interview any of them. Others run their operations on a shoestring but treat their workers with the heart of a poet.”
Here’s the thing: which do you think is ultimately the better approach for the success of their business? And by that I mean, “better” for their bottom line.
In the coaching I do with executives, our breakthrough to truly managing with aloha comes when this light comes on in their own understanding: you cannot separate a person’s life and their job, so stop trying to do so. We then ho‘ohana, intentionally work, toward improving business processes that take care of both things, both needs, simultaneously.
If you are a manager, think about this right now for a moment: You know your job affects just about every part of your life, doesn’t it. That’s just the way it is. So ” why would you think it’s any different for those you manage? If an employee has some kind of drama going on at home, you cannot say things like this to them, “I know this is a hard time for you, and I’m sorry it weighs on your mind, but you have to leave those things at home when you come to work.” Get real; it’s just not gonna happen.
Hey, I said things like that to my employees at one time too: Guilty as charged. But now I know better.
What’s good for you is usually good for all your employees. Some call it the Golden Rule. I call it managing with aloha. If we all do it, work is also the most “challenging and rewarding” thing you can turn your attentions to and devote your time to. It will end up being your most productive time. And isn’t that what you want from your employees?
And in our month’s Ho‘ohana theme of Courage, here’s another thought. It’s easy to treat employees as subordinates you manage. However, it takes courage to manage them as people who have personal needs equal to your own.
Hana hou: Next time we’ll talk more about this from another angle. This “work is personal” mana‘o (attitude) is not a one way street in an organization managed and run with aloha. Employees have responsibilities that are professional and personal too, and they work best when they consider themselves partners in your business. More courage required.
A hui hou.
*If you have a copy of Managing with Aloha (mahalo!) you may want to read these related pages of the book, on how “work is personal” relates to:
Ho‘ohana — Chapter 2, page 33
‘Ohana — Chapter 7, page 96