Huddle in 5: Celebrate the Positive, Big and Small

I am hoping you will read this before your pre-shift huddles and staff meetings this coming week.

Managers will tell me they get blocked in having daily pre-shift huddles or weekly staff meetings much the same way that authors and bloggers get writer’s block: They wonder, “What shall we talk about today?”

Well, current affairs can give you a wealth of ideas.

Seek an Aloha Opinion of the News

All this brouhaha about the Nobel Peace Prize committee lowering their standards in awarding their highest honor to President Obama saddens me greatly.

Nobel Peace Prize Seen in a New Light:
“Bob Schieffer Says Regardless of Why Obama Was Given Award, the Nobel Will Never Look the Same Again”

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Normally I admire Bob Schieffer, but this time I am disappointed. (And for the record, I disagree with him). In my mana‘o, I believe that journalists with his sphere of considerable reach can do better, respecting the influence they have by using it to share more that is positive, and less that is negative. This was such a sorry waste of valuable airtime for an opinion already beaten to death these past two days.

I have not looked into the field of choice had by The Norwegian Nobel Committee, and will clearly state that I do not have a well-informed opinion as to if in fact President Obama was the best candidate or not. Yet even IF he was a small best in a field of shortfalls compared to past history ”“ even IF that is true ”“ what does all this negative conversation about it say about us, and our human condition, that we cannot enjoy small victories and where they have the potential to take us? What is wrong with us, that we cannot enjoy positive news, focus on the good it can engender, and not degrade it? Why do we chip away at steps forward, pulling leaders back into our commiserating ranks instead of supporting them, and cheering them on?

And what have the rest of us done, to even be worthy of equal consideration in the first place?

We are better than this.

So what can we do?

We can shift toward ‘Ike loa, learning from it

‘Ike loa: Our value of continuous learning. Our intention to seek more wisdom.

Much as the predominantly negative reaction to the Nobel Peace Prize award saddens me, there is one thing I love about controversy: It gets people talking. It challenges them to have an opinion which illustrates their personal values as clearly as if they were to hold a sign saying, “I am an optimist” or “I am a pessimist.”

I challenge every one of you who is a manager to use these reactions as conversational firewood in your own workplace huddles this coming week. Use it as your opportunity to

  1. learn more about the present-day mood of your own organizational culture,
  2. make workplace discoveries in what you learn,
  3. and follow-up with improvements.

Here is a Huddle in 5:

1. Ask your teams: “Is everyone aware of the current controversy surrounding this year’s Nobel Peace Prize?”
Take silent mental note of who is on top of the news and who is not.

2. Next, ask: “Would anyone like to briefly state the news for those needing to be brought up to date?”
Give your informal leaders and team communicators the opportunity to speak. The more others speak, the more opportunity you have as their manager to listen, and to learn more about them.

3. Next, ask: “How do the rest of you feel about this?”
Get everyone to speak up and state an opinion. Not speaking up in your workplace huddles and meetings should NOT be an option.

4. Next, phrase a question that will bring current affair lessons-learned into the laboratory of your workplace, something as simple as: “What can we learn from this?” or “What happens here? How do we tend to react when good news is shared in our workplace, whether it is big or small, and whether we feel it is deserved or not?”
Again, encourage others to speak up. Do not be so quick to fill the silence: Give them the quiet moments they need to think about it.

5. Wrap up. Ask, “How do you think we can improve?” and clearly state your expectation: “I feel we are a healthier workplace when we can find the good in every victory we have, both large and small. Please join me in helping me think about that, and in helping me make that happen.”
If you do feel you have much room to improve, let everyone know this was just an opening, and you are willing to continue the conversation in another venue or privately. Follow-up on whatever suggestions come up.

The Press Release

If you have not yet seen it, a copy of the press release issued by The Norwegian Nobel Committee follows.

There is a wealth of good said within these statements, and as a citizen of planet Earth and the human race, I am choosing to celebrate it. Study it, take it apart, and you will see there is much you could talk about in exploring your own workplace values, and your own business contributions to your community.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”

Oslo, October 9, 2009

Additional Reading:

Obama’s Nobel Prize a Reflection of Aloha’s Potential
by Dr. Trisha Kehaulani Watson at He Hawai‘i Au

My subheading above asks you to “Seek an Aloha Opinion of the News” and that is what Trisha did (in stark contrast to how Bob Schieffer misused his national platform).

Another Example of bringing Current Affairs to your Huddles:

Is Forever a Good Business Strategy?
A Huddle suggestion connected to financial literacy, written when the U.S. Postal Service issued their Forever stamp.


  1. Rosa Say says

    If you were to do a Google search with the words “why Obama won the Noble Peace Prize,” over 3500 entries will be noted.
    ~ Rodney Johnson,

    If you are a manager pursuing this opportunity for conversation and/or your own lessons learned, here are two articles you might want to take a look at:

    1. Is your HR Department smarter than the Nobel Committee?
    Wally Bock talks about potential versus performance at his Three Star Leadership blog

    2. A Lesson From The Nobel Peace Prize
    Rodney Johnson coaches business leaders about how prizes and awards should not be awarded within this risk of diminishing their perceived worth.


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