Alaka‘i ABCs: What do you stand for? published a terrific article recently in honor of the 100th anniversary of Peter Drucker’s birth:

The Wisdom of Peter Drucker from A to Z
Known widely as the father of management, Peter Drucker formulated many concepts about business that we now take for granted. On the 100th anniversary of his birth, we take a look at Drucker’s contributions, from A to Z…

I encourage you to click over and read it: Author Leigh Buchanan has captured many highlights of this great man’s contributions to what we now think of as both the art and science of management. (Find out why she chose Hitler for “H” and Schumpeter for “S.” I want to see much more Schumpeter influence within our communities, that’s for sure.)

As I read through the article it struck me that penning one’s ABCs would be a great exercise for any manager to tackle when he or she is poised to lead, for it would help clarify your Language of Intention:

  • What are the ABCs of what you believe in, love to study and add to, and never tire of thinking about?
  • What are the things you talk about repeatedly and purposely, not caring that others have heard you talk about them before? (they can never hear it enough as far as you’re concerned.)
  • What do you stand for, and everyone knows it? They even mimic you, and you are happy they do!
  • What ideas are now gelling for you, and you would like to stand for them, putting your signature on them?
  • When others think of those concepts on your list, do they think of you, and remember your passionate energy?
  • When people try to explain those concepts, do they borrow your words, and repeat your stories?

Knowing I should first try what I ask you to do, I gave the exercise a shot, and this is what I came up with for me and my own Rosa Say Alaka‘i ABCs. X and Z are tough, and I’ll need to think a bit harder about them. I also found I would need the letter S three times, for I refuse to choose among them! However it was a very interesting exercise for me, and it revealed those things I have let slip and need to revitalize, championing them more than I have been.

If you are seeking to lead an organization or a team right now, I would bet doing this exercise would help frame your thinking too: What will you be talking about in the next few weeks, and in the next year?

I invite you to share your Alaka‘i ABCs in the comments, for I would love to read them and get a better sense of what is important to you. As promised, here are mine. If any of them surprise you, I need to do a much better job in writing this blog!

A – Aloha – as the rootstock, and our spirit-spilling
B – Belief – The Calling of Management and 10 Beliefs of Great Managers (My mana‘o)
C – Culture Coaching within our workplaces
D – Daily 5 Minutes – primary communications tool in a Managing with Aloha work culture
E – Energy – as our greatest resource, more than time, more than financial capital
F – Four Peaks – Our mountain-climbing within the work competencies we must learn (Live, Work, Manage, Lead)
G – Greatness and defining what ours will be (KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u)
H – Ho‘ohana and our Ho‘ohana Community
I – Intention – to direct and focus our Attention
J – Joyful Jubilant Learning – the sequential and consequential path of ‘Ike loa, lifelong learning
K – Ka lā hiki olaConstant reinvention and the Dawning of a New Day
L – Language of Intention – The highly intentional way we communicate, and your Language of Leadership
M – Mission of Management Mentorship – This is the mission of my business endeavors, the Say Leadership Coaching intention to bring dignity and nobility to the management profession, and reveal your Sweet Spot
N – Nānā i ke kumu – Looking to the Source for our truth (both instinctive and intellectual honesty)
O – ‘Ohana in Business – The sustainability of our cultures (a form and function organizational concept)
P – Palena ‘ole – Unlimited capacity and our abundance mentality about our ‘Imi ola future
Q – Question everything. To banish mediocrity there can be no auto pilot, no sacred cows, no tacit approval (the 3 sins of management)
R – Role of the Manager – It must change if we want our workplaces to be healthier
S – Strengths Management – We must optimize what makes us strong, and make our weaknesses irrelevant
S – Sense of Place, it gives us context for our values and so much more
S – Sense of Workplace – our current Call to Action
T – Talking Storywe can never have enough conversation which matters, revealing our personal story and kaona
U – Usefulness – the practicality of what we seek to achieve, leading to common sense practices
V – Values and Value Alignment – they ground us in our truth, they connect us to our universal humanity
W – Work – Bigger than job, larger than career, the wonder that is Ho‘ohana and the work ethic we are all yearning to get back
Y – You. As important in making my own life meaningful and enjoyable
Photo credit: Alphabet 20 by Leo Reynolds on Flickr


  1. says

    What an interesting exercise Rosa, thank you for sharing it.

    I’d offer these for you:

    X: the extra you give that makes the difference and encourages others to look for theirs

    Z: the Z in A-Z values completion and finishing things, delivering on what you said you would do

    I think I will need to this for myself at Confident Writing sometime too.
    .-= Joanna Young ´s last blog ..What Twitter Makes Me Grateful for: A Tweetsgiving Post =-.

    • Rosa Say says

      Mahalo nui Joanna, I do like those additions – very much so! Your Z for me gets me to think about our constancy with the Sweet Closure initiative :-)

      I would very much look forward to reading what you come up with on Confident Writing… a few letters on what comes to mind for me for you:

      C – Community and how it has blossomed for you in light of the genuine grace you give to others who comment for you
      T – Themes and the Thematic Expression which gives such flow to what you freshly offer
      and of course
      W – Writing as the Invitation it has become when offered within your mentorship

    • Rosa Say says

      Wonderful job Paul, thank you for trying the exercise and sharing your result! I do like the brevity of your ABCs compared to mine: They capture a powerful belief statement for you, helping someone (like me!) to get to know you for the first time in a meaningful way.