I have a wonderful client who I love working with.
This client has embraced Managing with Aloha with as big a bear hug as anyone can give it. Right now, KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u could be their middle name, for indeed, it has become a battle cry in their company. They currently joke with me that they are striving to be my poster children for MWA, so much so that when I visited them last week I walked into a room of leaders waiting for me with warpaint striped on their cheeks!
Yet recently I had a telephone conversation with one of them who was very discouraged, explaining to me that,
“It just doesn’t seem right to get people all charged up and excited about all the right things, asking them to KÅ«lia and strive, reaching higher and higher for excellence, when we just don’t pay them as well as they’d be paid if they left us to go work somewhere else.”
I agree, it’s not
The managers in this company are in a tough spot to be in. This is a company in turmoil because they feel they know what to do, they feel they know how to get from good to great, and they love the people they work with, yet they are struggling with retention. Unfilled vacancies are adding to the workload of those who valiantly carry the torch, and even though they know that managing with aloha is the right thing to do, it gets tougher and tougher to rally behind and pull off.
In this particular case, I have not pulled back from giving them the KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u message; we have redirected it to solving their issue with a poor compensation structure within the company. It’s a biggie, and it will take all the creativity and determination we can muster.
However that IS what KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u takes. Striving for excellence demands bucket loads of creativity and determination. In cases like this one, it also demands the bravery (there’s that word again) to simply not accept a wrong: Their compensation structure is very clearly broken.
When you manage with aloha, having a business model with imbalance in what you can afford to pay the people who work for you is not acceptable. Period.
If you cannot make the numbers work, you cannot make the business work in the best possible way, taking it from okay to good, and from good to great.
with Aloha demands business models with aloha.
Take care of your people first and foremost: If you don’t, you cannot expect them to take care of your customers and the health of your business, and still sleep well at night feeling good about it.