We use the 9 Key Concepts of the Managing with Aloha philosophy as our categories here on this site, for we consider them the ‘bone structure’ in how we apply Managing with Aloha in our business thinking. Altogether, these 9 Key Concepts are the foundation of business plans which seek to incorporate Managing with Aloha in culture-building. May I tell you more about them?
These are the 9 Key Concepts in a short list, just as you see them in this site’s category listing when scrolling down the far right column:
- The Aloha Spirit
- Worthwhile Work
- Value Alignment
- The Role of the Manager Reconstructed
- Language of Intention
- The ‘Ohana in Business Model
- Strengths Management
- Sense of Place
- Palena ‘ole (Unlimited Capacity)
First and foremost, each of these concepts intersect with each of our 19 Values of Aloha so they are conducive to our achieving value alignment (specifically called out as concept no. 3) whatever the chosen mission and vision of our business. The 9 Key Concepts serve those values, by supporting their desired behaviors in a comprehensive, sensible business model.
These 9 Key Concepts function like good bones. Made up of specialized cells, our bones perform in a precise way, and the stronger they are, the better. We need our bones to be utilitarian in their function, and we need them distinctive for purposeful structure while jointed for flexible movement.
The 19 Values of Aloha complement The 9 Key Concepts in the same way our muscles will support and complement our bones. We need our values to be strong as well, their strength achieved in their belief and conviction. We exercise our values like muscles; values will continue to strengthen with our practice of them, and in turn, they will fortify our bone structure as that distinctive, purposeful structure we want it to be.
Like value-strengthen muscles, the bones of sound business concepts are enablers, and they do much more than function independently. There are over two hundred bones in the human skeleton, and we need the skeletal scaffolding we have in order to operate as naturally and smoothly as we do. Our bones need to be organized into the best possible arrangement to work for us, and work well. They need smart structure.
Healthy workplace cultures need smart structure too.
A healthy culture will flourish and thrive while it supports the mission and vision a business enterprise has set its’ sights on. Luckily, and as long as value alignment is our strategy, we can effectively focus on these 9 Key Concepts and not need over 200 as our bodies do!
Simply defined, a culture is a group of people with a common set of values and beliefs —they use the same muscles. How are people arranged to engage with each other, so that the culture is attentive to the right things, and is productive? How do they work in an organized manner?
This can be a daunting task. There is considerable movement in dynamic cultures. People are strivers; we’re movers and shakers intent on making stuff happen. We dream, we make plans, and we’re going somewhere — we’re the dynamos in a culture! What we do is important to us as individuals, and not just because we enlist in a business mission as working professionals. In Managing with Aloha, we believe that’s as it should be.
People ‘go to work’ for a meaningful business cause, and wherever they go, their personal values come with them as part of the deal. Their values must be aligned with the vision of that business, or at least with the mission set in motion to achieve it. Similar to our human skeletons, the organizational scaffolding of a well thought out business plan is required for the culture to function well, a scaffolding conducive to accomplishing mission steps in the best possible way.
I’m not talking about org charts and positional hierarchy here. I am talking about conceptual scaffolding — Cultural convictions that values can adhere to and align with, remaining consistent even as individual people come and go. Think of these cultural convictions as the pillars and hallmarks of a flourishing workplace. Think of them as good bones.
Business structure must be strong in its confidence but flexible; it must be comprehensive and cohesive yet innovative. There will be new strategic initiatives chosen as workflow progresses, and culture-blending must be possible; ‘same-old, same-old’ mediocrity isn’t acceptable. Change is inevitable, and we need to welcome it. A healthy, thriving culture runs on imagination.
Sounds practical, yes, but it’s exciting too!
The 9 Key Concepts are the conceptual scaffolding of Managing with Aloha. We offer them to you as well. Feel free to adopt these key concepts as your own.
A clarifying note for new readers: Our 9 Key Concepts are woven throughout Managing with Aloha, but they were not specifically listed in the book, for my goal was to concentrate on the 19 values and calling of the manager. There is more in the footnote below, so please keep reading!
You can employ these 9 Key Concepts in one of two ways.
Use them as a learning construct (as we do on this site, by using them as our categories), or apply them to your own business model and entrepreneurial pursuits.
Alaka‘i Managers (so named as the practitioners of Managing with Aloha) do both, using the 9 Key Concepts to learn, and to design strategic approaches to the work at hand (for their business industry, workplace locations and missions differ). They ask themselves a series of questions for each of these concepts, and their day-to-day work gets shaped by their individual answers:
- How does this conceptual conviction support our values?
- How does this support our mission (i.e. current work) and our vision (i.e. our best possible future)?
- How can I help the work make sense as a good manager, using this concept to continually improve our systems and processes?
- How will this conceptual conviction fuel positive energies, helping us grow and get better as human beings? How can I contribute as a better leader?
- What more can we learn about this?
This has become the signature of my own work as a workplace culture coach, for I’m usually coaching managers on conceptual and contextual intersection points: The Managing with Aloha philosophy of value-mapping will synchronize a company’s values at each Concept’s intersection point with value alignment for actionable practice. Value-alignment is walking the talk, and value-mapping makes it happen: Value-mapping increases probability.
Normally there are five to seven core values in a healthy workplace culture of confident, visionary intention. When the best possible intersection with the 9 Key Concepts happens for each of those core values, the workplace culture becomes value-aligned. It is stronger, more productive, and charged with creative energies rooted in value-based wisdom, sound history, cumulative experience — and future expectation. It is also much more satisfying to you, and more fun to be involved with.
Brief descriptions of the 9 Key Concepts follow, to make it easier for you to read through them as the comprehensive Managing with Aloha business construct they are within our model. As you read through them, keep one or two of your own values in mind; choose baseline ones you feel strongest about, such as family or respect. You will begin to sense their connections quite naturally, instinctively feeling their support for your own cultural convictions.
9 Key Concepts:
Culture-building with Managing with Aloha
Key 1. THE ALOHA SPIRIT:
Aloha is the genuine spirit of all relationships, and the fertile ground from which everything else will thrive. Your Aloha is the authenticity you bring to your connections with others, and to the self-expression of your work. Everyone has ALOHA; value alignment helps you bring it to fuller expression within whatever you do, urging you to live, work, manage and lead from the inside out. Your “inside” is an amazing stronghold, and an abundant source you can tap into.
Key 2. WORTHWHILE WORK:
HO‘OHANA is the Hawaiian value of worthwhile work, and it requires a personal approach. Work with passion, with purpose and intention, and with full joy while realizing your potential for growth and creativity. When you Ho‘ohana you are actively engaged in creating your future; you work on purpose, and make things happen. You create your best possible life and you forge your own destiny, for you have connected your wide-awake intentions to the work you have chosen to do, or to learn more about.
Key 3. VALUE ALIGNMENT:
Work with integrity by working true to your values, for your values will drive your best, and most desirable behaviors. Focus all efforts on the right mission and the right vision (yours!) for it honors your sense of self and brings compelling pictures of the future within your reach, making them your probable legacy. Whether for a business partnership or specific team, deliberate value-alignment creates a healthy organizational culture for everyone involved: When we want to collaborate and co-create, shared values equip and energize us.
* I have written a $4.99 ebook to cover value alignment in greater detail: Preview Value Your Month to Value Your Life here. Coaching your team through a value of the month program is the very best “Managing with Aloha jumpstart” an Alaka‘i Manager can take, for leading as you learn with customized culture-building as the result.
Key 4. THE ROLE OF THE MANAGER RECONSTRUCTED:
Managers must own workplace engagement and be comfortable with facilitating change, creative innovation, and development of the human asset. The “reconstruction” we require in Managing with Aloha is so this expectation of the Alaka‘i Manager is both reasonable and possible, and so they can channel human energies as our most important resource, they themselves having the time, energy, and support needed in doing so. Convention may work against us, where historically, people have become managers for reasons other than the right one: Managing is their calling. A new role for managers must be explicitly valued by the entire organization as critically important to their better success: Managers can then have ‘personal bandwidth’ for assuming a newly reinvented role, one which delivers better results both personally and professionally, and in their stewardship of the workplace culture.
Key 5. LANGUAGE OF INTENTION:
Language, vocabulary, and conversation combine as our primary tools in business communications, just as they do in our lives: What we speak is fifty times more important than what we read or write. The need for CLEAR, intentional, reliable and responsive communication is critical in thriving businesses — and in learning cultures, for we learn an extraordinary amount from other people. Drive communication of the right cultural messages, and you drive mission momentum and worthwhile energies. Communication will factor into every single value in some way as its primary enabler. The Managing with Aloha language of intention is inclusive, and is therefore defined as the “Language of We” with the value of KĀKOU as guiding light.
Key 6. THE ‘OHANA IN BUSINESS MODEL:
The best form for your life CAN be the best form for your ‘Ohana in Business® as well, where the objectives of each will support the other — they need not be mutually exclusive. A business can be more than self-sustainable and profitable: It can thrive in perpetuity though key people will come and go. In Managing with Aloha we learn a values-based business model and organizational structure simultaneous to learning productivity practices which drive ROI (return on investment) and ROA (return on your attentions). There is art and science in business, and we love it all: Business modeling is never boring in an MWA culture, and we value financial literacy in the complete education of sustainable modeling.
Key 7. STRENGTHS MANAGEMENT:
Keys 1 through 6 have put a great foundation in place for your business to thrive within: Together they have created the best possible launching pad for your organizational culture, with a business model that will support and sustain it. Now we turn to bigger investments made in each employee, business partner, and stakeholder involved, so you can truly say, “Our people are our biggest asset” —and mean it. Cooperation, connectivity and collaboration evolve to optimization and co-evolutionary creativity. Alaka‘i Managers consistently work on defining and supporting partnerships with employees (and we call each other business partners; the word ‘employee’ is only used on this site for its commonly accepted connotations.) In the workplaces managed with ALOHA we manage strengths, not standards. Feeling good must include feeling strong.
Key 8. SENSE OF PLACE:
Think “working in my neighborhood” for no culture exists in a vacuum. Sense of Place is both the feel OF a place, and the feel FOR a place. Sense of Place is about greater community locally and connectivity globally. It is saying a “thank you” with stewardship, and engaging at a higher level with those places which have gotten you this far, and continue to nourish you daily in a multitude of tiny ways that collectively are absolutely HUGE factors in your success. It is giving back, recognizing that place nurtures and sustains us; it shapes our experiences and lends cultural richness to life. Always will.
Key 9. PALENA ‘OLE:
Palena ‘ole is the Hawaiian concept of unlimited capacity. This is your exponential growth stage, and about seeing your bigger and better leadership dreams come to fruition. Think “Legacy” and “Abundance” and welcome the coaching of PONO into your life as the value it is. We create our abundance by honoring human capacity; physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. When we seek inclusive, full engagement and optimal productivity, any scarcity will be banished. Growth is welcomed and change is never feared; enthusiasm flourishes. PALENA ‘OLE is an everyday attitude in an ‘Ohana in Business, assuming that growth and abundance is always present as an opportunity. Given voice, Palena ‘ole sounds like this: “Don’t limit yourself! Why settle for ‘either/or’ when we can go for the ‘and’ and be better?”
Additional Reading here on site:
- The 9 Key Concepts — Why these 9? will cover more of our founding intentions specific to Managing with Aloha as a philosophy.
- Read more about viable models, in The Rub of the Business Model is Solved by your Values.
- Intuition x9 will illustrate a way we use the 9 Key Concepts in our learning, applying them to yet another concept.
The 9 Key Concepts are the subject of my second book, Business Thinking with Aloha, a book which also differs in intended audience: I wrote it with my two children in mind, both then in college, and ready to enter the working world as young adults with career choices quite different from my own.
From the book’s synopsis: “Become a Business Thinker. Re-imagine work, and gain better control of your life as you do so, even if you never decide to go into business for yourself.” You can buy BTWA on Kindle and on Smashwords.