Alaka‘i Managers — those who manage with ALOHA — are big fans of small wins.
Small wins represent the next-stepping which is incremental — we feel the win when we’ve made a small change, yet know it’s a significant step. As the adage says so well, good things have come in, or from, a small package.
That small change feels like winning to us, because it means we’ve set a certain path of accomplishment, and we aren’t going back now; we’ll keep going forward.
In a word, growth has happened.
That’s why the Alaka‘i Manager is such a big fan: A small win means that someone in their care has learned, gotten accomplished, and progressed — they’ve grown in their talent, strength, skills and knowledge. They’ve gotten better in a small way that is big to them: They’ve improved, and thus, they’ve become more competent and more self-assured about their own prowess.
When you are a great manager, your day-to-day focus is on fostering small wins. The joys you relish most are when they happen, and everyone in your workplace can celebrate them.
You have an eagle eye for where small wins might be germinating, and you fertilize those spots.
You are equally aware, and painfully so, of where small wins haven’t popped up for quite some time, and you go on the hunt for the root cause of any blockage so they can begin to bloom again, no matter the adversity.
In fostering small wins, the value which can help you the most is KULEANA: Take some time to review it, both here and in the pages of Managing with Aloha (KULEANA is the subject of Chapter 10.) Also recommended for your review: Next-stepping and other Verbs
On a person to person basis, start by getting crystal clear on what their responsibilities in your workplace entail, for responsibility tends to be a big word — it can use your help, help where you chunk it into the “good things in smaller packages.” Less is only more when clarity has led you to work with the right chunk in the first place.
Help people set goals which will give them those small wins which amount to acing their primary responsibilities first and foremost, for they get grounded in their true sense of belonging that way. Think in specifics, and in those bite-sized possibilities that can result in feeling a small win when they’re worked on purposely, and more effectively. As their manager and coach, see the next-stepping progression in your mind’s eye so you can guide them toward it.
Kuleana is one’s personal sense of responsibility. The person possessing Kuleana, believes in the strength of this value, and will be quick to say, “I accept my responsibilities, and I will be held accountable.” Kuleana speaks the workplace language of self-motivation, ownership, empowerment, and the personal transformation which can result. Effective delegation becomes about the sharing of Kuleana with others, recognizing where it rightfully belongs, or where it can facilitate hands on learning.
Kuleana can give us amazing clarity about what begins and ends with us as individuals. It will also give us a brutally honest clarity about our expectations of others: Are those expectations reasonable or not?
From Managing with Aloha (Chapter 10 preamble):
Kuleana is the value of responsibility. It drives self-motivation and self-reliance, for the desire to act comes from accepting our responsibility with deliberance and with diligence.
Responsibility seeks opportunity. Opportunity creates energy and excitement. Kuleana weaves empowerment and ownership into the opportunity that has been captured.
There is a transformation in Kuleana, one that comes from ho‘ohiki, keeping the promises you make to yourself.