Management is about getting things done through other people; it doesn’t get any more basic than that.
You will best get things done through others by incorporating the values you share with them, values which embrace collaboration, and values which are fundamental good practices in the business environment.
Aloha is the most universal value of them all: Aloha is the rootstock of every other value we will learn about.
—From the Introduction to Managing with Aloha
It is Day 57 of the Kia‘i occupation at Pu‘uhuluhulu as I write this, and I’ve made a shift in my attentions to it. I’ve gone from learning more and taking a stand on the issue itself (though the learning is certainly continuing), to observing Kia‘i behaviors more closely in regard to the creating of a grassroots movement.
(The Kia‘i are the self-described ‘protectors’ of Maunakea.)
My fascination is growing, for we can rightly call this culture in the making.
Merriam-Webster defines grass roots as;
1 : the very foundation or source
// You must attack the problem at the grass roots
2 : the basic level of society or of an organization especially as viewed in relation to higher or more centralized positions of power
// was losing touch with the party’s grass roots
I still get distressed at the divisions I’m seeing in Hawai‘i now, for I hold strong to my hope Aloha Kākou and Pono will prevail and heal us, however the researcher and history buff within me is getting reawakened, given my ho‘ohana as a workplace culture coach.
I don’t agree with all of their messaging, and it bothers me when untruths are spread, however I must say I am very impressed with how the Kia‘i have fostered a grassroots movement centered on the reawakening of their ethnicity.
Some insist this is not a reawakening, for they’ll doggedly point to their longstanding cultural oppression under Hawaii’s colonization since the overthrow of the monarchy. Yet none of us lived back then, and this is indeed a new flashpoint for many who know the history and are dismayed by it, but will admit past ‘suffering’ is not what drives them now. Stories of individual enrollment in the cause are many, such as this one in Civil Beat (they are doing an outstanding job covering this):
Three Young Protesters, Three Different Paths To Mauna Kea
“They all felt stirrings of Hawaiian identity as youngsters, but these three protesters were shaped by pivotal experiences as young adults.”
As you might imagine, I’ve been watching the values in play, and how they are articulated and shared. Their uniforming is but one example: Traditional Hawaiian garb is mixed in with modern-branded T-shirts and caps, and people drape themselves in flags, while ‘commercial colonialism’ is severely frowned upon; people are careful to only buy merchandise where 100% of the proceeds go to furthering the movement.
I’ve been listening to the ‘Language of We’ develop, in the exceptionally smart use of modern media (as with the hashtags in the screen grab below) and in their precise balance of still-dominant spoken English, and carefully selected diacritically-correct Hawaiian words in the communications chosen to be spreadable. Among all players, the Kia‘i control the narrative.
Two days ago, the Kia‘i movement was able to add the desecration of the Hawaiian flag to their core message of stopping the desecration of Maunakea, courtesy of the way the state handled the dismantling of an illegal building constructed at Pu‘uhululu—the State acted within their rights, but did so badly.
Respect for a flag should be held by everyone, and it was certainly disrespectful to use the Hawaiian flag as a barricade, nailing it in place with 2 by 4s, yet that has been overlooked;
I’ve been watching the Kia‘i brand of leadership. It’s been hard to individualize it most times, for there is no single leader or spokesperson, yet leadership is unquestionably in play within this movement.
As history has repeatedly shown, ego is remarkably missing from strong grassroots movements: there are leaders, but they’re fine with working within their own circles of influence and not being ‘the’ leader—they prefer it that way, in fact, and understand it is much more effective.
When you want significant change to happen, you must create a tribe, rally your troops—strategists, generals and warriors alike—and build an army: You cannot do it alone. You must find people who are passionate, who are driven by your mission, and who will put in the time and personal expense to advance that mission.
Shared leadership gives individuals the opportunity to duck under cover when they need to recharge. Shared leadership shares the burden of it, so those feeling stronger at any given moment can step forward and seize the reins. This passage in Managing with Aloha comes back to mind:
There is a saying we have in Hawai‘i that has been attributed to King Kamehameha when he spoke to his warriors before the fierce battles it took to unify his island kingdom. He asked them to remember that as long as they were Lōkahi, they were unified in their cause, and Kākou, they remained together as one in the battle, they could not easily be defeated.
The saying was, “Hāpai ka pōhaku aka mai hāpai ke kaumaha.” which means, “Lift the rock, but not the weight; don’t carry the burden.”
When all of us are together, and all hands grab hold of a boulder, it does not take as much individual effort to move it. The weight of the rock is the same, but it is not as heavy.
The burden is no longer too great to bear, for no one person alone need do so. We are Kākou, we are all together, and so we lift together. Any burden can be lighter if we tackle it together.
There is a lot of teaching going on in this brand of shared leadership, and learning is thriving.
One of the beautiful things happening now is the renewed reverence for the kūpuna, the elders. It’s not necessarily because of what they know, but because they are older and have seen so much in their lifetimes; there’s recognition of that value, and appreciation when they speak.
Learning need not include personal suffering, and the victim mentality still prevalent in this movement isn’t necessary however; there is much to learn about the Hawaiian culture, and tapping into its richness is more than enough. The kūpuna have much more experiential learning to share—and they are. Elevating Kapu Aloha, as the message which unifies the kūpuna as it regulates the behavior of the movement, has been a stroke of genius; it has even inspired the publishing of a Wikipedia page.
As they speak now, the kūpuna are simultaneously raising more leaders in the ranks of the youth, and youth of all ages, including adults-in-age who are newly learning their own Hawaiian culture.
This is an interesting read, on how prayer and religion factor into this movement: In Hawai‘i, ‘protectors’ fight telescope project with prayer, Jack Jenkins for Religion News Service (RNS)
I don’t agree with all tactics, and no movement can be perfectly executed when many leaders are involved and passions ignite, however this movement is certainly one to watch. We managers can learn a lot by watching these events unfold and applying them to the fledgling movements within our workplaces we want to support and encourage.