The hospitality of complete giving
Welcome guests and strangers with Aloha
Do you ever get the feeling the world is conspiring somehow, to reinforce circumstances or issues you’ve had on your mind?
It’s not uncommon, especially in a world so crazily over-connected, as ours seems to be these days. You get some kind of drip, drip, drip into the hazy part of your consciousness, and suddenly water pools; it begins to swirl around you; you find you’ve no choice but to take notice of it before the water level gets too high, or a dam breaks. You’ve got to find that leak, and stop it!
There are times the premonitions you’ve had can be eerie, and downright spooky. When that happens, the pragmatist in me will tell myself there wasn’t anything eerie about it at all—you were simply meant to pay attention, so stop questioning yourself, and do so.
That happened for me recently with the service debacle of United Airlines. To be more accurate, there was no ‘service’ to speak of, just a policy fiasco, and that unfortunate event was my dam nearing breaking point in a flood of customer service disappointments.
As our #AlohaIntentions value immersion in May and June 2017, I’m hoping you’ll decide to help me find all our customer service leaks, and stop them.
Here’s the thing about water leaks: To stop the flow, you’ve got to find its’ source.
In the case of United Airlines, some have said the source is bad policy. Others have said the source isn’t policy as much as poor management coupled with a lack of training. Others, have said the airline industry as a whole doesn’t really value customers to begin with, pitting those customers in class warfare to boost profits. All those theories point to the fact that United Airlines has a LOT of work to do —in my Ho‘ohana Community newsletter, my focus was on the United Airlines staff: Fly the Friendly Skies or Fly the Coop?
I suspect, as do still others, that the true source has to do with the basics of the airline industry’s business model, and how it has become so badly broken in several places, not just one. Fixes, like their settling with passenger David Dao, are reactionary, and have become very costly and difficult.
As for my premonition, the drip, drip, drip started for me long before the April 9th incident hurtling United Airlines into these discussions. Further back than that, it happened about two weeks before my March 10th deadline to submit my value essay on Ho‘okipa, the Hawaiian value of service and hospitality, to the Ke Ola Magazine editors.
Far as I can pinpoint it, my first drip was a question someone asked me in one of my Managing with Aloha workshops: “What’s a manager supposed to do, when he knows he just can’t afford to give the customer the level of Aloha service that customer should be given?”
In this particular case, it quickly became clear the question was about labor costs, and bare-bones staffing levels, so that’s the challenge we talked about. However the drips wouldn’t stop, as I continued to think about his question afterwards, and asked myself the related question:
How else is Aloha-caliber delivery sabotaged in customer service, because people feel they simply cannot afford to give it?
The dripping seemed to increase when I got into another conversation, with a business owner who passionately informed me that raising the minimum wage in Hawai‘i would sink his business—paying his people more, even though he felt they deserved it, and should get an increase, was simply something he could not afford.
He did not like my answer for him: “If that’s truly the case, your business model has to change, so you can feel better about it.”
It was becoming very clear to me what my Ke Ola essay had to be about, and the United Airlines fiasco hadn’t even happened yet!
Drip, drip, drip… In my final proofing of my new essay on Ho‘okipa, I added that last line which always previews what will follow in two months time. As you will see, it says: “Next issue, July & August, 2017: We revisit ‘Ohana, the value-driver of the Managing with Aloha ‘Ohana in Business model.” Getting started before then, with a Ho‘okipa essay about business plans, and business models which make service sense, made perfect sense.
Yes, the world conspires sometimes, and we need to pay attention. When the world conspires, it also means we can work together better, in sync with our current attentions.
Begin May with me, over at RosaSay.com for our #AlohaIntentions with Ho‘okipa:
Our Ho‘okipa Value Immersion
Once you have read the essay, ask yourself this question: “Does my/our business plan make Ho‘okipa service and hospitality ‘affordable’ and easy to deliver for us?”
Prepare for the next two months’ value immersion with Ho‘okipa:
1. Pull out and examine your current business model. If not immediately accessible to you, write it down in your own words, as you understand it.
2. Second, analyze it: Is your business model conducive to the exceptional delivery of Ho‘okipa inspired service and hospitality? If not, what’s the problem? Is the problem fixable for you, in whole or in part? What can you do, and what can you do with the assistance of others?—Who?
3. Third, set your Aloha Intentions: What do you hope to achieve in the next two months time? Answer as relates to your delivery of service and hospitality, and thus, can be supported by our value immersion here on ManagingWithAloha.com with the Ho‘ohana Community.
NOTE —If you are reading this posting through completely first:
My new essay for Ke Ola and RosaSay.com clarifies the difference between business models and business plans.
Don’t skip it or forget!
To review what ‘value immersion’ is all about:
“Immersion means to go ‘all in.’ When you choose a value for your workplace culture, you align it completely — in everything you do. VALUE IMMERSION is flexible and adaptive when it has your constant attention: When confronting change, you realign and audit your value integrity in every strategic juncture. Remember: You can change your values too, growing them as your culture grows.”
—Via our value alignment vocabulary here: Curating Value Alignment.
I look forward to sharing these next two months with you, as we delve into Ho‘okipa to learn more, know well, and work on our service delivery together.
We Ho‘ohana Kākou!
Subscribe for our weekly newsletter:
Talking Story with the Ho‘ohana Community.
Preview the updates in Managing with Aloha, Second Edition, just released Summer, 2016
Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business
Our value immersion study for the months of May and June 2017:
Ho‘okipa is a Game Changer in Service.