The value of learning might very well be prime example of a value that most of us share, for learning is also a human being’s survival skill.
What differs between us, is how much this value reaches into our lives above pure survival — above those hierarchy levels Maslow called our physiological needs (survival), safety needs (our sense of security), love and community (our sense of belonging): Once those needs are met in at least a baseline way, how prevalent will learning be in our day-to-day living?
Learning can also come with its share of baggage, the baggage of our past experiences with it. There is immense variation in the family, school, athletic, professional and self-development landscapes!
Thus, in awareness of these two variables, learning’s current intensity and the hefty experience it might carry, I always advise Alaka‘i Managers who are new practitioners of value-based culture building, to start their ‘Ike loa value alignment efforts with that first phrase that appears beneath the heading of ‘Ike loa in Managing with Aloha: “To know well.”
We can leapfrog over knowing well, dismissing it with relative ease, in wanting to work on those ‘higher and [supposedly] better’ levels of learning that have to do with esteem and self-actualization, but I urge Alaka‘i Managers — and I urge you — to slow down, be less dismissive, and spend some time thinking about this learning practice of knowing well. To know, and know well, can open a lot of doors for you, doors you didn’t even notice before.
What would you like to know?
If you sit with an open journal page (and a cup of tea or coffee is nice, helping as they do in our slowing down when we need to), I’ll bet you could very easily come up with a short list of what you’d like to know better than you presently do, devoting time to next-stepping toward knowing it better. Sidestep work for a moment, and think about the hobbies you’d like to give more time to. And be specific: Don’t list ‘golf” — list the club you want to pull out of your bag more than you do. Don’t list ‘gardening‘ — list the scientific name of the plant genus you want to cultivate, and why.
The more you know, in this realm of ‘knowing well,’ the more interestingness you will weave into your life, i.e. into your golfing and gardening experiences (in those examples).
Step back into your work world, and your list might get long, frenzied even, as you press pen onto page with more intensity, trying to write everything down.
Go for it, and make your list, however once you’re done I want you to put that one aside: The head-clearing is enough for now, and the items you listed will be on that page when you’re ready for them. Turn your journal page for another list.
What would you like to know about other people?
On this one, write down the names of everyone on your team. If you don’t have a set team, list the names of the people you work with regularly or most frequently on a day-to-day basis.
Now next to their names, write down how you can get to know them better.
Not what you want to know about them (they’ll eventually tell you themselves), but how you, in what you can simply do, can get to know them better through proactive, thoughtful actions:
Maybe a commitment to personal phone calls instead of brief texting and emailing…
Maybe an invitation to coffee or lunch…
Maybe asking for their ideas on a project you’re tackling, or the next time you find you’re stuck…
Maybe an invitation to walk with you and chat next time you take a stretch or nature-break…
Maybe you’ll initiate a conversation you’ve been meaning to have with them for quite some time…
Maybe you’ll be a connector for them, introducing them to someone on your extended team, or in your network…
Maybe you want to study a facet of their work which is foreign to you, asking them to help you…
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll weave them into your Daily Five Minutes, the best workplace circle of comfort, and relationship-builder of knowing well that there is. To review the Daily Five Minutes — required for anyone wishing to call themselves an Alaka‘i Manager — go to page 145 in the book, or click here: Revisiting the Daily 5 Minutes: Lessons Learned.
The more you know, in this realm of ‘knowing well,’ the better, the more interesting, and the more enjoyable your relationships and partnering will be, and the more you will be working with Aloha — theirs and yours.
Get to know the people who surround you, and resolve never to take them for granted. They will open doors for you.
The art of conversation is a constant topic in Managing with Aloha cultures, for talking is like a tap from which human spirit-spilling will naturally flow. Conversations are like puzzle pieces in our Language of Intention [Key 5] and they come together in glorious pictures of sharing, understanding and empathy. They are the pictures of healthier workplace cultures, where confusion melts away, and clarity gets ever clearer as people get honored. They are pictures where people believe “we are better together” and they act that way.
These are the precepts of conversation at Say Leadership Coaching — we call them “MWA Conversation 101” internally, harking back to their history in the Managing with Aloha philosophy, and we will often refer to them as “a Kākou kind of thing” in better communication practices, referring to KĀKOU as their value-driver. In our batch of 5 (our preference in any list-making), they are:
1 — Converse daily. Come up for conversational air.
2 — If you can talk about it instead of writing about it, do.
3 — Did you listen? What did you hear?
4 — Seek an agreement in each and every conversation you have.
5 — Enjoy it. Relish conversations and never dread them.
Read more about each one: Conversational Catch-up ~ with Aloha
Bonus Linklove: All Conversations Are Not Created Equal