What does ‘Ohana mean to you?

There are three things I immediately associate with the value of ‘Ohana whenever I think about it, and within the context of our Managing with Aloha practice:

  1. Form and function; i.e. how ‘Ohana is “the human circle of Aloha.” There are so many comforts within that circle!
  2. Inclusiveness is not just for families. Form can be ‘Ohana-driven in shaping organizational structure, and for behavioral culture building; i.e. all an “‘Ohana in Business” [Key 6] can possibly be.
  3. Inputs and outputs, particularly those driven by conversation, and by the communication processes we align with all our operational stuff; i.e. the way that ‘Ohana is guaranteed to get people talking.

I have expanded a bit more on each of these in the article I wrote on ‘Ohana for the March/April 2014 issue of Ke Ola magazine being distributed today: You can read a copy archived on RosaSay.com: ‘Ohana, the Value of Family Aloha.

I mostly go into number 2., given the single-page limits of the magazine. If number 1. is more of interest to you, I think you will enjoy revisiting the chapter in my book. For this post, here on ManagingWithAloha.com, let’s talk story a little bit more about number 3.

Talk to me. Talk of us, and of Who we Are

‘Ohana is an excellent value-driven talk story to have when you are looking for staff input, and it need not be done in formal meetings. In fact, the more informal it is, likely the better:

Huddle up, and Talk Story.

I encourage Alaka‘i Managers to talk story often — to huddle with their team (and do call it a ‘huddle’ instead of a ‘meeting’) and simply talk about something and just about anything, where the manager has no issue or resolution in mind, and no agenda of any kind other than to get everyone in the team talking, encouraging their stories to be told and listened to.

To hear the story, listen to the values… Huddles, Values and the Work Ethic we Value

A Review of Our Basics: To ‘manage with Aloha’ is to honor values, and to use them as relevant workplace tools, aligning work practices with values-based belief, conviction, and cause. To identify the personal values of their team, a manager must learn to listen to the talk stories they encourage, in order to have values reveal themselves in presently held context, i.e. within each human being.

Please stop what you are doing for a moment, and think about this. Think about the spontaneity, and genuine giving of heartfelt opinion that will occur during your talking story opportunities. Those are the inputs which seem to flow of their own emotion, compared to those times people look stumped, ill-prepared to answer a question on a meeting agenda, or times they simply are not in the mood to speak up, suggest something, participate, and get involved.

‘Ohana is our universally needed comfort, and thus, humanity’s universal understanding.

As the subject matter of a conversation, ‘Ohana is a pretty magical blending of agenda hopes and talking story. ‘Ohana can be a value-mapping topic of your suggestion, but everyone is an expert on family in some way — and they are confident in their expertise, very willing to give it, secure in the telling of their experiences, both good, and not so good.

There are natural times people check in, and
there are also times people naturally check out.
With ‘Ohana, they are virtually guaranteed to check in.

What other values come immediately to mind for you, for this same conversational effect?

From Ke Ola:
“The ‘Let’s Talk Story’ title we gave to these meetings was very appropriate, for they beautifully illustrated something else about the value of ‘Ohana: It gets people talking, and empathizing. The conversation about this value is often supportive, passionate, and extremely positive.”

“This spring, I encourage you to take up the discussion, and walk the talk of ‘Ohana in your own workplace, whether called a family business, a corporate one, a not-for-profit, or a volunteering effort. What behaviors can the value of ‘Ohana, as our human circle of Aloha, inspire in you, and in your culture-building?”
‘Ohana, the Value of Family Aloha

For related articles here, within MWA Central, click to the indexes of 1) the ‘Ohana tag, and 2) our Key 6 category on The ‘Ohana in Business Model. This may be a good article to start with: The Workplace Mixology of ‘Ohana.

Dahlia_1470 by Rosa Say

About Rosa Say

Rosa is the author of Managing with Aloha. She’s a writer and photo-taker, a workplace culture coach, and a zealous advocate of managers everywhere. She’s a wife and mom, sister and daughter, manager, leader and worker bee, living the best life she can, just like you. Learn more about Rosa at www.RosaSay.com


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