“We learn best from other people” is one of my favorite Managing With Aloha-inspired phrases. I am quite sure those who know me best would say it has “broken record” status in the coaching I like to share, however I also say it as an affirmation for my own continuous attentions: I want my learning to be people-powered and people-connected, and I want to be better at listening to others with the focused intention of learning from them.
“We learn best from other people” is the core belief of the Daily Five Minutes (our workplace conversation tool which is a primary how-to within the Managing with Aloha philosophy). It is a tool turned habit, in which conversation rules supreme. We can get into each other’s heads in a natural way through conversation, and with the good intention of learning about what is there, so to fully honor and respect the immense wonder of someone’s mana‘o (their thoughts, beliefs and convictions).
“We learn best from other people” is a ‘You’re not done yet!’ reminder within Managing with Aloha’s Learning Landscape: Any research and study we undertake must include interviews of those who are most closely connected to whatever project or new learning we have set our sights on. If not, how can we possibly say, we “Know well?” People give valuable, relevant context to our professional, too0-often theoretical studies.
Consider the asset we call “intellectual property.” We understand that much of who and what companies become is invested in the people who have worked there; they’ve “been there, done that” in a multitude of different ways, and they’ve emerged successful, or at least with the most valuable lessons-learned a thriving business can hope to have. We scratch the surface of mining our intellectual property through exit interviews and succession planning, yet how much more can we learn through the everyday, intentional effort to learn best practices for their immediate use?
Related reading in the archives: Collect Stories, Dispel Myths.
Therefore, “We learn best from other people” is the ever-present mantra that sings in the background of this and every blog post within our Ho‘ohana Publishing ‘Ohana; I love blogging because it triggers conversations within our community, and at times more globally. The conversational potential of the blogging platform is amazing, whether those conversations are held on the blog itself or triggered elsewhere throughout our hub of communications.
The missions of Managing with Aloha (delivered by my business, Say Leadership Coaching) and Ho‘ohana Publishing (delivered by Writing with Aloha) are my learning and talking story constants keeping me ever-grounded yet feeling happily, busily productive.
Listen to the storytellers
I’m determined to watch more speeches, mostly in forums like Ted Talks and the Do Lectures, but also as readily available to me in person. I’ve always believed we learn our best lessons from other people, and talks are a form of conversational communication which inspire me. They give me more ‘I’ve never thought about that’ moments and readily meander into off-shoot ideas. When you think about it, speakers and storytellers are giving us a lot of themselves. How are we receiving what they have to say?
I am also thinking my Mahalo must be much more conversational, and I find I am wondering how to make that happen in a more meaningful way. While a magnificent opening in humility, to merely say “thank you” is not enough, no matter how sincere I might be in speaking those words —and though we don’t say them enough, I don’t believe they should be said lightly either. This is a gut feeling, plain and simple; I have a greater conversational need (and to be more accurate, mine is a greater listening need), and I have learned to listen to these feelings of spirit-spilling when they make themselves known to me.
MY MANA‘O (what I believe to be true) ~ ~ ~
In Hawai‘i, many kūpuna (elders) will say there is a reason our gut is at our physical center. Our heads and hearts must come lower; one must get out of the clouds and the other out of the clutches of others. Second, the elemental feeling we get from the land under our feet must rise up and be held in higher esteem, for there is divine power in the ‘āina, and it is our sense of place. Third, we must care about others, but we must care about ourselves first, and enough to connect to our own source, our aloha. So it is only natural that our gut (na‘au) is the true seat of our wisdom (na‘auao), for it is where all these things come together to center us with good balance.
This makes a lot of sense to me, because I experience it so much, and very gratefully so.
We now live in a world where technology has changed so much with the way we communicate. We email, we text, we Twitter. We lifestream, blog and self-publish. We star in our own mini movies and post them on YouTube for all to see. Yet do we realize how much of these new ‘communications’ are ways we broadcast more than listen, doing so with a very limited audience?
I’m one who loves these new tools and if you are reading this you know I use them extensively, but in 2019 I am newly committing to the art of one-on-one in-person communication. I want to talk story, and learn what I can from the best library and collection of wisdom which exists in our world: Other people, especially while they are still gracing our earthly living with their presence.
New technology communications and talk-story conversations do have something in common: They are only as good as what you are willing to devote to them. No input, no output. However talk-story conversations have a big advantage: You don’t need to buy something, plug it in, program it and learn to use it. You aren’t limited to others who have the same tool; for instance I am fully aware that I only reach others with Twitter accounts when I tweet, and they largely have my same habits. Those I want to learn from most, so I can grow and improve in a more diverse way are probably not there, much as I wish they were. For instance children who can teach me to play again, and to wonder again, are not there: I need to reach them personally, and talk to them on their turf and not mine. The kūpuna, our elders who can share so much history and life experience with us, teaching us to better navigate our futures, are not there: I need to reach them personally too.
People surround us, waiting for us to interview them, and ask them questions about what is most important to them, and why.
The people around us have the potential to be the best teachers we have ever had, and ever will have. They are open books, written with the wealth of their past experiences, yet reading beyond the past tense. They continue to be vibrantly alive, perpetually thinking, and willing to share their thinking with us, wrapped in both the simplicity and complexity of that beautiful weaving of belief and conviction we in Hawai‘i call their mana‘o. All we have to do is ask. But do we? Sincerely, and genuinely ready to listen as patiently and completely as need be?
In the coming weeks, in the spirit of our current Mahalo immersion, I will give my thanks for the mana‘o which lives within the children and elders I am blessed to have close in my life. I invite you to join me, and to newly experience for yourself how “we learn best from other people.”
In addition to its conversational association the Daily five Minutes, “We learn best from other people” is a core teaching of Key 5 in our 9 Key Concepts: Language of Intention, the key which explores what we want our Aloha Communications to be all about;
Key 5. LANGUAGE OF INTENTION:
Language, vocabulary, and conversation combine as our primary tools in business communications, just as they do in our lives: What we speak is fifty times more important than what we read or write. The need for CLEAR, intentional, reliable and responsive communication is critical in thriving businesses — and in learning cultures, for we learn an extraordinary amount from other people. Drive communication of the right cultural messages, and you drive mission momentum and worthwhile energies. Communication will factor into every single value in some way as its primary enabler. The Managing with Aloha language of intention is inclusive, and is therefore defined as the “Language of We” with the value of KĀKOU as guiding light.
Sunday Mālama has been when I will share my off-the-workplace-highway scenic route kind of posts. Not as a normal weekly feature, but whenever they seem to be writing themselves. As the embedded links and archive suggestions above attest to, Sunday Mālama can also beg leisurely reading time, romping through a few of our older lessons-learned. These posts can also seem a bit unfinished, inviting you to finish them up for yourselves as you will.
You can access the Sunday Mālama archives via this category link, also residing with my site footnotes.
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Talking Story with the Ho‘ohana Community.
Preview of Managing with Aloha, Second Edition, released Summer, 2016
Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business