Aloha my friends,
I’m just back from experiencing my very favorite thing: ‘OHANA. I enjoyed a week unplugged from my work (and digital everything) to focus solely on summer vacation away with my family. We now call three different places home base, and we departed from each, coming together at Portland International Airport to embark on a stay in the wine country of Willamette Valley.
As a side note, Oregon wine country in June is a fabulous summer vacation spot if your family, like mine, is now all over 21 years of age and can partake of a few tasting stops. Oregon is beautiful this time of year, and you’ll find the Willamette Valley is quite agriculturally diverse (compared to Napa/ Sonoma, less touristy too).
Our own itinerary included short hikes, boating downriver, a small-plane flyover both valley and coast, and a Portland brewery and beer tasting tour. If you’re a foodie (and really, who isn’t?) there are delicious options galore — Oregon has some of my favorite coffee and breakfast places, and spring/summer means the food trucks abound!
The summer day is long, allowing you to fill in as much as your energy will allow between a 5am sunrise and 9pm sunset — we were there during this year’s summer solstice and largest supermoon, and believe me, we took advantage of that!
Time to shift, reset, and move on.
Now back to work, it’s another favorite time for me. It’s the opportune time for me to ask everyone I work with, “How was this handled while I was gone?”
‘This’ covers a lot of ground. Yet no matter what they say in response, I will usually follow up with, “Sounds great to me; would you like to continue to work it that way? Let’s reset!”
If they agree, we have a win-win: They get fresh, new and better, and I get fresh, new and better. Our job descriptions open up wider, and our work grows into the open space.
As long as we’re open to it, nothing is sacred. Whatever we’re open to changing, can achieve some stretch or get reinvented.
‘Tis true: Attitude determines outcome.
You know that adage, ‘when the cat’s away, the mouse will play’? When I was a much younger manager it was a sentiment that made me nervous and apprehensive. I’d imagine the worse, wondering, What mess will I have to deal with when I get back?
To be completely honest about it, I kind of welcomed a mess; I wanted to be missed, I wanted to be needed, and I wanted to be welcomed back into eager arms. But eventually I learned it was far better when I wasn’t welcomed back to fill a void as a problem-solver or access-granter: I was welcomed back to inspire a new shift, and to inject a new burst of energy into the old I’d left behind — even when that ‘old’ was pretty darn good.
It was better to be a ‘Why not?’ boat-rocker, rocking it in a good way, and in a fresh and newly exciting way.
Vacation is but one opportunity.
I have a geographical advantage. When you live in Hawai‘i, ‘away’ will definitely mean another time zone, meaning that people you leave at work don’t expect timely anything from you. Managers must learn to enable others so nothing stops while they’re gone. And why just maintain something, when you can grow it instead?
When you go on vacation, on sabbatical, or away on a fairly lengthy business trip you’ll have made significant deposits to your positive energy bank. To manage with Aloha when you return, is to figure out how you can best share those energies, making them exponential.
In other words, it’s time to seize the opportunity for leadership.
A quick review of our managing/leading verbal vocabulary:
Human energy is a manager’s greatest resource. Not time, not financial capital, not asset worth, not even idea generation, but human energy, for human energy is the resource which creates all the others.
Managing then, is the act of channeling the energies available to you in the best possible way, to serve your day-to-day mission.
Leading is the act of creating new sources of energy, so fresher resources are always available to you as well, fueling your vision.
Reset opportunity will evolve and grow.
Reset opportunity is something which starts or stalls with each individual manager: It is completely in your circle of influence — you decide if you’ll give the opportunity to your co-working partnerships or not. Are you ready to do so? And if not, why not? The fact of the matter is this: We managers should do WITH others (coaching, teaching, facilitating…) but not FOR others in nearly everything which happens within a workplace.
Over time, you learn to ‘turn off and tune out’ in the weeks before you leave for any time away, making sure everyone concerned has the all-access pass you’re willing to give them. They know that they have it, and they know how to start using it, even if only temporarily as an experiment in dabbling.
I won’t lie: It can be scary in the beginning, and you may be apprehensive. However, make it your habit, increasing co-working freedoms a little bit more each time, and everyone looks forward to it — “Let’s reset!” becomes highly anticipated and deliciously relished in that Language of We within your workplace culture. As an extra bonus, vacation guilt becomes a thing of the past, for reset opportunity has replaced it as the expected result of all time away.
I promise you: You’ll get to that golden day you think, ‘While the cat’s away, the mice will play… and bring it on, for I really love it when they do!’
I do my very best to associate each vacation I take with a work benefit (HO‘OHANA) and with a personal benefit (NĀNĀ I KE KUMU). This was my first posting back from the summer vacation we took as a family in 2012: Back to the Beginning.
…and this is what I was thinking about before I left: When it’s good, S-T-R-E-T-C-H it out!
The conversation continues…
If you are newly joining us here, this is part of a mini series on The Role of the Manager Reconstructed. You can catch up with this reading path:
- Now boarding; the ROMR Tour of Duty
- An ROMR Archive Review
- Reckoning with Role [to Value it.]
- Be Brave in Setting Your Limits
- then back to the top of this page!
The Role of the Manager Reconstructed is one of our 9 Key Concepts in the Managing with Aloha philosophy.
This article may also prove useful to you if you wondered about the vocabulary we use:
Managing with Aloha’s Lexicon Morphology
Mahalo nui, thank you for being here!