I was talking story with a manager who has been a reader of my blogs for a very long time, as long as I’ve published online, dating back to August of 2004 — 3 months before my book was released. She asked a very perceptive question of me: “Rosa, why isn’t D5M (the Daily 5 Minutes) in residence on your current Managing with Aloha blog? I’ve noticed that when you link to it, you’re linking to the book excerpt, or to the workshop; why no reference page here, like there was on your other blogs?”
Short answer: I absolutely positively agree: The Daily 5 Minutes should be here.
— Update: Our new Resource Page has now been added to the others (listed on the right-side column of the site)
— Quick Link: Learning Paths: Prepping for The Daily 5 Minutes
Longer answer: We have learned more about the Daily 5 Minutes practice, and need to talk about our learning. Our D5M reference page will be different than before, with a stronger emphasis on readiness, and how we prepare for D5M. Here’s why…
For best results, let’s seed fertile ground.
There was a time when I’d repeatedly insist that if you aren’t doing the Daily 5 Minutes, you aren’t a manager who truly is ‘managing with Aloha,‘ not completely… and I still feel that way. D5M is the conversation in which a manager learns all they need to learn about their own people, just 5 minutes at a time in daily bites — that’s why I included it in my book within the chapter on ‘IKE LOA, the value of learning, and why I now link to a free excerpt to give readers fuller context the first time they read about D5M.
Yet I now know I pushed too hard. I’ve pulled back on my singular insistence that managers do it, and do it now, because there are other entry points to Managing with Aloha, even though I personally feel D5M is the best tool in our day-to-day kit, and that it will turn out to be an Alaka‘i Manager’s habit keeper. Once you do the D5M, and do it well, you never want to let it go. Aha! moments abound in the D5M conversation: It’s constant input, and it’s the most relevant workplace input a manager can have as a culture-builder. D5M solves so much in its bite-sized agreements, and it grooms extraordinary partnerships.
What I’ve learned in my last decade of workplace culture coaching however, is that there’s a big difference between me doing it (and yes, I still do!) and teaching other managers to do it: I’ve got to teach it better when I’m not the boss present to support them in their day-to-day efforts. I don’t want you to feel you may fail when there is so much good in store.
Teaching the Daily 5 Minutes is actually the easy part though. I’ve mostly learned that a company culture has to be primed to be ready for it. If ‘normal, civil conversations’ aren’t within that culture — and it’s astounding to me how often that’s the case — D5M hasn’t any chance of taking root at all.
Managers can be wary, and rightfully so: They fear that initiating a D5M practice will mean they’ll bite off more than they can chew, and it’s better not to open that can of worms! My case history (in coaching across various industries) has proven to me that every time D5M didn’t take hold in a company those apprehensive managers were right — they weren’t ready.
That’s the rub of opening yourself up to asking any question, isn’t it? Particularly a question leading toward new and uncharted ground. You may get an answer that you won’t like. You may have to solve a messy problem or pending issue first. A workplace culture must be healthy enough to field that possibility, and deal with it honestly.
Those are the questions we now reckon with in my D5M workshops as given today. My clients will often ask that I coach both managers-as-D5M givers, and staff-as-D5M receivers. On the receiving side, I have listened to the employees who’ve told me, “I want the Daily 5 Minutes, I really and truly do, but I hesitate to participate in it with my manager.” I have remembered all the groundwork laid when I first initiated the Daily 5 Minutes in my own career, growing as any manager must.
The Daily 5 Minutes is conversation extraordinaire for good managers.
The art of conversation which listens to collect D5M inputs, and responds in the Language of We, makes good better, and stops the germination of not-so-good from happening.
Are you good yet? Have you answered the Calling to great?
A Manager’s Calling: The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers
We fear the Myth of Pandora’s Box.
The myth is that there is only evil in that box; we forget the part of the story where HOPE is released, and Ka lā hiki ola, it’s “the dawning of a new day.” I prefer to think about all the good that is unsaid, and I encourage you to let it out because of ALOHA — that guarantee that your people are inherently good and innately wise.
That said, I now realize I have to help make it easier for people in whatever way I can, particularly those who are book-or-blog readers only — we may never have the good fortune to talk story about this personally, and in the context of your own Managing with Aloha journey. Becoming an Alaka‘i Manager is all on you.
So I’ve pulled back on my “Do the Daily 5 Minutes, and do it now!” insistence in favor of more patience that we’ll arrive at the practice in good time. I’ve learned how hard it is for managers to adopt and keep up with D5M if they don’t prepare well for it first, and I don’t want that difficulty to discourage them. I want you to have early wins as you work, manage, and lead with Aloha, and I’ve come to better understand how those early wins will eventually prepare you for a Daily 5 Minutes practice when you’re ready for it — ready to embrace it, and milk its goodness for all it’s worth.
Thus my encouragement to managers today, is this:
Strive for D5M: Make the Daily 5 Minutes conversation your goal.
Prepare well, so you can implement it as soon as you can.
Set the D5M Goal today, and begin to prepare for it.
Here are some thoughts on how you can prepare, starting today.
ONE: Don’t try to change whole-company culture; improve your own corner of it and go for a ripple effect where good begets more good. There are as many cultures within a company as there are managers: Own the one you primarily dwell in — own your team’s working culture first. Focus on being a better manager in the space of your own influences. Be an Aloha Energy Bunny, one obsessed with the basic happiness of their well-being ~ Happiness is readiness.
TWO: Increase your face time. Our need for person-to-person interaction grows every day! Don’t text, or send an email, or leave a voicemail, whenever you can have a personal conversation with someone instead. Conversations do take practice, and the goal is to improve the circle of comfort you have when you converse with the people who surround you. Yours, and theirs. Become attractive as a conversation magnet. Write down this affirmation: “People like to talk to me, and I enjoy talking to them too.” Read it every day, and Ho‘o — make it come true.
THREE: Work on your listening skills in each and every conversation you have. Each and every one. Ask for clarification on anything you don’t understand, or might misconstrue. Listen for the values which are at the root of whatever is being shared with you, and respond with the Language of We. Walk away from conversations making a small agreement that honors that value (and thus, that person) whenever you can.
Listen so others feel heard:
“It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens. How confusions that seem irremediable become relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.”
– Carl Rogers –
FOUR: Learn about the Daily Five Minutes – study it to aspire to it – and elevate D5M as a conversation goal you will graduate to. Then, honestly assess the conversational climate of your workplace culture as it now stands, to work on the good health of existing communications. Take personal responsibility for your own conversations: What do you talk about with ease, and when do conversations get difficult? When are conversations delayed, or swept under a rug and ignored? Be more courageous about the conversations you should be initiating — you know which they are.
FIVE: Earn a reputation as an investigative problem-solver. Tackle small issues and grow yourself toward solving larger ones by merit of more personal experience. Others will value conversation with you once they see you as their go-to source of possible answers. No one expects you to know everything, or have all the answers, but great managers are expected to be great finders who look for answers in the right places, and take initiative in correcting course.
If I may be more direct, you approach FOUR and FIVE above with an open-minded willingness to tackle any old baggage. I see a manager’s D5M readiness as a clean slate, NOT as wealth of experience. Those who are immediately successful with adopting a D5M practice are often fledgling supervisors, newly promoted to managerial positions for the first time, and elevating conversational smarts from the get-go. Smugness doesn’t suit the Alaka‘i Manager, and being a veteran can give you blinders: How can you return to your newbie advantage?
1. If this is the first you are hearing of The Daily Five Minutes, read about it in this free book excerpt from Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business.
2. If you are interested in the values-based workshop I now offer, you can read about it here: D5M: The Daily Five Minutes