My speaking engagements often end with a few minutes devoted to talk story, that wrap-up most refer to as Q&A or ‘question and dialogue.’ While speaking to a group of educators this past summer, one of them asked me, “What are the kinds of things you’ve learned since Managing with Aloha was written and published, now that you’ve built a new career upon the book as your platform and mission?”
It was a good question, one I had to pause and think about before answering with more detail, for my first impulse was to just say, “Oh my goodness, lots!”
The next thing which came to mind was this: “I’ve learned to pick the work I devote my time to now more intentionally. I think about making my beliefs, convictions and values more consequential now—doing so has become my m.o., and it’s not relegated to ‘when I have time’ because all time is my time. I work for myself now, and to ‘work’ is strictly to Ho‘ohana.”
In short, “my m.o.” is the constant practice of value alignment, and our current work within Mahalo is a good example, one how what’s consequential to me becomes more patterned and sequential. More often than not, a loop gets created, where the sequential becomes even more consequential.
Admittedly, a key driver is my innate penchant for organizing: I like order, and habitually try to make work systematic and systemic. Couple that with ‘Ike loa as one of my core values (the value of learning), throw the core beliefs of Managing with Aloha into the mix, and sequential – consequential patterning often rules the day.
Our Ethos: Be True to Your Values
Mahalo, “Way of Living”
Our value alignment essay this month, demonstrates how the three attentions of Mahalo—thankfulness, appreciation and gratitude—can become sequential and consequential, and how they are no longer synonyms to me: each attention has its own distinction. In our kick-off essay, I described how Mahalo has become this;
“Mahalo helps us see abundance in times of scarcity; it replaces longing with contentment; it guides us toward understanding what we have rather than dwelling on what we don’t have.
…[we can] “recall the three in kaona (hidden meaning)”—thankfulness, appreciation, gratitude.
Thankfulness that you have it, whatever ‘it’ might be in the present moment, and whether you sense it, you get it, or you are it.
Appreciation enough to feel it clearly and as completely as possible—to understand the gift or gifts within, and have it be enough. Appreciation for others who might be connected, and who remain part of your life.
Gratitude that you are human, and thus, can make your findings humanly possible, and even more expansive. You are capable of turning the abundance you have into richness and well-being.
You are blessed. You need not want for more.”
In practicing value alignment, I’ve simply spent more time intentionally devoted to the study of each of our 19 Values of Aloha; I’ve done a deep dive into them, to make further headway into making meaning of my own history. I’ve worked to sequence them into future consequence.
What is values consequential to you?
The publishing of Managing with Aloha happened at a certain point of time, one that captured what I felt values-consequential in 2004 after a 32-year career in the hospitality and resort-development industries. In 2016 I felt compelled to re-publish it as a 2nd Edition, rewriting several sections which had evolved for us. The phrase ‘sequential and consequential’ did appear in my book, for I’d always liked order, and I’ve always been driven to make meaning of whatever I work on; it’s in the chapter about ‘Ike loa, the value of learning;
“I stand firm and unmoving in my belief that someone who calls themselves a manager of people must be a learner, and they must dedicate themselves to non-stop, sequential and consequential learning.
Sequential in that it builds upon previous lessons learned, and it takes you through a process where you question instruction and do not always accept what you are taught at face value; you polish it like a gem in your mind until something about it rings true for you.
Consequential in that it is worthwhile stuff; it makes a difference for you, and you aren’t simply collecting lessons on some scorecard. Great teachers would say, “You’re learning to think and apply, not memorize and parrot.” That’s stretch; there’s some personal take-away in exploring subject matter for you, and you aim to find it. Now that you know it, you’re going to use it.”
It’s very satisfying when whatever you’ve been working on, ends up pointing you directly toward what you’ll work on next.
One of the things which has fascinated me about my decades-long wallowing in Managing with Aloha however, is the expansiveness of studying values, because each one is so abundant in an of itself. Value pairing adds even more nuance, and more importantly, more ways to share values. Thus sequential and consequential patterning can also be imbued with ample room for creativity and reinterpretation.
The goal is not to fine-tune your way into a definitive answer, but to make them useful; value immersions are easily relevant to whatever circumstance and/or point in time you conduct them. Change is embraced and woven in, problem-solving is championed as you remind yourself of your good convictions… we aren’t looking for right answers necessarily, we’re looking for useful ones that we can immediately apply in our working environments.
Mahalo is again a good example of this relevant-to-the moment application, for during a 2006 Ho‘ohana Community immersion, we sequenced the three attentions of Mahalo differently —thankfulness was 3rd— and applied them this way: To Know, To Become, To Share.
We talked about universality of values much more back then, and so we turned to Websters Dictionary for our definitions, and added our mana‘o.
From Webster – To value justly. Recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things.
Within Mahalo – Know how much you have at this very moment. Understand how unique you are, and stand tall. Realize there is no one else who is the person you are. To live in appreciation for the richness that makes your life so precious is to simply live in celebration of your sense of self. Take nothing in this day of your life for granted. Take exceptional care of the aloha within you, for it is the breath of your life.
From Webster – The state of being grateful; thankfulness.
Within Mahalo – Become all you are capable of being, by using all your gifts, each and every one of them. Grow into every crevice of your capacity, filling it with worthiness. Test your limits joyfully, and with confidence palena ‘ole (without boundaries). Seek to complete yourself physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. In doing so, you acknowledge who you are in a manner which appreciates what others have done for you. You create prosperity and abundance so you will have more to give.
From Webster – Aware and appreciative of a benefit; and expressive of gratitude.
Within Mahalo – Share of who you are with the utmost respect for those who complete your life. Say “mahalo” or “thank you” often. Speak of your appreciation of others, and it will soften the tone of your voice, giving it both humility, and fullness. People need to hear words spoken from your aloha, and in speaking them you offer a generous gift. Use your own gifts to reveal those which exist in others all around you.
Stephen R. Covey coached “Begin with the end in mind” as one of the most effective habits productive people could have. I agree with a lot of what he said, and I’ve often used that habit’s wording to guide me. Today however, over 14 years working with Managing with Aloha as the signature of my mission and vision, I mostly say, Work with your consequences in mind. Managers must be aware of how their words and actions will matter.
Mahalo, as the thankfulness “that you have it, whatever ‘it’ might be in the present moment, and whether you sense it, you get it, or you are it” contributes so much confidence, assurance, and positive expectancy; you sense the abundance in your work rather than the scarcity of it, even when faced with the “yeah, but”s others may throw your way;
When someone says, “yeah, but” we steel ourselves for their objections and excuses, no matter how tactful they are with the words which follow. We know they’re about to rationalize whatever we just proposed to them, and not in an affirming way, but to escape from it, and perhaps, to challenge us.
Never imagined I’d be curious enough to actually look up the word one day, but I did!
But: a conjunction used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned.
The key word here is contrast, and that’s where I find ‘but’ working in our favor as the better culture builders we managers aspire to be. We don’t care for ‘but’ as a form of resistance, but we can love it as a form of simply shifting toward better:
—Resistance digs in, from negative to negative.
—Contrast shifts, and can take us from negative to positive.
There are two values which illustrate this well in our value-mapping: MAHALO and HA‘AHA‘A.
Mahalo to the rescue yet again!
Evoke and elicit MAHALO.
MAHALO teaches us to weave more thankfulness, appreciation, and gratitude into our days. To evoke it, is to bring MAHALO to your conscious mind. To elicit it, is to bring MAHALO to your responses for others.
Evoke and elicit HA‘AHA‘A…. Excerpt source: The ‘But’s Which Work to Favor.
In my years coaching managers, I’ve found that Mahalo is particularly useful with helping us to be thankful for feedback, both good and bad. Managers aren’t mind readers, and there is so much they need to know, so they can proactively address issues which arise. The most powerful words a manager can say? “Speak up, I’m listening.”
We’ll talk story about how conversation’s effectiveness becomes sequential and consequential another time. For now, decide how you’ll work on Mahalo as our current immersion—will it become sequential and consequential for you?
Key 3. VALUE ALIGNMENT:
Work with integrity by working true to your values, for your values will drive your best, and most desirable behaviors. Focus all efforts on the right mission and the right vision (yours!) for it honors your sense of self and brings compelling pictures of the future within your reach, making them your probable legacy. Whether for a business partnership or specific team, deliberate value-alignment creates a healthy organizational culture for everyone involved: When we want to collaborate and co-create, shared values equip and energize us.
* I have written a $4.99 ebook to cover value alignment in greater detail: Preview Value Your Month to Value Your Life here. Coaching your team through a value of the month program is the very best “Managing with Aloha jumpstart” an Alaka‘i Manager can take, for leading as you learn with customized culture-building as the result.
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