What’s mine, is mine to care for, and mine to share.
What’s mine, is ultimately ours. As the saying goes, “you can’t take it with you” and you can only be with it in whatever todays you have. How much of your experience of privilege begs to be shared?
MĀLAMA gets to be exceptionally good value guidance whenever we lay claim to something as “mine.” In the spirit of MĀLAMA what’s mine becomes mine to care for.
From Managing with Aloha (Chapter 15 preamble):
To Mālama, is to take care of.
A manager is a steward of assets and caretaker of people.
Mālama calls upon us to serve, to honor and to protect.
Acts of caring drive us to high performance levels in our work with others. We give and become unselfish. We accept responsibility unconditionally.
Mālama is warm, and Mālama is personal. It comes from heart, and it comes from soul.
When we Mālama, we are better.
Sharing then, can be a celebration of your MĀLAMA accomplishment.
Gates and gatekeepers deny the ‘OHANA sense of belonging.
These thoughts will invariably come up whenever I visit a gated community here in Hawai‘i. There are lots of them. Even one is too many.
People are generally skilled in protecting what they have. We can make much greater strides in sharing what we have, and I so wish we would!
Gates and gatekeepers bring up several questions for me, about how businesses and other ownership entities will define their Sense of Place integrity in regard to rights, permissions, and privilege. Sadly, it’s a conversation most will neglect to have at all, failing to see how significant it can be felt by those who are ‘the have nots’ and living right there in their own communities. Those Have Nots deserve a better embrace, yet we deny them the sense of belonging which may in fact, be rightfully theirs. It goes beyond being selfish, to being cruel. Yes, I have strong opinions on this, and without apology, for consider this as a more proactive managing with ALOHA awareness: In its earliest stages, gatekeeping is HO‘OKIPA sabotage. It can be another Possibility Robber.
Promise-keeping shuns gates, and looks for windows.
As book readers know, I chose to work for the Hualalai Resort in 1996, a time when I struggled with feeling PONO about working in Hawai‘i’s hospitality industry: PONO is a contentment of satiated integrity.
From the Prologue of Managing with Aloha:
“I finally choose Hualalai for one significant reason: I meet a man there who I at first dismiss as a hopeless dreamer who needs a reality check. Yet several meetings later, he has achieved something truly amazing to me, and he has done so by talking about a concept that has long been stirring uneasily in my soul: sense of place. [That man will become] my boss, and he has given me his promise that this time I’ll be able to say I work for the Hawai‘i hospitality industry and hold my head up with pride and dignity. We will manage Hualalai with a respect for her culture and for our employees’ sense of place. We will engender an ‘Ohana in Business.
In that moment of promise my path became clear and certain. And it was exhilarating.”
I think we did a good job of starting to work on that promise of PONO back then. As with so many things however, hindsight is 20/20. Looking back on it, I realize we could have done so much more. I wish we had, and so I’m writing this posting to encourage you. If you believe, as I did then with Hualalai, that you work for an exceptionally good business, please look to MĀLAMA to challenge you. Are you caring for your place in a way that also intends to share its benefits with others?
Business lives up to its name quite easily, in that it gets so darned busy. We get pulled into the detail of operations, particularly as a business grows or gets more complex, and something truly unfortunate happens: We lose sight of our vision, or we settle for results which are commonplace. At Hualalai, we did ask the question — Can this gated community be shared with the community, even though it is financed by those of privilege? — for we sincerely wanted to give the spirit of the land back to the community in thankfulness that we could be there in the first place, and because we were proud of our stewardship and conservation of a land rich in cultural treasures. We also felt we owed it to our staff and their families.
As important as it is, asking the question to begin with is just that; a beginning. It begs much conversation, and an answer in the form of a promise that is kept.
So let’s break this down a bit more, and tear down our walls in the process of exploring why we had built them. As we do, I ask that you keep your own business footprint in mind: Think about what your proprietorship covers: Whether my property, my employment, my work or my Sense of Place — ‘mine’ covers quite a bit. What does the word mine evoke for you?
Think about your walls, and about the sharing possibilities which can become a window or two: Windows and walls are not just physical.
One: Asking the question of genuine intention — What will we share?
How wide will you open your gate?
Ultimately, this is a question on the rights of ownership coupled with KULEANA, the value of responsibility. At the Hualalai of my time of employment, we would not hesitate to say, “What’s ours is ours to care for as stewards of this land. We will then share it with the Big Island community in as many ways as we can.” with “as we can” referring to the individual property rights of homeowners and privacy expectations of The Four Seasons hotel’s clientele, and our intentions in making each of those things more inclusive.
We did not see it as generosity — as doing something extra, above and beyond expectations. We considered opening our gates wide as the responsibility of those who had inherited the land of our Big Island ancestors: What we (or others) had actually paid for our ownership rights was irrelevant. Our management team asked for this acceptance of specifically defined responsibility as a condition of our operations contract, and we received it!
In writing this, I make no effort to disguise what I personally think — that the No Gates expectation is PONO — but to others it will be quite a stretch, and you’ve got to delineate your own playing field.
I’m using access to the bounty found on Hualalai Resort’s footprint as an example because I know it so well, however genuine intent with sharing ownership assets with others applies to every business I can think of: Gates are found in employment qualification, in academic admissions, in computer software and social media apps, and in scads of other permission refusals or conditions. That’s how people outside your gates will view them, as permission refusals or conditions. You must view them that way too, if you’re to empathize with people enough to share what they feel is worthy of your sharing it — that’s what being in the service of others is.
Two: Answering the question which fulfills expectations — How will we share it?
When, and why is a gatekeeper needed, and are they really necessary? Can’t they be Mea Ho‘okipa instead?
This is where I get tough on Hualalai’s gatekeepers, for courageous, palena ‘ole groundwork was laid as condition of contract; to not follow-up on it more creatively and consistently is near criminal in its neglect. (I must point out here that I continue to use past history as an example for the sake of our MWA conversations in value-mapping. The ownership of the Hualalai Resort has changed hands since my employ there, and current ownership stipulations and agreements may now differ.)
Do whatever you can to tear down your walls. Consider the KĀKOU of inclusiveness, and imagine the benefits to be gained from letting others in. To share, is to explore a bigger part of who you are.
Sharing your assets (whatever you consider ‘mine’ to be) is where the value of HO‘OKIPA makes a grand entrance, and will make itself at home with you, or will fail to do so:
From Managing with Aloha (Chapter 6 preamble):
Ho‘okipa is the Hawaiian value of hospitality.
Ho‘okipa is to welcome guests, customers and even strangers with your spirit of Aloha, transcending the norm in serving others.
Ho‘okipa is the hospitality of complete giving. It defines a true art of unselfishly extending to others the best that we have to give.
In sharing our Ho‘okipa with others, we gain our own joy and we invest in our own well-being.
I think the world would be a significantly better place if we could eliminate two gatekeepers in particular: The poor service/no service which is the absence of HO‘OKIPA, and the expectation of reciprocity, where we trade permission or privilege transactionally, for payment or other return. There is no room for “Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” where the Aloha Spirit is alive and well; it simply isn’t necessary.
Three: Making your intentions known — Shout them from a hilltop!
There are way too many lies of omission in gatekeeping: The possibility exists, where the Have Nots can be welcomed in to experience your Sense of Place, but you fail to make those possibilities known to them. In other words, full welcome is actually missing. It may be partially there, as a response, but not as a wholehearted, eager invitation.
To me, the limited access of having to be ‘in the know’ or chancing upon ‘the right time’ is more gate-keeping: It’s intentional deception, and self-righteousness at its ugliest. For instance, if you’re going to have Open House days, make them significant, and make sure people know about them. If not, don’t bother. Keep your gates closed, for we’ll be better off staying outside of them.
Let’s talk story
What I hope this posting does, is stimulate the conversation within your workplace, for I fully understand this as conversation our comment boxes may not be appropriate or sufficient for: Flesh out the particulars of your situation, and have those conversations! Gatekeeping is something that can be riddled with the sneakiest of Possibility Robbers, so watch out for them, and Kūlia i ka nu‘u: Strive for better.
Here is a review of the 5 questions we use in our MWA audits of the 9 Key Concepts: What would your answers be, in regard to your own ‘Ohana in Business? (Key 6)
- How does this conceptual conviction support our values?
- How does this support our mission (i.e. current work) and our vision (i.e. our best possible future)?
- How can I help the work make sense, using this concept to continually improve our systems and processes?
- How will this conceptual conviction fuel positive energies, helping us grow and get better as human beings?
- What more can we learn about this?
Here are two articles previously published on Talking Story which may stimulate more thinking:
- Curiosity tears down walls. People love windows: What can you show us?
- Put that thing down! A short story on designing for customer service.
A Postscript for “A Sense of Place Delivers True Wealth”:
This posting came to mind after writing this one, which triggered another visit to my old stomping grounds at the Hualalai Resort. Much has changed there. Quite startling to see my beautiful corner office has been turned into retail shop space, but looking back on it, I didn’t spend that much time there anyway, not as compared to my walking around for The Daily Five Minutes and other in-person managing. The very best conversations can be had in the out-of-office/ outdoors proximity to your sense-of-workplace; they did then, and they did in my return visit.
One thing that has not changed, is that Hualalai reveals itself to visitors as a place of privilege shared in the thinnest slivers. Some were amazed at our HO‘OKIPA expectations of homeowners there, but as an ex-insider, I now know we didn’t go far enough. We can raise the bar so much higher! If I were with the Powers that Be today, I’d get the Parable of the Faithful Servant into all orientation packets, for residents and staff alike, refusing to be content until it truly became our Language of We.
“To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.”
— Luke 12:35-48, World English Bible, and Parable of the Faithful Servant