I will be writing about the achievement of Kūlia i ka nu‘u for the next issue of Ke Ola magazine (which will be published and distributed November/December 2013) and article done, I find I’m still thinking about it quite a bit — that is, about achievement in terms of what we strive for, and why. Kūlia i ka nu‘u is a value which gets defined contextually within a workplace; it gets defined through other value drivers.
Considered on its own, achievement is an inner battle for most of us, one between the Shouldings (what everyone else wants us to achieve, and feels we should strive for) and our own personal wants and desires. It can take an awful lot to defeat the Shouldings. We can’t just ignore them, because they’re embodied in other people — people whose opinions matter to us; people we care about, like parents, teachers, coaches, and bosses.
Help in this battle, is one of those ways Alaka‘i Managers serve others best: We help find those pockets of opportunity where no battle needs to be fought, because a personal want and desire is a match for a value-driven organizational shoulding, one which happens to be a community or societal shoulding as well — it’s a recognizable and admirable achievement for everyone, and an achievement borne of shared values. It’s a match that’s important, worthwhile work, and it’s a match we can coach our people to work within (through value-aligned behaviors).
This help-giving is the constant delivery of every manager’s work — or it should be. Is it the constant of your work?
Alaka‘i Managers get the work (of the workplace, and of the mission) to make sense, and let’s face it: Whatever you may want as an individual needs relevance to the community you choose to live within.
“For years and years I thought that stories were just practice, till I got time to write a novel. Then I found that they were all I could do, and so I faced that.”
~ Alice Munro, the newly announced  winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, in a November 2012 interview.
I’ve always preferred thinking about these value matches as ‘pockets of opportunity’ because they do tend to be workable parts of something, the facets of a bigger vision or comprehensive mission. We who are managers must find-and-define achievement in skill sets and in qualification mastery (the tangibles of performance metrics) rather than in end results: We work with what a profession actually does rather than what society says it is (e.g. the work of the verbs. Healing, rather than ‘doctor’ or ‘nurse,’ safe transport, rather than ‘pilot’ or ‘air traffic controller.’)
So Kūlia i ka nu‘u: In a workplace, the value of achievement is all about getting worthwhile work to make sense first, and be excellent second. Why be excellent in something that doesn’t matter?
Archive Aloha with related reading:
- Banish your Possibility Robbers
- Managing Basics: Study Their Work
- Role Reconstruction: Design your Sweet Spot as Manager
- Beauty in the Work: “Things Occur to You.”
- Next-stepping and other Verbs
For more reading paths, go to New Here? or click on the tags found in the footer.
Alaka‘i Managers shine when they become workplace students. We study the work which is being done by our people, and we help them become power users, smart, confident, and happy about what they do. We want them to shine in what they achieve because they actually do it perceptively, and they do it well. We intercept work in progress so people don’t settle for shortcuts, or get overly frustrated with hit-or-miss fiddling as opposed to smarter learning. We make the right tools available, and we eliminate obstacles. We give our people opportunities to apply what they’ve learned and practiced, so they can reap true usefulness from devoting their best energies to work and workplace mission, and continuing to grow within that work.
~ Read more, at Managing Basics: Study Their Work