Values in the Driver’s Seat: An Exercise in Self-Coaching

Ever since I decided to collect them within a book, the 19 values of our Managing with Aloha philosophy have become filters for me. When something catches my attention in a lingering way, I’ll ask myself, “which of the values does this connect to?”

In other words, if values drive our behavior (and they do), which values have driven this particular behavior?

If my attention-getter poses a quandary of some kind, a follow-up question will usually be, “will the same value resolve this, or does a different one need to trump it?”

Why the exercise?

This keeps me in my MWA mindset for sure; it’s gotten to be habitual. The questions are on auto-pilot now, but the great thing is that the answers aren’t: I have to focus, and make my deductions and decisions. The values I possess get clearer, and more lucid in this process of deliberation, delivering coherence to my beliefs.

This is ‘IKE LOA in action for me: Whatever caught my attention, I’m learning about it more deeply, striving for a more personal connection.

I also think of this process as my self-coaching in the empathy of MĀLAMA, so my ‘universal’ understanding and compassion can be added to and strengthened — I can be quite opinionated about my passions, and I’m fully aware that I need this self-coaching to soften my edges, and bolster my HA‘AHA‘A (humility) with abundance-thinking.

Would you like to practice this with me?

There’s a lot falling into our ‘attention-getter’ buckets — conversations, songs, movies, philosophy, books, news stories, family drama and more. I started to think about the possibilities we could share, and one bubbled to the top: the leisurely opportunity for Weekend Reading.

Here are links to a trio of articles which caught my attention in the past week or so. I’ve numbered them for easy reference, because I’ll be ending the post with the value connections I made. Don’t jump down below the photo-break until you’ve read the article for yourself and come up with your own answers. Just for fun, how did we compare in our MWA-driven learning?

Now I must point out that these would be my answers, and it is quite possible that you would choose a different value as a stronger driver in your interpretation of it. That’s what this exercise is all about: Your values, your ‘IKE LOA, and your MĀLAMA.

A Point of Clarity: We all have several values, and so should our answers differ, it’s not that we don’t match up in our definitions philosophically, but in degree and relevance to experience. Our values will fall into a kind of ‘hierarchy of belief’ in our personal sensibility with them. This simply means that some are naturally stronger than others for us, and they may combine differently.

Extra bonus points if you also filter your reading with the 9 Key Concepts: If you were an editor here, which category would you put the article into, and why? What’s the “conceptual conviction” of the attention-getter?

Guard your attention. It’s precious.

I won’t do this every weekend, for I want to be selective, and reserve this for articles worthy of your time, but if you like the exercise, Fridays will be when I queue it up for us. Tackle it whenever you usually give your time to leisurely reading.

Please jump in and help lead us! If you have a value-packed attention-getter to share, one where you think the MWA value connection is particularly strong, let us know about it in the comment boxes.

Weekend Reading: This week’s Attention-Getters

I’ll repeat our value-mapping questions:

  1. If values drive our behavior (and they do), which values have driven this particular behavior?
  2. If a quandary is presented, will the same value resolve it, or does a different one need to trump it?

Article 1: Taxes and Cheating
You’ll be getting an insider’s look at my blog subscriptions as we do this too! Dan Ariely’s blog is a favorite of mine. As he says in his Aloha there: “I’m Dan Ariely. I do research in behavioral economics and try to describe it in plain language. These findings have enriched my life, and my hope is that they will do the same for you.” Article snippet:

Will Rogers once said that “The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf” and I worry that he was correct… Go forth and be financially virtuous.

Article 2: Rules of Palship: Lists of Note
We make agreements with each other constantly: What might you have kept constant (or lost…) in your agreements over the years? How are they different for you now as an adult compared to when you were younger, “and life was far, far simpler?” Article snippet:

In August of 1915, 14-year-old Noël Coward and his best friend, the actress Esmé Wynne, half-jokingly drew up the following “Rules of Palship,” mainly in an attempt to minimise arguments in what was an incredibly close and sometimes turbulent friendship.

Wynne and Coward came up with 16 rules: Take a look, and see what values were the drivers because they had to share them before a rule could be agreed upon.

Article 3: The Professional Mindset
If I’m quiet here on Wednesdays, it’s highly likely I’m over the moon about something on Steven Pressfield’s blog – it’s the day he updates his Writing Wednesday feature. This week, the master of The War of Art took on mental toughness for the artist and the entrepreneur:

The reason high-performance professionals are often smitten with golf is that golf, more than almost any other sport, requires the player to perform over and over the following mental/emotional action: To focus exclusively on the shot in front of him, no matter how horrifically he has just screwed up the previous shot(s).

I am stopping at 3 articles as we launch this feature today, for you’re likely to do a bit more back-story reading with Article 3, taking the in-article links Pressfield includes for you, and I encourage you to do so.

Enjoy your reading, and have a great weekend!

Article 1: My value picks were HO‘OHANOHANO and PONO, with KULEANA and ‘OHANA being solvers.

Ariely takes on dishonesty here, and describes how people can try to justify it with their perceptions of fairness: We all want to play the game of life on a level playing field. Honesty is a quality that’s a badge of honor in our society: We love to describe ourselves as honest people, and hope others will agree. So the question becomes, what does honesty really and truly mean to us as individuals? Which of our values drive our honest actions, when we don’t need to justify it with any other field-leveler. Obstacles won’t get us to change course, for we’ll rise above them. I chose HO‘OHANOHANO and PONO because in my beliefs about those two values others don’t factor into it on any case-by case basis: These values are all about your demeanor and how you conduct your own behavior so you can achieve PONO as a state of being.

— My category choice as conceptual conviction: Key 6, the ‘Ohana in Business Model, for that is where I usually put our civic responsibilities — which is how I’ve come to think about paying taxes. Key 6 is also where I place our in-this-workplace partnerships and in-this-culture relationships: Our model will support those constructs. This is why I chose KULEANA and ‘OHANA as solvers. They’d get their back-up from LŌKAHI, the value of harmony and unity.

Article 2: Our questions can be answered in two different ways with this one. What were the value-drivers for Coward and Wynne, and what would be yours: What are the values which drive your friendships?

I felt that Coward and Wynne were driven by honor and a fair respectfulness, thus HO‘OHANOHANO, and by that strong need to reach the agreement of KĀKOU and LŌKAHI (Usher says their friendship could be turbulent). MĀLAMA comes into play too, for they clearly cared for each other. I would choose those values for my own friendships, along with HO‘OHANA because I admire it in others so much; my closest friends tend to be very, very independent.

This would be a case where solvers are necessary when the rule gets broken. For the rule to be intact going forward, it has to be honored, thus our best solvers would likely be the value that particular rule was established with.

— My category choice as conceptual conviction: Definitely Key 1, the Aloha Spirit, for we need to have a strong sense of self in healthy friendships, and in all relationships. I suspect however, that Coward and Wynne would choose Key 5, Language of Intention. Friendships tend to be highly verbal in nature: Did you notice how many of their rules had to do with what was said to, and about each other?

Article 3: Even if you are unfamiliar with Pressfield’s writing on The War of Art, I think his encouragement is quite clear: Allow your art to win the day! ‘IMI OLA and NĀNĀ I KE KUMU scream at me in this one as the voices of art and our muse, and happily so. The professional mindset can be a hot topic for me, for I think people often err in trying to separate their personal and professional lives, straying from true purpose (and getting very frustrated) in the duplicity of the effort. We need to bring HO‘OHANA into this one too.

In this case, I think about solvers as being those values we must invoke when we find we’re at that “standing start” Pressfield describes. My choices to bolster mental toughness would definitely be HO‘OMAU for perseverance, ALAKA‘I for the clarity of why we must persist, and KŪLIA I KA NU‘U for that triumph of the accomplishment most meaningful to us. I also see where KULEANA, and the responsibility of your role could come into play.

— My category choice: Key 4, on the Role of the Manager since Pressfield is addressing the character of leaders, and because of our solvers. Second would be Key 9, on Palena ‘ole and our unlimited capacity, for this is usually where the Muse comes out to play, if only because we finally allow her to!

Did you enjoy this exercise?

Alaka‘i Managers: Would sharing any of these articles help you in the values talk story of your next workplace huddle?


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.

Read more: The 9 Key Concepts of Managing with Aloha
and Let’s Define Values. E-book: Value Your Month to Value Your Life

About Rosa Say

Rosa is the author of Managing with Aloha. She’s a writer and photo-taker, a workplace culture coach, and a zealous advocate of managers everywhere. She’s a wife and mom, sister and daughter, manager, leader and worker bee, living the best life she can, just like you. Learn more about Rosa at


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