What can we learn from the events of the day, making our lessons more personal, and more personally fulfilling? File this one under worthwhile work: Here are thoughts on how three different values can help us reflect: Kuleana, Mālama, and ‘Ohana.
A manager who constantly juggles balls in the air, will never create a better ball. Her juggling performance will simply drone on — until the inevitable moment she simply stops of pure exhaustion, dropping each and every ball.
— Give Managers their Chance to Excel
Mindlessly and needlessly handling irrelevancy is something we all do, and if you’re a manager, it seems to come with the territory: You must learn to sort and curate to the point of being ruthless about it.
A weekend like we’ve just had — earthquake off the coast of west Canada, tsunami threat in Hawai‘i, Superstorm Sandy ravishing the eastern part of the USA — can really put things in perspective for us, can’t it. It can also give you a golden opportunity to do some self-assessment of the work you regularly do, or don’t do, revealing all stripes of automatic pilot, both good and not so good.
And then there’s the stuff which is neither good nor bad exactly… it’s more accurately described as disconnected from what really matters. Work of all kinds will simply come to a grinding halt during these episodes of emergency, giving you the chance to ‘get real’ about them. When the clouds clear and the dust settles, and they will, do you really want to pick up the reins of irrelevant work again? (And if the answer is “Yes, I kinda do!” are you aware of why you feel that way?)
When work resumes, what can you stop, and what must you continue?
And if you are a manager, primarily responsible for the stewardship of healthy workplace culture, take note: The second part of the question is not what can you continue, but must.
For example, I’ve been quite pleased with the freeze Sandy’s weather system put on a lot of campaigning and electioneering… it is good to see our governing officials get back to the work we expect and prefer them to do!
Kuleana and Mālama are what’s Relevant
This is a time the value of KULEANA serves us well, for it rephrases the question a bit, giving it a filter of responsibility: What, of vital importance, are you responsible for, and conversely, what have you been assuming personal responsibility for that really isn’t necessary, or can, and perhaps should, be done by someone else, or even by no one at all?
The value of MĀLAMA offers more filtering to the responsibilities we assume, filters of caring and stewardship, helping us be less selfish about our answers. There are times we absolutely need to be self-absorbed, setting our own good example for others to follow, but our responsibilities can be tough to sort out at times, and MĀLAMA has a way of clearing up the cloudiness caused by the workplace interdependency we get in organizational culture.
Add ‘Ohana to your Replacement Opportunity
We have a productivity mantra in Managing with Aloha work cultures that goes like this: “Don’t add; Replace.” It helps us be reasonable in the work we willingly shoulder, so we are human dynamos of HO‘OHANA energies, and not just beasts of burden. When you want to seize a new initiative or tackle an opportunity of some kind, don’t carelessly add it to the work you already handle; have it replace something instead.
Another way to say it; Make room for the new by allowing and encouraging the old to expire. If this becomes your habit, you’ll be constantly sorting and curating, and all automatic pilot of the bad or needless sort, will become a thing of the past.
Weather emergencies like we are experiencing, have no favorites: They affect whatever and whoever are in their path. You can take very good precautions, like choosing not to live or work in a flood inundation zone in the first place, but some of those same precautions may cramp your lifestyle way too much; so we humans take risks that will give us fuller lives. Because we do, and because we always will, our emergencies can happen, and they often have ripple effects in our communities.
“Now more than ever, our neighbors need our help.”
— Al Gore On Hurricane Sandy
This is a time these effects are illustrated so clearly for us, and the value of ‘OHANA will ask you: Do you have the time, and the means, to be a contributor to community need, and participate in whatever healing is needed?
If you can make that time — if you make that choice right now, you may find it is a replacement opportunity you want to keep, holding it close and never letting it go again. It’s about businesses being less incestuous and self-absorbed, and giving back to the community which helps you succeed in the first place.
Archive Aloha with related reading:
- The Workplace Mixology of ‘Ohana
- Beauty in the Work: “Things Occur to You.”
- Humility tames the Indispensable Beast. Here’s how.
- Ethos: Be true to your Values
- Like it? Might love it? Run with it.
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