Sweet, sweet beginnings!
This year however, let’s talk bigger picture, reviewing some of our most delectable basics, and working on the what-when-and-why framing of them all, especially with what it can mean for you.
Some of us have been together for 12 years now, and I trust you’ll like returning to these basics of our philosophy with me – they’re comforting and keep us sure-footed. For those of you who have joined us in managing life with Aloha more recently, my goal in writing this was to bring you quickly and directly into the fold, ready to seize the new year with us and not feel you’ve any catching up to do first. Archive links are inserted if you wish to read more or reference something, but you don’t have to.
Ready? We Ho‘ohana together, kākou.
On Trend: Your Values, 2016
Values-centered management is an “oldie but goodie” to those of us who aspire to be Alaka‘i Managers. Weaving value alignment into our business and workplace practices, keeping it as our primary S.O.P., our standard operating procedure and modus operandi, has truly stood the test of time, making us stronger and better as well – it’s a tool that sharpens us as we take care to hone it.
Why? …and why bother?
Being a human being is an extraordinary gift and profound privilege, and we want to be the best we can possibly be. Core to being a great manager, is being a good person.
We’ve come to know that values drive behavior, and they do so universally – they drive our behavior as personal values, and they drive our behavior in association with others as organizational values (in your workplace, and in businesses you’ll visit and patronize) or as societal values (shaping conventions and traditions wherever you choose to live, a significant part of your Sense of Place there).
Best of all, we consider values to be morally good drivers in what they will guide and compel us to do. We largely associate them with virtues, and with generational legacies. Future forward, we instinctively understand that there must be self-propelled actions which stem from our values to produce the kind of moral character we will be proud to call our own.
Should you choose Aloha as your core value, as I am known for asking all managers and leaders to do, you choose to self-manage with that value of self-love and mutual respect for other human beings that defines what Aloha is all about.
In other words…
Values come packaged with our good intentions: They drive us to be our best selves.
Knowing these things, we’ve next come to realize something quite useful and practical: When we’re focused on this regularity, predictability, and inherently good-natured intention of how values drive behavior, giving them our rapt attention, we can turn them into fantastic tools, tools that beyond useful and practical, are highly relevant to our work – they matter, and they make a difference:
Values equip us well, and they serve us nobly. Values lived and worked with, are culture builders.
For what is culture? Culture is simply our collective word for a group of people who share common values, and operate within those values. We think of culture as a result, which it most certainly is, and as “what they’ve become, and who they are – it’s how they operate.”
Now turn that “they” into your “we.”
At any given time, we might simply step into, inherit, and feel compelled to live with whatever cultural drivers are already in place somewhere – we do it all the time, and are much more adaptable than we realize. We seek our sense of belonging wherever we are.
Yet make no mistake about it: Culture is a living, breathing entity; it’s an ever-adjusting dynamic of value-driven behaviors stemming from whichever values are in-play. That means that once you’re in it, you’re part of it too, and your in-play behavior will add to those ever-adjusting dynamics. You can either go with the flow, or you can turn the tide. People are powerful, and as one of my favorite quotes seeks to remind us,
A rising tide will lift all boats.
This Why, What and When of values leads us to this How-to:
There are lots of values. For instance, when I wrote Managing with Aloha, I deliberately chose 19 out of 62 I had identified as in-play in my own cultural dynamic, a societal culture associated with Hawaii’s sense of place. I researched them, and interviewed elders I respected and admired. Then, I made my Aloha-intentional choices for my business playground, and hence, for my own on-purpose culture building in the workplace.
Since then, we’ve named our Managing with Aloha practice of value alignment “Our with Aloha Intentions.” These Aloha Intentions are those -ing value verbs we constantly study and practice contextually: Living with Aloha, Working with Aloha, Speaking with Aloha (and the Language of We), Managing with Aloha, and Leading with Aloha. Each has a personal and professional complement to them, e.g. self-leadership and leading others.
[ A recent “value-verbing” reference can be found here: Curating Value Alignment ]
Similar to my authorship process with the Managing with Aloha philosophy, Value Statements, whether incorporated into your personal mission statement, or into the organizational expectations of your workplace or other associations, are authored as deliberate choices too.
Value of the Month programs reinforce and strengthen those choices. They grease the wheels of value alignment, and keep in-play practices alive and well: They keep a culture healthy with a values-based audit for those practices. Whether run monthly (for full immersion in one value) or quarterly (which I recommend to immerse in 2 or 3 values concurrently, also working with how they’re connected and intertwined), value programs will keep value choices well defined, editing those definitions when need be. Value-alignment programs will therefore shape, perpetuate, or shift prevailing behaviors, so they become your deliberately chosen behaviors and better habits.
Yes. Oh yes! You can shift your values, by changing your choices and actively working on those choices. Absolutely yes!
At this time of year, we normally refer to our desire for better habits, as resolutions.
So please, think of your choices as refreshing your values. And choose wisely.
Less is More
I do it too. This gentle coaching for you is self-coaching for me and my partnerships as well (my “we”).
I mentioned winnowing down 62 sense of place values identified in then-contemporary Hawaii, to 19 choices for Managing with Aloha, specific to culture building in our living, working, speaking, managing and leading how-to and with Aloha practice. We continue to run with it.
As pertains to Say Leadership Coaching, we constantly work on the 5 Values within our Value Statement, and immerse ourselves in a Values of Our Quarter program, where we add a 3rd new value to influence us, freshly defining and aligning 2 of our existing ones. Our 2016 looks like this: The 1st 2 values are our constants, and the 3rd is our fresher:
- Q1 Aloha and Ho‘ohana, with Ho‘omau, the value of perseverance
- Q2 Ho‘ohana and Hō‘imi, with Lokomaika‘i, the Hawaiian value of generosity
- Q3 Hō‘imi and Alaka‘i, with Mālama particular to stewardship and sustainability
- Q4 Alaka‘i and ‘Ike loa, with Ha‘aha‘a, the value of humility
Enough about me though, I simply share that as our team’s example.
Make this about you. I’ve published this when you may come to expect a Sunday Mālama from me, hoping you’ll take some me time in your own sacred Sunday.
Always On Trend: Your values are good for you.
1. Trust in your values. Choose them deliberately, articulating them for your own clarity, whether in Hawaiian, English, or another language, as long as they are stated in your own Language of Intention: Make them about behaviors you will commit to, and grow better within.
2. As the saying goes, “to err is human,” forgive yourself and move on: If you find you start in a somewhat negative place of dissatisfaction with your current state of affairs, walk through understanding it, forgive yourself with grace, and choose your values based on the good intentions and positive expectancy you want to move forward with, and set a good example for others with.
3. Understand that less is likely more in terms of focusing well and working both reasonably and realistically. With less, you can avoid being regimented in over-organization, and have open spaces for whatever the coming year will surely add to your plate without you even sensing it yet. You don’t want to settle for checking off some lengthy, all-inclusive list: You want to become accomplished with what really matters.
4. And again, why bother? So you can dwell in your Aloha Spirit, expressing it through your ever-optimistic and inherently good-natured values. Not only do values lived and worked help you feel morally on track, they equip you in ways which make you stronger.
5. Prepare to take action. We call it next-stepping in the MWA lexicon. Don’t stop at getting your clarity down on paper… specify what happens next, and get your good intentions done.
Be as good, and as powerful as I know you can be.
Be happy, being you and all you as said when I last stepped into your inbox.
~ Rosa Say