“Managing with Aloha” by Rosa Say

“Managing with Aloha: Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business” (2004) by Rosa Say, founder of Say Leadership Coaching, is a reference guide for managers about managing with aloha.

The basis of Say’s management philosophy is Aloha (unconditional love): the belief that “your staff is innately good, worthy of the faith you place in them, and capable of great things” (page 22).

With enthusiasm and optimism, Say describes managers as teachers, coaches, and mentors, not babysitters; and highlights the “O words” of management: “others, operations, organization, and optimization” (page 172).

Through personal experiences, Say examines 19 Hawaiian values that can improve your management practices and make your business more successful. Here are six values that I think are noteworthy:

‘Imi ola (seek life and purpose): write professional mission statements for yourself and your employees. Goals should be realistic, achievable, meaningful, fun, and rewarding.

‘Ohana (family): make employees and their families, customers, guests, and vendors part of your ‘ohana. Support your community.

Kuleana (personal responsibility): give employees responsibility, allow them the opportunity to achieve, and trust them to get things done.

‘Ike loa (seek knowledge): commit to learning and read books – it inspires creativity and excitement. Share knowledge with daily 15-minute line-ups; and learn about your employees with 5-minute “no-agenda” talks.

Mahalo (thankfulness): thank your employees in front of others and show your appreciation. List the things you have in your job right now, and describe how you will use what you have in a way that celebrates your thankfulness for having it. Start a “Mahalo log” for your employees.

Pono (rightness and balance): choose a job that is right for you, balancing your values with your company’s values. Find a balance between work and personal life.

A key point for businesses, leaders, managers, and employees: “Strive to be your best, not just better than someone else” (page 76).

Read more about Rosa Say’s management concepts at www.managingwithaloha.com and changethis.com/manifesto/show/15.Aloha.

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