Originally published for the print edition of Ke Ola Magazine, March/April 2020 Hawai‘i Island issue.
Links are additions made expressly for the readers of this site and ManagingWithAloha.com.
This is the 4th article in the 3rd Series on Managing with Aloha written for the joint study of our Ho‘ohana Community and the business community of Ke Ola Magazine readers. Previously, article 3: Ho‘ohana isn’t Job. It’s Joy.
Align: Put Your Values to Work
Fourth in Series Three on Managing with Aloha | By Rosa Say
Live a good life with great work.
To align, is to work with integrity by working true to your values, for your values will drive your best, and most desirable behaviors.
Value alignment is the modus operandi of Managing with Aloha—it’s the constant habit which creates the focus, rhythm and flow of our work.
The core values a business will choose to guide it, are the activators we want to remain engaged with. In a well-functioning business, we want to trust in the certainty of those activators.
Therefore, when we ‘manage with Aloha’ we do more than allowing behavior-driving to happen by matching the right people (of Aloha Spirit) to the right work (Ho‘ohana): We create work habits which assure our focus on the right values happens intentionally and consistently, in that they drive our systems and processes as well. By ‘right values’ we mean the core values you have chosen for your business in particular. (See an example at Say Leadership Coaching: Values in Healthy Work.)
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 as our “why” and our “how to.” Matching these values with sound systems and processes get the work done to make sense.
Simply said, to align is to put your values to work for you in practical, useful, and relevant ways.
Envision a simple chart which is a grid of vertical and horizontal lines. The vertical lines represent the Core Values of your business, and the horizontal lines represent your operational standards and tenets. Standard entries for those horizontal lines might be: The service we provide; The products we manufacture; Our distribution channels; Our sales and marketing; Our financial acumen and fiscal responsibility; Our recruitment, selection and hiring; etc. In addition to the basics of what you actually do, be sure to list those key distinctions you consider your Best Practices and signatures of quality work.
Value alignment is a ‘get real’ analysis you bring to this grid: It is the consistent practice of looking at where your vertical value lines (belief and conviction) and horizontal operational lines (actual practice) meet and intersect—Do they align with each other? Does actual practice, and the daily doing of whatever it is your business does, stem from the conviction and belief stated within your core values? Are each of your core values actually the behavior-drivers you want them to be, or not?
From a customer’s and employee’s perspective, your best analytical question about those intersections will be this one: Do you keep your promises?
There should be baseline value-alignment requirements for each and every value articulated within the Value Statement a business upholds as its Ethos.
For example: One of the operational tenets in the ‘Ohana in Business, our business model for Managing with Aloha, is this:
“The ‘acid test’ of the workplace culture is Kākou communication: Everyone involved speaks up, and speaks freely regardless of their title or position. Problem-solving and cross-functionality are programmatically designed into this model for continuous improvement, fresh ideas, and dynamic energy generation.”
In our value alignment practice, we will review every facet of Kākou communication to assure the ‘speaking up’ we want happens as the “Speaking with Aloha” we espouse as our Aloha Intention.
Another of our operational tenets is The Role of the Manager Reconstructed. We want to assure what we talked about last issue is realistically possible, i.e. “Making Ho‘ohana happen for everyone in their circle of influence, IS the manager’s Ho‘ohana in Managing with Aloha.” We want that goal to be actionable per the Core Values relevant to whatever organization we coach, because it is designed into each manager’s daily work.
Analyze your own grid on a regular basis. Choose your preferred process for doing so, and involve as many of your “employees as business partners” as you can without it being too lengthy or burdensome—cycle them in for fresh perspectives. Take immediate steps to correct work design when your value alignment analysis deems it necessary.
Perhaps the most commonly known value alignment processes are Value of the Month programs. They may be “old school” but they work, and work well. Is it time you dusted yours off, giving it new life in 2020?
To align is to focus well and remain on target. Focus all efforts on the right mission and the right vision with your values, for doing so honors the sense of identity of your business. It also brings compelling pictures of the future within your reach, making them your probable, and most promising legacy, your contribution to mankind.
We ho‘omau kākou,
Value Alignment is Key Concept 3 in the Managing with Aloha philosophy: We explore our core VALUES for the guidance they positively lend to our business models. Next issue, we’ll talk about Key Concept 4: The Role of the Manager Reconstructed.
Read more about our practice of value alignment at www.ManagingWithAloha.com
Postscript: Ke Ola is published 6 times a year, and distributed in print on Hawai‘i Island and by subscription. I have therefore made a practice of archiving the articles on RosaSay.com for those within our Ho‘ohana Community who may want to read them after their scheduled distribution.
You can access all 40 articles I had written for Series 1 and 2 via this index. The introductory columns for each series may be read at the following links:
Series 1: Why Values? And Why “Manage with Aloha?”
Series 2: Aloha Intentions
Series 3: Ho‘omau Kākou.