On Ho‘ohana: People Who Do Good Work

People will quickly point to all kinds of reasons for their dysfunctional workplace culture.

“Who has time for innovation when there’s so much other stuff to be done?”
“We work with equipment harking back to the time of the dinosaurs.”
“Nobody walks by this street corner anymore; our storefront is useless.”
“We can’t afford anything. When will this recession be over?”

And the biggie:
“Our boss is clueless and completely out of touch.”

There are exceptions to the rule, however.

Those exceptions are the people who do good work. They might be working with the same types of dysfunctions in their workplace, and probably are. The difference is that they don’t give in to them. They’re downright stubborn — in the best possible way. They refuse to let dysfunction win in the long-run; they consider a dysfunctional workplace culture to be one thing, and one thing only: Temporary.

You could say, that People Who Do Good Work don’t actually see any dysfunction at all, for any bump in the road, any obstacle or barrier or whatever you want to call it (Excuse? Justification?) is temporary too. They know they can fix it eventually. It may take some time, but it can be done, and they feel they, and the good work they do, are solvers who can get the job done, and will.

Coaching tip:

The Alaka‘i Managers who work with People Who Do Good Work are fully aware of their impatience: They hate to be wrong about their own competency and effectiveness, and if they continually get stymied, they move on. They don’t recognize dysfunction because they refuse to deal with other people’s problems, and they refuse to listen to any whining most of all.

If they can’t fix whatever needs fixing in their own circle of influence and effectiveness, People Who Do Good Work will move on and work somewhere else. They’re impatient because they value their own life, and the quality of that life. They know life is short, and their impatience is simply their constant reminder of that certainty. They may like you, and they may admire you, but loyalty is not going to stand in their way.

The fact of the matter is that they are highly self-managed. They may maintain a partnership with you as a friend or mentor, but they don’t need you to be their boss, unless you can inspire or enable them in a way they cannot find elsewhere.

Good Work is underestimated and misunderstood.

People Who Do Good Work are going to do exactly that: GOOD WORK. Nothing is going to stop them, and certainly not some self-fulfilling prophecy of hopelessness that points a blaming finger at someone, or something else — even if it’s true! It’s temporary.

People Who Do Good Work consider blame to be a foolish waste of time, for the way they see it, blame amounts to admitting the defeat of incompetency, and they are certainly not incompetent! Blame is like saying, “I’m not good enough. If I were, I could rise above this stumble, and get my good work done, but I’m powerless.” They know that’s not true, no matter their company position, and no matter whatever other reason you want to come up with. All temporary.

Power is just another word for effectiveness, and People Who Do Good Work will figure out how to get their self-efficacy back (the belief you can be effective): Self-efficacy is always Job One with them, and they always move on and HO‘OHANA from there.

This attitude that People Who Do Good Work possess, sounds something like this: It runs on a never-ending loop of self-talk in their heads, and that self-talk energizes them, hands, mind and spirit:

“I’m not going to blame anything or anyone, and I’m not going to wait for them either. I can fix this, even if I must learn something, or do something else first, or put myself in a better position of effectiveness, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do, for I’ve got ideas and I’ve got dreams. I have my own good work to do, and no one will achieve it better than me!”

This self-talk is highly effective. It is not wishful thinking. It is positive expectancy.

We call it motivation (KULEANA).
We call it work ethic (the pairing of HO‘OHANA and HO‘OHANOHANO).
We call it self-leadership (ALAKA‘I).
When we manage with Aloha, we also call it courage (KOA) and pure, unbridled rightness (PONO).

Positive expectancy opens doors for your self-efficacy to step through, so you can take off running. If you are an Alaka‘i Manager, get this vocabulary, and this chain reaction into your workplace culture as the best contribution you can make.

Do Good Work. Do your best work.

Be one of those People Who Do Good Work and thrill to the life you can lead as you do so.

Isn’t good work what you prefer to be defined by? No one wants the kind of success that had traded on favor, or could only be attributed to good luck. It’s not sweet enough. It doesn’t satisfy you completely.

Whatever is in your way, consider it temporary. Be impatient in a good way.

Do the good work of getting your self-efficacy back, and you’ll feel powerful again. You’ll have the energy you need to do your good work, for blame is what had drained it away before, and you’ve put a stopper in that drain. Blame is not something you’ll do anymore, for the only thing it’ll do is slow you down.

Good work is the work of personal performance and not of situations others create for you. If they do, consider it icing on the cake. You’re the cake, and you’re quite tasty all on your own. You have ALOHA, and you work on your HO‘OHANA.

  • HO‘OHANOHANO: You conduct yourself with dignity and distinction.
  • KULEANA: You take personal responsibility for the work you have chosen to do.
  • MĀLAMA: You take care of whatever you have to take care of.
  • ALAKA‘I: You are the leader of your own performance, and thus your work, and thus, your life.

You have plans, and you have dreams. Oh, the places you can go!

Leading your life is something you were born for, and meant to do. The good work of making it happen is something you will not relinquish, nor should you: No one gets to be leader of your life but you.

So ho‘o and get on with it.


HO‘OHANA is the Hawaiian value of worthwhile work, and it requires a personal approach. Work with passion, with purpose and intention, and with full joy while realizing your potential for growth and creativity. When you Ho‘ohana you are actively engaged in creating your future; you work on purpose, and make things happen. You create your best possible life and you forge your own destiny, for you have connected your wide-awake intentions to the work you have chosen to do, or to learn more about.

Read more: The 9 Key Concepts of Managing with Aloha