February 16, 2017

Talking Story Skill-building with Current Events

Aloha mai kākou, let’s talk story,

On the blog this week, I’ve published a post about using current events as the subject matter for team meetings at work: Managing with Aloha through the Lessons-Learned from Current Events.

My reasoning is basic to Managing with Aloha: Talking story about current events gives you the perfect opportunity to talk about your values. An excerpt:

    “Values are illustrative of our convictions, and will therefore drive our behavior in a predictable manner. Our values are rarely segmented, segregated or separated, i.e. some held at work, others held at home, others in friendship etc. The values we deeply believe in, reside within us and our Aloha Spirit wherever we go, and in whatever we do. They combine and blend, variable to context. One value, will course through another, like blood does in our veins to and through all our organs, and notably, our brains.”

    “Second, no matter the job, no matter the workplace, no matter the industry, no business enterprise exists in a vacuum: Every business has a Sense of Place connected to the community it resides in—even a business worked from home is affected by geographic location, and by the possibility of its global reach in today’s highly connected world.”

    “Therefore, to freely talk about current events, is to freely discuss our values relative to those events, and to have another lens and context for our essential lifelong learning about our values. All the better—all the more important—when the values talked about are those your company and your team is mission-aligned with, i.e. they are values you WANT to talk about, and keep ever in mind at the active surfaces of the work you do.”

Read full article (a 1,567 word essay) on the blog: Talking Story with Current Events.

Let’s talk Meetings.

Holding good group meetings, whether for your team of 5 to 7, or your entire department staff or company, is a key management skill, and it’s a skill you learn with practice. Meeting giving, and meeting attending, are subsets of this practice, and skill adaptations of their own. All are essential in workplace communications.

People will often lament that meetings are boring, useless, time-sucking sacred cows, yet let’s get real about this: If true, the meeting itself isn’t the problem, because meetings don’t give themselves. The problem is us, as the meeting givers and takers we are.

The good news? It’s a very easy problem to solve. We just need to approach it as skill-building, with the added benefit of culture-shaping communication improvement. Set the goal:
“I will be a better meeting planner and giver, and
I will be a great meeting participant and follow-up champion.”

It’s no stretch to view meetings through this month’s value alignment with Ho‘omau: Whether you call them your ‘daily pre-shift’ your ‘line-up’ or your ‘staff meetings,’ your regularly occurring huddles are about the continuity and renewal of Ho‘omau, not just its discipline (Ho‘omau Blog Index).

This is ALOHA:
3rd grade teacher Lindsay Yuh kicked off February by asking her class,
“What makes you feel loved?”
Often, one good question is all the agenda you need for a really great meeting.

Cherish your Conversations.

I mean it. Cherish them. This week’s featured blog post shares more about the benefits you’ll reap.

Conversing is natural to us as human beings, just another muscle we use and strengthen, or ignore and allow to atrophy. Conversation is an extremely rich and fertile resource, and it’s the most inexpensive and readily accessible resource we have, feeding into our greatest asset: Human energy.

Talking story? It’s just Hawai‘i’s brand of preferred conversation, one we associate with feeling good and being with good people: Talking Story is Thriving. It’s What We Do (April 2012).

Here is the introduction to “talking story” from my book: It appears in the chapter on ‘IKE LOA, the value of learning:

Talking Story
    This may be the best place to pause, and explain why I refer to “talking story” fairly often. Unfortunately, our ancestors in the Hawai‘i of old did not pen a written history of our islands. Information and the knowledge of the ‘ike was passed generation to generation verbally, with the ‘Ōlelo, the language and spoken word, and in storytelling.
    We are somewhat within a Hawaiian renaissance today, with much effort devoted to recording what we know about our past history before the kūpuna, our elders, forget and can no longer share it with us. Still today, for us to learn of, communicate and dialogue is to “talk story.”
    There is so much I personally have learned from the ‘ōlelo form of teaching, perhaps most of all, that anyone who speaks has the potential to be my teacher. I only need listen as well as I can, quieting the voices in my own head, and being as good a receiver as possible.
    As much as I love reading, you cannot replace the interchange which happens between human beings when you ‘ōlelo and talk story with each other.
    Learning is as much about the questioning, and the requests for clarification and complete understanding. Conversing weaves in assurances and support; it creates agreements and new partnerships, and it builds trust.

I’ll end this week with an Archive Aloha Take 5 tucked in the Managing with Aloha blog: All of these can be found under this single index link—the Talking Story tag. For more, try the tag on Conversing.
  1. Managing: Let’s talk about the Basics (June 2012)
  2. Anything and Everything to Talk About (August 2012)
  3. All Conversations Are Not Created Equal (August 2012)
  4. Huddles, Values and the Work Ethic we Value (August 2013)
  5. Are You Approachable? (December 2014)
Have a great week — get out there and talk story!
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