living pono, applying living pono to business, living pono in business, living pono philosophies, living pono philosophies in business, living pono philosophy, ways to use living pono philosophies in business

Living Pono Philosophies in Business

Living Pono [pō’-no] means living righteously, taking only what you need and giving whenever you can—especially when you’ve taken. It’s an important Hawai’ian value that can help us live harmoniously in all of our relationships, from our personal friendships to our professional relationships, to the relationships we have with our surroundings and our world.

There are many different Hawai’ian values that all work together in helping form a harmonious life. From valuing different perspectives to valuing humility, there are also clear parallels to how these Hawaiian values can be applied to a successful business. Let’s take a look at how 5 of these values can work this way.


Kealahou [[ke-ā’lă-ho’u]] means a new perspective. Throughout our lives, it’s important to remember that the first way we see things doesn’t have to be the only perspective, and it certainly doesn’t have to be the best perspective. A cracked bucket might seem useless to you at first sight, but the plants and flowers in the cracked bucket waters along the path would disagree.

In the same way, it’s important to recognize different perspectives within your business. This is reflected in the trend away from traditional hierarchical models since more and more businesses are recognizing that someone at the top can’t possibly have all of the same perspectives as the team members further down the command line. Recognizing and valuing all of these perspectives is the key to great teamwork.


Akamai [ă-ka-mai’] means resourceful. In life, being smart is important, but knowing how you can use your surroundings and the world around you to navigate challenges is just as important. Being resourceful is a priceless quality that can help you overcome the most difficult challenges, and can also help you make the best situations even better.

In business, and especially as virtual spaces and commerce continue to take center stage, being resourceful is also one of the most important qualities you can have. Knowing the full playbook from grad school can be useful and important, but in a world where the playbook is changing every week, knowing how to call shots on the fly by using your resources is key.

Aloha Kekahi I Kekahi

Aloha Ke Kahi I Ke Kahi [ah-loh-hah-kē’-kā’-hi-i-kē’-kā’-hi] means looking after one another. We are all on our own journeys, but every person we meet has their own journey as well. Just like we need a hand every once in a while, you never know when the soul you’re passing by needs a helping hand as well.

A lot of times in our professional lives, we can take the mindset that we’re after our own, making sure we’re good and leaving everyone else on a second plane. However, survival of the fittest isn’t exactly how teamwork works. You’re struggling to do the best job you can do, but so are your coworkers and/or employees. Remembering that we’re all in this together and lending out a helping hand is the least we can do.


Haahaa [ha’a-ha’a] means humility. One way or another, we’ve all had our run-ins with this principle. We obviously never try to be wrong, and when we are, it can be difficult to accept that. Being able to recognize our mistakes and offer genuine apologies make us better persons and helps us strengthen our relationships with others.

In business, the same is true. Especially when money is on the line, it can be difficult to recognize our mistakes and own up to them, and even more so from a position of authority. Just like Ke Ala Hou, however, being able to recognize and acknowledge that other perspectives might be better is an important part of a successful team.


Pono [pō’-no] means righteousness. All of these values and more help us live righteously day in and day out. All of these values help us strengthen our relationships with the people in our communities, and with the world around us. In the same way, all of these values work together to help us run and form part of a healthy and successful business.

Living Pono is a philosophy that helps us lead a righteous and harmonious life, and the parallels in business are clear. What are some ways you apply these values in your business life?

Living Pono is dedicated to communicating business management concepts with Hawaiian values. Founded by Kevin May,  an established and successful leader and mentor, Living Pono is your destination to learn about how to live your life righteously and how that can have positive effects in your career. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or contact us here. Also, join our mailing list below, so you can be alerted when a new article is released.

Finally, consider following the Living Pono Podcast to listen to episodes about living righteously, business management concepts, and interviews with business leaders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *