The Living Pono Philosophy

Hawaiian principles of balance and harmony can be incredibly useful when it comes to fostering healthy and successful workplace environments and politics. It’s no wonder, then, that professional philosophies such as Servant Leadership go hand-in-hand so well with Hawaiian philosophies such as Living Pono. Unfortunately, however, if Hawaiian isn’t your native language, some of these terms and parallels might be difficult to follow at first glance. If that’s the case, using our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Section, here’s a quick breakdown of some of the Hawaiian terms that pop up often throughout this site.

Pronounced “ala-kah-ee,” Alaka’i is the value of leadership and guidance. Breaking it down, “Ala” can mean to rise up, and “ka’i” can mean to lead, or to lift up. Together, Alaka’i expresses what strong leadership looks like; a strong leader must rise to the occasion and lead others through challenges, leading by example.

Pronounced “loh-kah-hee,” Lokahi can be roughly translated to mean “unity” or “harmony.” More illustratively, consider a crew of rowers. Each rower is certainly quite strong with great endurance, but if each rower were simply to row as strongly as possible at their own pace, the boat would not make much progress. Only when every rower begins to row in unity do we see the boat glide graciously over the water. This is Lokahi.

Pono, pronounced “poh-noh,” roughly means “righteousness.” Living Pono, then, would mean “living righteously.” More precisely, this means having a harmonious and respectful relationship with those that surround you, and with your surroundings themselves. It means you take only what you need, and you give back whenever you can. Living Pono is a state of being in balance with mind, body, and spirit, and it’s the result of putting kindness and respect first.