Both in business and in life we can experience the concept of Lokahi—or the lack thereof. Lokahi is the Hawaiian word for unity or harmony, and it describes an interconnectedness of different things in the world that work together to create some form of harmony. A crew of rowers may all be strong and capable individuals, but it isn’t until they work together in unity that their boat begins to glide harmoniously.
This concept of unity is important in all aspects of life, including business. Especially as the structures and hierarchies of the working world continue to change and evolve, building a harmonious culture is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects to successful business. Just as with the crew of rowers, achieving this harmony is a matter of unity and teamwork. Let’s break this down into a few more explicit ideas.
Establishing a Common Goal
Just as with the rowers, teamwork only works when the team is working towards a common goal. In business, this is the importance of branding, of company culture, and of setting clear objectives, company values, and visions. It’s important for team members to know who they are working for and with, and also to know what they are working towards. Otherwise, work just becomes a set of meaningless tasks to complete for a paycheck.
It’s also important to remember to scale these objectives. Big and unifying goals like “becoming the best in the market” can be great for general morale and culture, but they don’t do much to put small, important tasks into perspective. Making sure to set and incentivize smaller objectives on a department or individual scale can be a great way of making sure the company’s “common goals” translate clearly for everybody on the team.
Meaningful teamwork can’t really happen without communication, and while people are generally free and able to communicate with one another in a work environment, a work environment that doesn’t promote collaboration can make it hard to get the right communication going. Humans are social creatures, and in order to work well together, we have to know each other.
It’s not enough, then, to just have a well-optimized email and company instant messaging system. Designing and implementing physical forums where team members can tangibly interact and get to know each other is an important step to better and more natural communication. Everybody doesn’t necessarily have to know every single other person, but nobody should be or feel isolated, and everybody should at least know the people with which they’ll be working most directly.
The other two points certainly feed into this one: transparency. In an increasingly social and political world, transparency is a business strength that is mattering more and more to (potential) employees each and every day. People tend to work together in any situation, but just what they work together to achieve will depend on the context. In a workplace, if employees don’t trust the company, they’ll likely be working together to try to avoid work—we’ve all been there. The best way to make sure employee teamwork is also good for business, then, is making sure your company is trustworthy. In a word: transparency.
If your team knows and trusts the business, it’s more likely that they’ll be open and happy to collaborate towards company goals and objectives. On just a human level, it wouldn’t make sense to ask your team to work together for a cause they don’t believe in!
What all of these points look like specifically will depend on each company, team, and workplace culture. The overarching message, however, should be clear. A harmonious work culture is built on teamwork and unity.
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.
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