Authentic Purpose, managing with aloha, What Does It Mean to Manage with Aloha

What Does It Mean to Manage with Aloha?

If you’ve landed on this blog, a quick look around will cue you in on a common theme. Living pono is not just the name of the site, but the driving philosophy behind every bit of information and knowledge presented. It is a philosophy that is important in all aspects and branches of life and, in particular, important in business as well.

Naturally, then, the goal of this resource is to communicate how to manage with Aloha—but what does that even mean? To understand it well, we need to start with the basics.


The Meaning of Aloha

Especially for people who are not from the islands of Hawai’i, Aloha might appear to have a very simple definition. Most people recognize it as the Hawaiian term for hello and for goodbye, but in reality, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

If you check the dictionary in English, you’ll get that simplistic understanding. If you check a Hawaiian dictionary, you’ll find a lot more nuance in a much more extended set of definitions, but you’ll still be missing the point. Aloha can mean hello and goodbye, it can mean love and affection, but more importantly, it can mean so much more than that.

Aloha speaks to the respect and understanding that every single person deserves, regardless of who they are. Aloha is a tradition of community, and a spirit of caring and vulnerability. Moreover, Aloha can’t be pinned down by a single dictionary definition, it is something that you have to experience in order to understand. According to Rosa Say, “alo” is the manner you live within every breath’s turn, and “ha” is the spirit driven breath of your life. This means that the meaning of Aloha, even when taken literally, is specific to each and every person.


The Hawaiian Values

Although that understanding of Aloha might be rather vague at first glance, it can start to take more structure if we reflect on different Hawaiian values. There are many important values in Hawaiian culture that ultimately help us stick to this spirit of caring and vulnerability at different levels and in different ways. Let’s take a look at a few.

Living pono is the name of the site and is, naturally, the driving value behind all of this. Pono, essentially, means righteousness. Living pono, then, means living righteously. This is very closely related to the value of Lokahi, which means unity or harmony. As we move throughout our lives, it is important to be respectful of the spaces we occupy and of the people and beings we meet. To live righteously and in harmony is to take only what you need, and to give back whenever possible. You live in a community, and that community can only be in balance if we are respectful in this way.

Haahaa is another important value that means humility. We have all sorts of metrics and titles that try to paint some of us as authorities over others, but if we stick too proudly to these titles, we might be missing incredibly valuable information from so-called less qualified sources. Humility, in life and in the workplace, allows us to work better with our teams and with our communities. It is an important value to always keep in mind.

Like these, there are plenty of Hawaiian values that are a bit more clearly defined and easy to envision. These can serve as a great basis for understanding Aloha both in life and in business.


Managing with Aloha

A few paragraphs probably isn’t quite enough time to really let the meaning of Aloha sink in, but if you’ve read this far, then you’re well on your way! Fortunately, that also means that you’re on your way to managing with Aloha as well.

More and more, workers are responding to and valuing a company that moves forward with an authentic purpose. Paychecks and benefits simply aren’t enough to retain employees anymore—and that’s a good thing. Studies show that companies that operate on a real, authentic purpose tend to perform better and stick around for longer.

Finding this purpose can be tricky, but finding your personal meaning for Aloha, and the way Aloha connects with your company, is all in the same vein. By choosing some values that really speak to you and managing with these principles in mind, you’ll be well on your way to leading both with an authentic purpose and with Aloha in no time.  

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.

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