Managing With Aloha: Invoke Lōkahi for Harmony and Unity

“Lōkahi is the value of harmony and unity. People who work together can achieve more.”
Ninth in Series Two on Managing with Aloha

By Rosa Say

If ever there was a time for Lōkahi, it is now.

As the Roman historian Sallust avowed, “Harmony makes small things grow, whereas the lack of it makes great things decay.”

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I’ve heard it said that we feel discord more deeply when we are older, for we can look back on the varied events of our years and compare their temperature by merit of more experience. This sounds valid to me, for even in a lifetime which spans Hawai‘i’s Statehood, the Vietnam War, and a Great Recession, I don’t recall feeling America was at such odds as I do now, with our domestic disagreements testing us so severely. We’ve had disagreements before—many of them—yet we have always managed to be more understanding and civil, even as we’ve allowed our passions to flare.

However, this I know to be sure: Our discord started with us, and we can be the ones to solve it and heal as we must. This is especially true when we evoke our Aloha Spirit and invoke Lōkahi, the Hawaiian value of harmony and unity.

Lōkahi seeks harmony by bringing people to win-win agreements. It is working with cooperation and collaboration, so all who participate feel valued and unified. Lōkahi seeks unity, because it defines it as a sense of belonging which has grown with involvement, partnership, and contribution.

In Managing with Aloha culture-building, we usually refer to Lōkahi as our value of teamwork, for collaborative work is the objective we most often apply Lōkahi alignment to, seeking a “habit of co-creation” and the synergy of the third alternative: “Synergy is about producing a third alternative—not my way, not your way, but a third way that is better than either of us would come up with individually. It’s the fruit of mutual respect.”

manage with alohaLōkahi is a masterful team player, for to truly learn this value and apply it to our better behaviors skillfully, we must also embrace Kuleana as our value of individually held responsibility, and Kākou, the value of inclusiveness.

Kuleana reminds us that every individual must choose their role, to thereby effectively engage with others from their Ho‘ohana (their work’s intention) within that role, whether they’re on a team, in a family, or seeking to be involved in their community and society as a whole. Roles will differ, and life is more interesting because they do: as every musician knows, you don’t get beautiful harmony if everyone sings the same note!

Kākou provides us with the constant awareness that life is not a solo proposition; our sense of belonging requires us to communicate well, and with others inclusively—judging others, and presuming to know their reasoning or circumstance can never happen before the unconditional acceptance and welcoming nature of Kākou’s gracious extension of inclusiveness does. Lōkahi will then take over as the good partner it is, assuring unity and harmony instead, as our relationships deepen and strengthen.

The Lōkahi coaching presented in Managing with Aloha reads, “Lōkahi challenges managers to be the best possible project leaders of group endeavor in a couple of different ways,” and it continues to explain the detail of this value’s how-to, based on experiences that are the everyday work of business life. Thus, my earlier statement and sincere belief, that we in the islands can lead, and be the ones to solve any discord and heal as we must.

Look back upon your own life, and I’m sure you will find that Lōkahi has served you well in your various roles. Let’s now invoke this value with more constancy and greater intention, helping all of America by the example we set. ❖


Next issue: We revisit Kākou, the value of inclusiveness.

For more information, visit ManagingWithAloha.com.

Posted in Business, Hawaii Island 2017 Sep-Oct, Rosa Say permalink

About Rosa Say

Rosa Say is a workplace culture coach, the zealous advocate of the Alaka‘i Manager, and founder of Say Leadership Coaching. She is the author and champion of Managing with Aloha: Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business, newly released in 2016 as a Second Edition.

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