Business: Managing with Aloha

Ho’okipa is a Game Changer in Service

By Rosa Say

Ho‘okipa is the hospitality of complete giving. Welcome guests and strangers with Aloha.

Seventh in Series Two on Managing with Aloha

Did you “get your taxes won” in April? Let’s work on updating our business models and business plans next. Ho‘okipa will become the service standard you’ll be able to deliver comfortably and predictably.

Ho‘okipa is widely known as the value of service and hospitality in Hawai‘i and deservedly so. Ho‘okipa practices define the gracious service standards of Aloha.

Can you afford your Ho‘okipa practices?

The exceptional service of Ho‘okipa hospitality is not something a business can economize or scrimp on. If you truly want it, your business plan must support Ho‘okipa as a constant in your business model—a fixed cost, never a variable one.

In the Managing with Aloha philosophy, Ho‘okipa is described as ‘the hospitality of complete giving,’ because we ask Alaka‘i Managers to ‘be complete’ with servant leadership. We fully support working partnerships with Mea Ho‘okipa, the effusive hosts and hostesses known for their natural hospitality, innate grace, and unselfish generosity. They are our mentors. Mea Ho‘okipa is a recognition of character, and of self-expression rooted firmly in Aloha, sharing one’s value-driven breath of life through service to others.

Ho‘okipa hospitality is a game changer.

Click the cover to see this story in our digital magazine.

Click the cover to see this story in our digital magazine.

Ho‘okipa revitalizes a business by sharpening its focus on unparalleled service as a highly desirable and profitable commodity. The service we give to others consistently takes its rightful place at the forefront of our efforts. When we say, “Our customer comes first,” those aren’t empty words—we succinctly state our genuine intention and describe our actions. Customers know we mean it, because they feel it.

There is really no disputing that a business which exists to serve others, is a business internal and external customers willingly and readily support. So why don’t businesses pay attention to this expectation more consistently, and deliver accordingly?

There are commonly two reasons a business will fail to serve their customers well. One or both sabotages their ability to be Mea Ho‘okipa regardless of their intent.

One, they get distracted with other details, the ‘stuff’ every business is riddled with under the general category of operational complexity. These details are a combination of what you’ve outlined in your business model—the mechanism through which your company generates its profit—and the day-to-day busyness you’ll fall into as your how-to routine.

Two, they don’t have a business plan constructed with the financial acumen to support service-giving as mission-critical, non-negotiable, and never subject to budget cuts. A business plan complements your business model, by outlining your company’s strategy and expected financial performance over time.

Designing your model and plan in a complementary manner, is what we refer to as ‘business savvy’ in Managing with Aloha. Without their harmony and strategic business sense, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to afford unparalleled service and the hospitality of the Mea Ho‘okipa.

Your business plan must be able to afford your business model.

Your business model must contribute to business plan growth.

We tend to think of Ho‘okipa with the same kind of ‘soft stuff’ regard given to Aloha. We never argue how wonderful it is, how emotionally fulfilling it is, or what a difference it can make, yet we reduce achieving Ho‘okipa to simply trying harder and being nicer. We must become much more pragmatic about our own expectations—more practical, sensible, and business smart.

We must change our game, allowing Ho‘okipa value alignment to make its best moves in our business model. A valid operational model, supported by the solid financial business acumen of a reasonable plan, is completely free of wishful thinking. You will promote Ho‘okipa service hospitality by being reasonable. You will adequately and consistently support the grace and generosity which paying customers say they love you for, as service standards they willingly pay you for. Of equal importance is the soft stuff your internal customers appreciate, and become loyal to you for—value staff, suppliers, and other business associates as partners who make Ho‘okipa happen with you.

You may operate for quite a while without incorporating Ho‘okipa into your business model, however mere existence isn’t what you’re all about, is it?

Be a game changer.

Ho‘okipa will challenge and upgrade your business savvy. Being in business will feel more visionary, and become much more satisfying, for that’s what serving others well naturally accomplishes.

Next issue: We revisit ‘Ohana, the value-driver of the Managing with Aloha ‘Ohana in Business model.

Contact writer Rosa Say at or

Posted in Business, Hawaii Island 2017 May-June, 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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