While clearing Tutu’s freezah, I have kept my job search on the q-t. More fun to talk about food, no? But, I have indeed been dutifully looking for a job and now I have one! I will keep the company’s name anonymous here, but I will share with you how lovely it is!
This morning, I went to my new office for a team meeting, to get to know all of the players – some of whom are on the neighbor islands. This was to be a two-hour meeting. Yesterday, I noted that this was the first time in years that I was not in preparation mode because I was not leading this session! (the first sign that things have changed!)
As we started, I assumed we would dispense with the intros in a 10 – 15 mins and then move on to discuss the business at hand. My notepad and pen were at the ready.
First, my new boss introduced himself. He shared with us his story of what brought him to this company, starting with his camp experience as a kid.
As he was speaking, my NYC reflexes kicked in. I started to get antsy, worrying about the time we were using, wondering how long this would take because we needed to get to the business…
And then, I heard a little voice in my head, “Husshhhhh, no worry. This is not New York. Just listen. Let go, and go with it.”
Next up, a colleague who’s been on the team a little over a year. In sharing his story, I learned about how his family came to the islands and his journey that brought him to this meeting today.
One by one, each team member shared their deep personal history through their own individual kumulipo. I learned about their passions, their cultural beliefs, their families. As I listened, I began to understand that this was an incredibly magnificent and important use of time. I was getting to know each and every team member on a personal level. This was like nothing I had ever experienced before. We were becoming ‘ohana right there in the conference room.
When my turn came, I acknowledged that in listening to their stories, I saw a little bit of myself in each of them. We were already part of one another. And then, naturally, I too shared my story, from the Maui origins of my Hawaiian family, my Great-great grandfather, who was a whaling captain sailing out of both New Bedford, MA and Honolulu, another great-great grandfather who came from Germany and was the paymaster for the kingdom, and then all the way through my time on the mainland and my journey home that brought me to this table.
Two hours came and went. We never discussed business. That was the point.
As I reflected on this over the course of the day, I understood what a special meeting this had been and how much of a difference it will make in the days (and years!) ahead of us.
In NYC, we intro’d newbies during bi-weekly company meetings. We spent just a few short minutes going around the room saying our name and our role. That was it. Getting to know my teammates would take place over our tenure together (and, in some cases, not at all). Work was about work, even though the company espoused a culture of people first. Today’s experience confirmed for me how far off the mark that place had been.
This company values Aloha, ‘Ohana, and Kuleana. ‘Ae, they do and it is right there in action from the start.
“Toto, I tink dis da staht of one choice work adventure…”