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Managing with Ohana


Ohana is those who are family and those we call family. Ohana is a human circle complete. Ohana is a sacred form of sharing our lives with aloha which gives us the gifts of love, understanding, forgiveness, and acceptance. It is the most secure and comfort-filled support we have for facing the truth. Ohana never loses hope.

Ohana provides us the connection we need with each other. It nurtures us and sustains us. It includes whoever we want in our inner circle. If you are considered a person’s ohana, then you are family. It’s that simple. Since it doesn’t require a birthright, you can belong to multiple ohanas. Ohana gives you a sense of belonging; something we all need. However, choosing to make someone part of your ohana should not be taken lightly. Ohana is never a word to be spoken carelessly. It is considered the strongest bond you’ll have. No other earthly connections are more vital than those of family. The bonds are flexible enough to be tested but they will not be broken.

People feel safe and secure in the arms of their ohana. It means comfort and security. “It’s an anchor in rushing waters and a solid rock on shifting earth. It’s the sheltered harbor in a raging storm.” Ohana means you do not need to carry the solitary burden of life on your own shoulders. When you are in ohana, your acceptance is unconditional. Your burdens become the family’s burdens. The belief is that many hands lighten the load. There is little hidden within ohana because there is no need to hide anything from those who genuinely love, support, and understanding. Ohana means family and no one is forgotten or left behind. You live in syncopated harmony and unity.

Moving this to a business realm, employees become business partners. They are respected for their intelligence and their full involvement is expected. They share in the work that is needed to make the business successful. Work is personal for people. It consumes a lot of our time and energy. As a great manager, you are to create a work environment where these folks can thrive and return home at the end of a day full of positive energy. As a great manager, you are responsible for the culture you create for your employees. Choose wisely.


CITE: MANAGING WITH ALOHA: Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business by Rosa Say




Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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