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April 14, 2005

News & Opinion: The Aloha Connection to Business

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 1:19 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

When someone asked me, Can Aloha be taught? I had to stop, and really think about it. The question came at a time I was about to welcome 150 new hires at a resort development opening in Hawaii, and the executive who asked it of me sincerely wanted us embody that intangible thing we call the Aloha spirit. He wanted our customers and guests to be able to feel it. He wanted us to feel it. He knew that if we could accomplish that one thing, we would be wildly successful.
He was right. And we discovered that it didnt have to be taught; our new staff already had it. We just had to embrace it and let it work its magic. Thats what great managers are supposed to do.
Aloha is something we are all born with. It is an inner source as real as anything you can physically touch. It is our personal combination of innate talents blended in perfect harmony with our values. When we manage with aloha, we release it and celebrate it through our work. When it is incorporated into your business model, Aloha will virtually guarantee your management success and your business profits. Customers will flock to your doors because they want it. When genuine Aloha touches your life it is a pretty remarkable experience for you. Especially in business.
There is a universal problem in business today that crosses all industries: Mediocrity. Customers do not feel they consistently get good service from us, whether they seek it at the grocery store, at their kids schools, when seeking the help of professionals, or in your business office. Business as usual does not mean feels-good customer service and exceptional value.
Managing with Aloha is your ticket to being different. You can have devoted customer-evangelists who have found Aloha in you and everything your company stands for; customers who keep coming back to you for more, happily buying your product or service and telling everyone else about you.
Your customers feel it when your staff has it.
Think of Aloha as a persons inner spirit with a good attitude. Aloha is inclusive and healthy. At work, Aloha is a feeling you have because you believe in what you do and in what your business stands for, you feel your work is worthwhile and you are needed to deliver it.
Lets read that one more time, slowly:
At work, Aloha is a feeling you have because  you believe in what you do,  you believe in what your business stands for,  you feel your work is worthwhile, and that  you are needed to deliver it.
Aloha permeates your company when everyone in it feels the same way: They treat each other with honesty, trust, dignity, and respect. They freely share Aloha with each other, and so naturally, they treat customers the same way. And because those customers dont experience it too often, they come back to you time and time again to get another fix, confident that you will deliver. The actual service or product they pay for becomes icing on the cake, for if Aloha is the feeling they associate with your company, they are equally confident your product will be infused with value and quality and worth: They trust you will not give your customers anything less. They may not be able to specifically give it a name, but they perceive Aloha in your character, and it is a discovery that excites them.
This is just the beginning: theres more! Well talk about it in the next post.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.