Posted by: kentropic | June 23, 2009

kina’ole = choosing what to look for

Nobody serves up a steadier diet of tasty, bite-sized, thought-provoking online content than Seth Godin. If you haven’t sampled his pithy and insightful blog yet, by all means do!

In a recent post, Seth gets right to the heart of the matter (as always) with a brief story that I think will resonate with almost everyone:

“Justine plays a game that involves finding yellow cars on the road and shouting the appropriate term as you see them.What you discover after just a few minutes is just how many yellow cars there are. A lot.

We notice what we choose to notice.

Consider playing a version of spotto involving great customer service or organizations going the extra mile, or employees giving more than they have to. What you’ll notice very quickly is that there’s a lot more of it out there than you would have guessed, which will make it easier for you and your team to follow suit. [emphasis added]”

In a similar vein, how many of you have noticed, immediately after buying a car, that you suddenly start seeing other people driving your car everywhere you go? I never saw so many `74 Monte Carlos on the road as when I was driving one.

So, what does that have to do with kina’ole, generally — and with HR practice in particular? Easy: if you concentrate on finding and recognizing examples of great work in your organization, you’ll find them! On the other hand, if you concentrate on finding lackluster performance, you’ll find that, too.

Now, think for a moment about your workplace, and how you contribute to its culture and atmosphere (especially in an HR role). Which approach is likely to produce greater value for the organization, and better productivity among the people you work with?

Does that mean you want to paper-over performance shortfalls, or whitewash unacceptable workplace behavior? Of course not: looking for the positive doesn’t mean ignoring the negative, or failing to act when that’s what the situation requires. But with the right attitude and motivation — the kina’ole HR approach — even corrective action and intervention can be framed with the goal of helping all parties succeed.

There’s never a shortage of people ready and willing to point out others’ shortcomings. Why not be the person who stands out by standing up for what others bring to the table? It’s a valuable point-of-view.


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