Ho`ohanohano With Life Changes

joeA single year can bring many things… a house is bought or sold; a family grows by the birth of a new little one, or sadly there is a loss of a loved one; a new job emerges or you change your career.  Things change in life… that is inevitable.  But how we handle that change and adapt for what the future brings shows ho`ohanohano as the important Hawaiian value.

The Hawai`i Convention Center recently saw its General Manager of over 12 years, Joe Davis, depart for the golden sunset of retirement in January.  Much aloha was expressed to Mr. Davis by the hospitality industry that he has been passionate about for so many years.  Likewise, the convention center `ohana was filled with mixed emotions in his departure, but like so many other displays of leadership Mr. Davis had shown over the years, his ho`ohanohano in dealing with this change to our convention center came through.  Instead of shying away from the limelight, Mr. Davis continued to run the convention center with the distinction it has come to admire from so many national and international clients.  He also made sure to pass along the importance of integrity in all that we do, both at the convention center to our guests, and also to our fellow co-workers, family, and friends in our everyday lives.

To Mr. Davis, we wish you much aloha in retirement.  Mahalo and thank you sincerely for all that you have given to the Hawai`i Convention  Center, tourism in the State of Hawai`i, and the SMG family.  A hui hou.

Ho`okipa: The Hospitality of Complete Giving

Ho`okipa is the hospitality of complete giving, unselfishly extending to others the best that we have to give; to welcome guests, customers, and even strangers with the spirit of Aloha.

When we serve others unselfishly, genuinely, in a way that is gracious and satisfying, not only to the malihini (newcomer or visitor) but to every one of our guests, not expecting anything in return, they will want to return for that experience filled with Aloha, that we here at the Hawai`i Convention Center are known for.

HCC staff helping to decorate the hallways.

HCC staff clean and prepare the display cases for a brand new art installation.

Starting from the very first point of contact with sales, to the very last piece of trash that housekeeping picks up, to everyone in between and behind the scenes, we all have very important impressionable roles that can make our guests want to return or not.

Although this unique spirit of Ho`okipa can be more easily explained, translated, and taught than actually expressed, if we see and act with empathy and compassion we’ve already expressed Ho`okipa.

This spirit also transcends into our personal lives as well, whatever the circumstance or situation, without even thinking about it, we give our families and loved ones our all.

With the numerous repeat awards and client compliments that the convention center receives, I’m sure that everyone that works here has the true spirit of Ho`okipa.

Laulima: Many Hands Working Together in Cooperation and Harmony

Our HCC Hawaiian Value of the Month is Laulima.

Laulima literally means “many hands working together,” but more importantly it represents a pillar principle within the Hawaiian culture.

In order to achieve our goals, working together is imperative.  Teamwork is stressed.  Individual achievement is encouraged, but success is found in the contributions of many hands working together.  Laulima embodies the essence of what it means to live aloha.

I recall a story in old Hawai`i, where Hawaiians would take a long cord or rope and tie ti leaves to it.  Then the entire group (many hands) would hold it and form a line in the ocean, holding this rope with the leaves in the water would ‘herd’ the fish towards the shore.  The group would slowly form a circle, to trap the fish.  If one person was out of sync, the fish could escape through that gap in the line.  Success or failure caused by one person would mean success or failure for the entire group.  It was important for people to help each other be successful.

As it applies today, regardless of what your job entails, we are all a vital part of our collective success… Laulima transcends into our work, family, social and economic behaviors.  Placing emphasis on Laulima in any situation will yield great benefits.

A`ohe hana nui ke alu`ia – No work is too big when shared by all.

Laulima paves the way to success!

`Ohana: To Be Genuinely Caring of Each Other and Bond Together as a Family

Our HCC Hawaiian Value of the Month is `Ohana.

Helpful staff at the concession stands are a part of why the Hawai`i Convention Center received 99% in all service categories. Photo courtesy of Spherion.

You may know it as team work, collaboration, togetherness, fellowship or partnership.  Here in Hawai`i, we call it working together as an `ohana.

To deliver a high level of service that is rated as 99% in all service categories in the last fiscal year, the Hawai`i Convention Center relies on all members of our staff to work together.  By excelling in our individual responsibilities, together we can produce the highest standards of service.  In doing so, we take care of one another and unconditionally work together as an `ohana, as a family.  We are encouraged to reach outside our specific departments to lend a hand, offer suggestions, and catch oversights that may affect our guest’s final experience.

From the security ambassador in the front lobby, to the restroom attendant, to the food server at your function, we all work as an `ohana with everyone working together as one in cooperation and harmony.  Our main goal is to provide the most memorable experience for our guests so that they will want to return to the Islands and the Hawai`i Convention Center many times in the future.

Getting ready for another memorable event. Photo courtesy of Spherion.

Our General Manager has encouraged the “E Komo Five” program with all our managers.  E Komo Five is a spin-off of the greeting “E Komo Mai” which means to welcome or to offer to come in.  In doing so, our managers take the time to stop and speak with the staff for at least five minutes, to catch-up and learn about their personal lives and families.  We emphasize our core values by nurturing our relationships with our fellow `ohana.

As Islanders, we are proud of our home and genuinely giving ways and want to demonstrate immediately to our guests what a wonderful place Hawai`i is by including our visitors into our `ohana.  You will find that our staff is always willing to stop and answer questions that you may have about where to go, where to shop, or where to eat.  We want to share ourselves so our visitors can experience what we know as the Aloha Spirit.  We are all ambassadors of Hawai`i and hope to bring great excitement to our guests by having them feel as they are all-in-the-`ohana.

E komo mai and welcome to our Hawai`i Convention Center `Ohana.

Thanks to a meticulous housekeeping staff like Gloria Sumbad the Hawai`i Convention Center stays sparkling clean and beautiful every day.

Kela: To Be Committed To Excellence

HCC Staff setting up another memorable event on the Rooftop.

Our HCC Hawaiian Value of the Month is Kela.

Kela by definition is to be committed to excellence and to uphold the highest standards in carrying out your responsibilities.

Each team member that works at the Hawai`i Convention Center embodies and embraces Kela in their tasks each and every day.

Our dedicated staff takes Kela to heart and consistently puts forth their best by delivering attendees exceptional service and world class food and beverage.  Our efforts have been recognized by distinguished attendees and meeting planners that have voted the Center to 14 consecutive Prime Site Awards.

Kela allows each of our team members to be proud of what they do on a daily basis, leaving an impression on our guests from around the world to return and experience our hospitality once again.

HCC Staff put the final touches on another exciting reception dinner.

Huikala: To Be Unconditionally Tolerant and Forgiving of Others

Our HCC Hawaiian Value of the Month is Huikala.

To possess and practice the value of Huikala means we agree to be unconditionally tolerant and forgiving of others.  When this statement is broken apart, three words, unconditional, tolerant, and forgiving stand out.  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, unconditional means “not subject to condition or limitation, not dependent on or subjected to conditioning or learning.”  The word tolerant means “to endure, to put up with, to bear, done without prohibition or hindrance,” and the word forgiving means “to give up resentment of or claim to, to grant relief.”  Put together, we are agreeing to put up with our fellow workers and associates in a way that is not tied to anything they must do and, should they falter, we will grant them relief.

In our daily lives we all have chances to be givers of Huikala and receivers of Huikala.  As a giver, we realize and accept the fact that people make mistakes.  When they do, by not being too hard on them, it fosters an environment of cooperation and enables us to correct situations and move on.  As a receiver of Huikala, by knowing that others aren’t going to be angry and upset with us for making mistakes, it makes it easier to accept responsibility, helps eliminate “finger pointing” and helps to more clearly define standards and procedures.

In my mind, the true responsibility of Huikala clearly lies with the receiver.  When things don’t go quite as well as planned, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and admit that you’ve done wrong.  You should be open and willing to do whatever you can to help correct the situation and above all, LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES.  If you fail to learn and progress, you fail other values like Kinaoleto strive for perfection and Kuleanato carry out your responsibility in order to achieve excellence for the organization.

See what the American College of Chest Physicians had to say about their experience with HCC’s food and beverage staff.  Paul Markowski, Executive Vice President and CEO:

Heather Nash, Director of Meetings:

Kokua: To Be Helpful and Work Cooperatively With Your Fellow Workers, Especially During Stressful Times

Our HCC Hawaiian Value of the Month is Kokua.

What is Kokua?

When visitors come to our islands, they see kokua on our garbage cans and ponder if this means “garbage cans” in Hawaiian.  We see kokua on signs in the market, on the streets, and we hear people say it.

Our Hawaiian word Kokua is widely used and is part of our culture.  Our workplace, schools, and businesses are built on a team effort by working together collectively in achieving our mission and goals through practicing kokua.  Practicing kokua is reflected through our values and behavior by volunteering to help others without being asked, sharing resources with others who need it, going out of your way to make someone’s day, or making a special effort to work together with others, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Our large event in May, the American Association of Orthodontists, displayed kokua in action.  Our HCC employees, working alongside with our various contractors, hosted our guests and visitors with an exceptional convention and an outstanding and beautiful Hawaiian experience at our place.

We would like to acknowledge everyone for their kokua in making this event a success.

Mahalo Nui for a convention well done!

Lokomaika`i: To Always Act With Generosity and Kindness Toward Others

Our HCC Hawaiian Value of the Month is Lokomaika`i.

Our Vision Statement for the Hawai`i Convention Center is to be the world’s most desirable convention and meeting destination.

An essential element in helping us to accomplish this is lokomaika`i.  The translation for lokomaika`i is to always act with generosity and kindness toward others.  Lokomaika`i is an extension of aloha and love.

From beginning, to everything in between, to end – from meeting you with lei and aloha, to coordinating with your team and providing the best solutions for your event while brightening your day with an island treat or experience, to our aloha and mahalo goodbye’s – we unselfishly give and share what we have to offer and extend our talents with friendship and warm-heartedness.  This is lokomaika`i.  Our goal is to host an event so productive and successful, and experience so unique and memorable, you will want to return.

Guests who have been here share their experience of lokomaika`i with you.  Nancy Todd, Congress Manager, American Chemical Society on what they experienced in Hawai`i:

Lokomaika`i is appropriate for this month of April and throughout the year!  Aloha!

“No kind action ever stops with itself.  One kind action leads to another.  Good example is followed.  A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.  The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”  ~ Amelia Earhart

Kuleana: To Exercise Your Authority and Carry Out Your Responsibility

Our HCC Hawaiian Value of this month is Kuleana.

As far as I can remember, my father used the phrase kuleana in the context of “it’s your job” or “that is your kuleana.”  Clearly it is about responsibility.

Considering my limited knowledge and appreciating knowing what I don’t know, I thought I would talk to Keli`i Wilson of the HTA as she is the person at HTA that has an in-depth knowledge of the language and the Hawaiian culture.

I asked Keli`i what the Hawaiian context was relative to kuleana, once again, in one word, responsibility, but, an interesting perspective was, to who is your kuleana, not what is your kuleana.  As she explained it to me, in the family structure, the eldest had a responsibility to the youngsters and the youngsters had a responsibility to the elders, it was a responsibility to…

When you think about that, we can better define what kuleana means and the “to” will shape the “what.”

Kupono: To Be Forthright, Honest, and Fair in Your Relationships With Others

As we move into the month of February, lets reflect on our HCC Value for the month…

Kupono:  To be forthright, honest, and fair in your relationships with others.

This is one of our important values that we live by here at the Hawai`i Convention Center.  Let’s look at the definitions for each component of this value:

Forthright – going straight to the point; direct.

It’s important that all of us be forthright in what we do in servicing our customers.  Being direct and to the point can sometimes be hard to hear, but you will find that people will appreciate it.

Roberta Kravitz, Executive Director, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) on what makes them return to Hawai`i:

Honest – honorable in principles, intentions, and actions; upright.

Honesty is probably one of the most critical components of being Kupono, both in our professional and personal lives.  Without this trait, we would not have the HCC `Ohana that we do.

Catherine Rydell, Executive Director/CEO, American Academy of Neurology (AAN) shares what makes their Hawai`i conference memorable:

Fair – free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice.

This is demonstrated in how we handle each and every event that has chosen to come to the Center.  It doesn’t matter if it’s an event of 10 or 10,000 attendees, everyone is treated equally with fairness and aloha.

Richard Yep, Executive Director, American Counseling Association (ACA) on the service they’ve received in Hawai`i:

It’s important that we remember these values both in our professional and personal lives.  The relationships that are formed are the foundation for the HCC.

As we celebrate both Valentine’s Day and President’s day this month, let’s remember our values and respect the relationships that we have made.

And remember, though the month of February is a sad one for a lot of us with the end of the NFL football season, we can look on the brighter side that baseball season is right around the corner!

Aloha and live Kupono!