Maori philosophical practices and principles are inspiring and engaging: True culture in the workplace
Maori Businesses and Organisations are often intergenerational and the strategic vision has been set in history or created to establish a future for the next generation. The vision is often framed by culture and tradition and whakatauki - proverbs are commonly used to inspire and motivate followers. 'He Ao Apopo, He Ao Tea' this whakatauki or proverb by Rangtitakuku Metekingi, Whanganui describes that 'Tomorrow is a new day and the new day will bring clarity'. It encourages us to keep going, to stay motivated and that the answer will come in time.
Manaaki to show respect or kindness
Aroha to show care, empathy, charity and respect
Kaitiakitanga which includes stewardship, guardianship and wise use of resources
Hapai to uplift others
Mahi Tahi working together
Kotahitanga collectivity and united in purpose
Maori philosophical practices and principles have the ability to inspire and engage employees in an organisation. The principles are based on a responsibility of care, care to those involved in the organisation and businesses and those that do business with them.
The Whanganui River Maori Trust Board is the organisation I have used to exemplify the ability of Maori philosophical practices and principles to inspire and engage employees.
Traditional leaders held positions of power but had the leadership qualities to lead and inspire people to work towards the vision. Contemporary Maori society are more inqusitive, more technology savy require to be informed rather than trust in the decisions made which is what happened traditionally. It is this transition that is requiring the management of today to utilise the philosophical practices and principles even more to guide their management.
Reinforcement of the vision is continuous.
The vision focuses on the physical attributes of the River the fact that it is continous it binds everyone along its length together, what someone does at the top affects someone at the bottom. The vision is used to retain collectivity amongst the people externally and internally.
Values lead practice internally and externally
Manaaki respect and kindness is shown to everyone who interacts with the organisation and to fellow colleagues
Aroha management and employees are required to show care, empathy, charity and respect and serve the wider needs of the Iwi - tribe.
Kaitiakitanga known as Tangatatikitanga in my Iwi-tribe, stewardship, guardianship and wise use of resources relate to care and protecting not only the assets but also the environment and those things that the next generation will receive from you.
Hapai to uplift others as a manager it is your responsibility to build and foster the skills of your employees externally it is to provide opportunities for other.
When signficant changes occur such as the change in leadership it was critical that we looked to our cultural paradigms to provide stability throught the transition. These philosophies, practices and principles all reminded us about our responsibility of care and duty to fullfill the vision of our ancestors.
Communication is critical. The beneficiaries of the Iwi - tribe are spread throughout the world you have to use all forms of technology to interact.
SOLUTION: A wide communication strategy is required:
For those living at home within the tribal landscape hui - meetings are held periodically to report progress to the people. Newsletters are used to communicate major progress to the wider tribal population. The Iwi - tribe has a website where descendents can learn about the history and receive updates on progress. Facebook is used to connect to the younger generation and specific youth events are held that focus on exposing the young people to their Maori, Iwi - tribal identity.
CHALLENGE: Political decisions are often complex and not easily understood by the membership that make final decisions about ratifying any settlement with the Crown.
SOLUTION: Information is shared regularly so that people follow the progress including the ups and downs of the process. Where possible both parties provide opportunities to engage with the wider population sharing the burden of communicating a difficult message but also sharing responsibility and ownership of decisions.
CHALLENGE: The change from traditional leadership to contemporary leadership, when traditional leadership passess there is a time of uncertainty and people worry about who will step up and be the next leader.
SOLUTION: Breakdown the roles in transition a team of people pick up the respective roles that once the traditional leader may have carried in isolation. The team work to communicate the new pathway of leadership and clarity of roles is determined. The team collectively meet periodically to ensure that the Iwi - tribe maintains a consistent approach
Performance is measured by the satisfaction of the people who provide their feedback directly when attending meetings or send it via the email. The people are asked to ratify the steps of progress so this is an immediate confirmation that the work is being achieved and the people are happy.
Our Maori culture adds value to our business and those that we interact with and has similarities with the theories of Management and Leadership that I have studied.
Leadership is a process and dependent on a number of interellated things, yes you need the person or the people but the vision and the values are what gives it life.
Chellie Spiller, L. E. (2011). Relational Well-Being and Wealth: Maori Business and Ethic of Care. Journal of Business Ethics, 155.
Clydesdale, G. (2007). Cultural evolution and economic growth: New Zealand Maori. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 67.