For millions around the world, the Aloha Spirit conjures up images of surf, sand, tiki torches and friendly faces. But for the astute, it means much more. And it’s good for all businesses.

Hawai‘i is one of the most diverse places on the planet. Its residents have migrated from all over the world, and its 8 million+ visitors a year hail from all four corners of the globe. More importantly, its native population has been living their culture and values for generations. And there’s a lot we can learn about getting along the Hawai‘i way.

The ancient Hawaiian practice of ho’oponopono is commonly understood to be about restoring harmony between people. The deeper significance is more than just asking for forgiveness. It requires the clearing of one’s mind in order to understanding another’s position. To do this also requires a mindfulness to restore harmony within one’s perceptions and another’s reality.

The Kohala Institute at ‘Iole has articulated a set of universal values in order for collaboration to begin. Before diving into the deal, first you must establish a mutual agreement on these values grounded in gratitude, respect, accountability, courage and engagement. Imagine beginning a corporate retreat or strategic planning process by first exploring what is the common understanding of these values in your business dealings.

The aloha spirit is more than a good feeling. It is a protocol that can help bridge cultures and unite common interests in business and in communities. Immerse yourself in aloha.

Alan Tang is the chairman, CEO and president of Olomana Loomis ISC, an award-winning integrated business consulting, brand and marketing firm based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

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