The mission of the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce is "to promote and sustain our Hawaiian culture, nurturing a strong community of Hawaiian values and to enhance opportunities for success in business and education."
In so many ways, Hawaiian values are universal human values. When applied to business, values remind us that while financial success matters, how we get there matters even more. The Hawaiian value, pono, best exemplifies this thinking.
When we named our company E Ola Pono, we accepted the kuleana (responsibility) that came with a name that means to seek harmony within ourselves, with others and with the land. Yet pono means much more than harmony.
‘Ōlelo Pā‘oihana: Business Talk
Teri Freitas Gorman
Member, Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce | managing partner, E Ola Pono, LLC
In the Dictionary of Hawaiian Language by Lorrin Andrews, pono is defined as goodness, uprightness, morality, moral qualities, correct or proper procedure, excellence, well-being, prosperity, welfare, benefit, behalf, equity, proper, righteous, right, upright, just, virtuous, fair, beneficial, successful and more.
Pono is not a goal. It is an aspiration that is rarely, if ever, achieved. We strive to be pono, yet we all fall short. This small Hawaiian word expresses tenets similar to the Buddhist's noble, eight-fold path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right concentration and right mindfulness. Pono also means to take the right action at the right time. What is pono today may not be pono tomorrow, because conditions, circumstances and consequences will be different.
To be pono is to seek balance between justice and compassion, giving and receiving, speaking and listening. To be pono is to know when to be a warrior and when to be a peacemaker. To be pono is to care for your own well-being, to work when required and to rest when tired. To be pono is to live in integrity--to do right thing--even, and especially, when nobody is watching.
To better understand this value, it is useful to contrast pono with 'a'ole pono, or not pono. In business, it is not pono when a few prosper greatly from the hard work of many. It is not pono to plunder natural resources from future generations in pursuit of profit today. It is not pono to exploit people, nature or circumstances.
Pono reminds us that what goes around comes around. The Hawaiian proverb, O ka pono ke hana 'ia a iho mai na lani, means to continue to do good until the heavens come down to you. In other words, blessings come to those who persist in doing good, even when a reward is not expected. Pono is that sense of contentment we feel after an honest day's work that has helped another person. It is a peaceful satisfaction and deep knowing that all is well.
As we reflect on the past year and plan for the New Year, those of us who live in Hawai'i Nei have much to be grateful for. We at E Ola Pono wish everyone a balanced life in 2014 that is full of health, peace, joy, kindness and prosperity.
Be pono. Do what is right.