A Trustee Can Maximize the Mission through Motivation!


Leina‘ala Ahu Isa, Ph.D., Trustee, At-Large

As our warrior brother, Ku Ching, describes it, “I think I see some incremental changes in certain individual trustees and some evolution overall… into OHA getting more interested and playing a more active role on Mauna Kea issues.” Keep the Faith!

I remember writing this article in late September of 2015, and the Board of Trustees had just approved the Ad Hoc Committee of Mauna Kea. Our caring Trustees intend to maximize our trust funds so we can assist greatly in fulfilling the Mission by being able to help more of our beneficiaries.

Photo: Leina‘ala Ahu Isa with Mauna Kea Protectors

Our “mission” and purpose will be to provide funds and to grow them into perpetuity so our generations to come will not go without. Our members will spend time in deliberation, intentional listening, and making decisions that will move OHA forward in its overall mission of carrying out our fiduciary duties.

Choices can be driven from the inside, or from the outside. The impetus to action can arise extrinsically, from sources outside an individual, to gain a reward or avoid a punishment. Or, it can arise from within (intrinsically), related to (a) Authentic needs or as (b) reaction to imposed control. An attempt to impose control may work for a time, but later backfires when the reward or punishment is no longer supplied.

Edward Deci, a humanistic psychologist whose work is quoted in Kohn, makes a strong case that self-determination trumps control when teachers, parents or managers are trying to promote responsible decision-making. The most authentic power driving choices, he believes, arise when you understand your needs and act in ways that serve those needs. Find details in his book “Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation”(Penguin Books, 1996).

As a former teacher, I want to share with you what I tell my students: Some of you will find my class materials and topics more difficult than others. Indeed, some of you will struggle. But know this: it is my job to support your struggle; and every one of you will exit my class more knowledgeable about the content, better able to navigate it, and more competent at navigating academics in general, than when you first walked in that door.

And I leave you with one of my favorites: “Hardly anything important happens that doesn’t have to do with relationships…It’s getting to know people, being interested in them. Life is built on genuine relationships, where trust and integrity are without question. When that is there, there are no limits!”—G.T. Buck, president of Davis and Elkins College, on the roots of motivation (the lead article in online Chronicle of Higher Education, 11-17-09)

Aloha au iā oe!

A hui hou till October, Trustee Leina’ala