FISH! by Stephen Lundin

Here’s a great love story with a powerful workplace message. It’s a really easy read and one I encourage all my clients to get in to. It teachs the steps to take to learn to love what you do, and make your workplace an energetic, enthusiastic and wonderful place to be.

The Theme –Work Made Fun Gets Done!

The key characters Mary Jane Ramirez, a manager from First Guarantee Financial, and Lonnie, a fishmonger from Seattle’s world famous Pike Place Fish Market, teach us how to transform a “toxic energy dump” into a workplace that adds value, productivity and profit to the company, creating happier workers, employers, and customers!

1. Choose your attitude.

Following the sudden death of her husband, Mary Jane had to take a position on the dreaded 3rd floor of First Guarantee Financial because of the salary raise and benefits it would provide her, as she was now a single parent.

The challenge was to transform this “toxic energy dump” into a unit that the rest of the company could work with effectively. They were the butt of all company jokes, where phone calls would go unanswered, and people could be counted on to rush to the elevators at 4.30 every day.

Mary Jane stumbled upon the Pike Place Fish Market one day during lunch. She immediately noticed the energy, enthusiasm, and interaction the market fishmongers and customers had. She made friends with Lonnie, who promised to help teach her staff the secrets of the success of the Fish market.

Lesson 1: There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is no choice about the work itself. We can choose the attitude we bring to our work.

Wisdom from the Pike Place Fish Market:

• Have the courage to change.

• Never fear the risk of failure. The risk of doing nothing is greater than the risk of acting.

• Leave your own indelible mark on the world. Respect your creative urges. Your choices are as authentic as you are.

• Never stop learning and growing.

• You have within yourself more resources of energy, talent, and strength than you think.

• Concrete steps to take: Call a meeting and speak from the heart, find a message that communicates choosing your attitude in a way that everyone will understand and personalize. Provide motivation, and persist with faith.

Life Is Too Precious To Be Passing Through To Retirement.

At the Pike Place Fish Market, a character named Wolf had been on the road to a career as a professional race car driver. Following a serious accident he wallowed in self-pity and his girlfriend left him and friends stopped calling. He realized he had an important choice to make – live fully, or let life slip away in a series of missed opportunities.

2. Play! You can be serious about your work without taking yourself too seriously.

In Lonnie’s words “This is a real business which is run to make a profit. This business pays a lot of salaries, and we take the business seriously, but we discovered we could be serious about business and still have fun with the way we conduct business. We have a lot of pride in what we do and the way we do it. And we have become world famous.”

3. Make someone’s day. Create great memories.

The playful way we do our work allows us to find creative ways to engage our customers. Find ways to respectfully include them in the fun. Mary Jane observed this in the way customers had fun catching fish thrown by the fishmongers. Customers like being part of the show.

4. Be present.

Focus on the customer in front of you and be tuned in to opportunities to be there for people. Be alert, and pay attention.

Find Ways To Let Your Staff Discover The Fish Philosophy For Themselves.

Mary Jane realized it wouldn’t work to simply tell her staff about the Pike market, they had to see it for themselves.

The staff were assigned to think about the four key ingredients she outlined.

The Team Reports

Each Team brought their reports to the rest.

The Play team used a game to come up with some great ideas to implement more fun with a happier atmosphere.

The Make Their Day Team used a survey to understand what others thought of them and came up with a list of strategies to implement.

The Present Moment Team members related personal stories on the importance of being present for people and identified how to be fully present for one another and their customers.

The Choose Your Attitude Team report was brief and direct to the point, listing the benefits of choosing your attitude:

THE CHOICE IS YOURS. “Angry, disinterested, bitter” or, “Energetic, caring, vital, supportive, creative”

One Year Later

The book finishes with a look at life a year later… I won’t spoil the story by telling you the ending… you need to read it for yourself to get the full message.

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