September 7, 2008

Many of you may have already read the Fish! story, or seen the documentary about the Pike Place fishmongers in Seattle who use play in the workplace to have a great time and to engage their customers—and, by the way, to sell lots of fish.

Although published in 2002, I only recently read one of the companion books—Fish! Tales: Real-Life Stories to Help You Transform Your Workplace and Your Life (by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christensen, and Philip Strand).

The four key points of the Fish! philosophy are:

  • Play. Have fun and create energy at home or at the office.
  • Make their day. How can you engage fellow employees, customers and make each other’s day?
  • Be present. How can you make sure you are fully available and aware during conversations with people?
  • Choose your attitude. Each day you choose how you are going to act or which ‘side of the bed’ you wake up on. The choice is yours and the way you act affects others.

This book reiterates the Fish! philosophy, but with real-world examples of companies— large and small—that have incorporated the Fish! way of life. For each area, Lundin et al detail how one company did it, then offer small vignettes (Fish! bait?) of what others have done. Each detailed section is no more than 10 or so pages, and they fit 3 or 4 vignettes to a page, so this is an easy book to dip into when you have a spare moment.

Update (March 2008): I was in Seattle’s Pike Place Markets this month and saw these guys in action. Amazing!

[This article was first published in the December 2005 CyberText Newsletter]

One comment

  1. The FISH! books are great introductions to FISH! techniques that can transform an organization or a person. Have you seen FISH! Culture (for groups) or LeaderFISH! (for leaders)? You also can learn more from others at the Fish! Philosopher’s Network online.

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