Improving Profitability, Enhancing Customer Satisfaction & Reducing Turnover with the Fish Philosophy
How can you increase personal accountability, enhance employee satisfaction, provide a better customer experience and eliminate dysfunctional/unhealthy behaviors from the workplace while – at the same time – adding value and improving the bottom line? Go Fish!!!
Although, before proceeding any further, the reader MUST have an open mind; this is not a hokey or unscientific method for enhancing the work environment as one might initially think. This has a twenty year history of proven bottom line results that grew out of the Pacific Northwest during a time of enormous prosperity and abundance.
That said, during the mid-to-late 1990’s, I was working as an HR Consultant in Seattle, WA at the height of the first tech bubble. It was an incredibly exciting and invigorating time (and place) not only for the techies but for human resource professionals as well. In addition to working with dozens of cutting-edge start-ups and getting the opportunity to influence a variety of workplace cultures, there were also new and creative ways for addressing staff retention, compensation (stock awards), work-life balance and employee satisfaction.
From that exhilarating space came Fish! The Fish Philosophy is a set of simple, interconnected principles that everyone can tailor to their own life and work – old wisdom for a new day. When you choose to incorporate these four basic principles of Play, Choose Your Attitude, Be There, and Make Someone’s Day, you can change the environment, employee’s attitudes and increase profits.
What is Fish Philosophy?
The FISH! Philosophy® emerged in 1997 from the film, FISH! Catch the Energy, this film is about the Seattle’s world-famous Pike Place Fish Market. What the director captured and translated into film was that even in a workplace where fishmongers spent stinky, grueling 12-hour shifts stocking, selling and packing fish, remarkable results can occur when people accept the invitation to:
1) Be there for their coworkers and customers! Being there also is a great way to practice wholeheartedness and fight burnout, for it is those halfhearted tasks you perform while juggling other things that wear you out.”
- Be There – be present, in the moment, tuned in and part of what’s happening each moment or every day.
- The glue in our humanity is in being fully present for one another.
2) Play! Play is NOT about acting irresponsibly. In the livable workplace, it is about finding ways to have more fun accomplishing serious goals.” We put more energy into what we enjoy, and finding ways to “play” can lead to greater productivity and creativity.
- Some of the methods we utilized in the call centers to make it more enjoyable were monthly celebrations for birthdays, co. anniversaries, ethnic Holiday’s and for a job well done. Recognition of completing a project and/or meeting a deadline in a fun way goes a long way.
3.) Choose Your Attitude! When you look for the worst you will find it everywhere. When you look for the best you will find opportunities you never imagined possible. You have the power to choose your attitude. If you find yourself with an attitude you don’t want, you can choose another.”
- The fostering of accountability for one’s attitude and behavior creates a discernible difference within the work environment; you can “choose” to be positive, and part of the solution, or negative and part of the problem. When you frame in those precise terms, you’ll experience positive changes and perhaps even some resignations.
- By having chosen a positive attitude, the next step is to make everyone you come in contact with to feel special.
3) Make someone’s day! When you ‘make someone’s day’ (or even moment) through a small kindness or unforgettable engagement, you can turn even routine encounters into special memories. Few things are as rewarding and infectious as lifting another person’s spirit’s and the act of serving others quickly returns a feeling of satisfaction.”
- By creating a cultural awareness of what you want and expect, you’ll see positive changes in the relationships you develop at work and at home.
Implementing the Fish Philosophy
The underlying view of the Fish Philosophy is that meaningful learning occurs, when the learner is directly linked to and involved with, the content being presented. However, to achieve success, these principles MUST be consistently modeled by those in leadership roles, from the CEO all the way down; otherwise, this philosophy will have no credibility and will fail before it even takes root.
As a result, before considering whether FISH can be benefit your workplace, the first step is to get complete “buy-in” from the executive team and, in order to do that, they’ll need to be indoctrinated into an “awareness” that they’ll need to possess, and incorporate, into everyday conversations. The most effective method for this indoctrination is by having a Consultant facilitate a half-day session on what FISH is, how it works and what you can expect from it.
In fact, this is precisely how it was presented to me and my staff in 2000; and, what impressed me and my team the most were the dozens of testimonials they videotaped from small employers to Fortune 100 companies. Today, they have thousands of testimonials and they’re quite impressive and convincing. Thus, “if” you’re able to get your executive team to participate in the indoctrination, the philosophy will sell itself.
Although, if more convincing is needed, how about the fact that within the past two decades, the FISH Film has been translated into 17 languages. After the Film, came the book FISH which, currently has been translated into 34 languages. Accordingly, “FISH” has spawned an entire organizational development philosophy that literally hundreds of companies have adopted.
Today, FISH is flourishing in corporate and educational markets throughout the world— championed by business leaders, HR, training professionals and individuals committed to creating a culture of trust, accountability and innovation.
The success of FISH is remarkable. By clicking on the web link below you’re able to view hundreds of testimonials from companies that attribute much of their success to FISH! While producing measurable business results, The FISH! Philosophy also resonates deeply within individuals and produces a result that’s more difficult to achieve: profound personal transformation—one individual at a time.
Mike Russell is a seasoned professional with three decades of experience in the fields of HR and OD. In addition to having a career trajectory of HR Generalist to a VP within ten years, Mike also has a long and successful background as a Consultant/Business Partner to CEO’s, Presidents and Executive Directors in both the private and non-profit communities across a wide spectrum of industries.
As the sole-proprietor and owner of Organizational Development Solutions (ODS), Mike partners with business leaders committed to insulating their organization(s) from potential liability, increasing organizational effectiveness and adding shareholder value.