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Fish Tales - Book Review

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Fish Tales

Book Title: Fish Tales

Author: Stephen C. Lundin, John Christensen, Harry Paul & Phillip Strand

Approx Read Time: 140 – 160 min

Review: Imagine a workplace where everyone chooses to bring energy, passion, and a positive attitude to the job every day. Imagine an environment in which people are truly connected to their work, to their colleagues, and to their customers. Who wouldn’t want to be in such a workplace? When you make room for play at work, great things happen. They discovered this at Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle.

Pike Place defined four things that they believe lead to a good work experience:

Play – Allow yourself to be silly. Bring some fun and games into the workplace. Have fun and create energy around at the office.

Choose your attitude – You decide for yourself what attitude you bring to your job. 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.

Be present – How can you make sure you are fully available and aware during conversations with people? It is about create a greater sense of intimacy between individuals. Be there, in both body and mind.

Make their day – How can you engage fellow employees, customers and make each other’s day? By giving your customers and colleagues good experiences.

FISH told the story of a fictional company that transformed itself by applying lessons learned from this place. That’s what I had heard about the book. And when I returned The One Minute Manager, the book I just finished reading, I saw this book on the library’s list. I requested the receptionist to get me this book from the owner’s cabin. I was excited and took it home. When I reached home and took a good look, the book was actually Fish Tales. I was flummoxed. I thought I had picked the wrong book. My spirits dropped. Even if I consider reading the Fish next time, this one was a sequel book when I looked closely. Now generally a sequel won’t be that much enjoyable, unless you have read the first one. I kept the book aside. This was Tuesday last week. This week’s Monday Morning while I was travelling from Mumbai to Pune. I had time to kill. I picked it up to glance through and instantly engrossed in it. Soon I realised, this book actually stands on its own for first timers to the FISH philosophy – prior reading of Fish is not necessary.

FISH TALES focuses on diverse companies such as a bustling Sprint regional customer service centre, a quiet neurosurgical unit at a major hospital, and a brilliant car dealership. It uses storytelling to convey its message (the 4 points that Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market believes in), and the tips in the book can be understood and used by leaders and employees alike. All the stories are interesting and touching. It is a simple and refreshing way to explain stuff that might otherwise become theoretical and dry. It features dozens of short takes–quick and easy ways to apply the FISH philosophy right now. The book is able to illustrate one point extremely effectively. How workers attitudes can impact a setting and how many of us don’t understand how our attitude impacts our work setting and quality of life.

Change does indeed happen one person at a time. I recommend this book to anyone interested in creating a better workplace – whether for yourself or for others, more especially top management people. Because if top managers don’t cooperate or practice what they preach or understand why and how this philosophy works, this will fail, just like most management programs designed to attain all of the above mentioned goals of productivity, energy, etc. do. Go to Amazon to get your copy.

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