David Hadley

Some time ago I posted a blog titled ‘FISH’. I thought it appropriate that this be revisited after the challenging couple of years that we have recently had.

FISH! You may ask what the #!$@ do fish have to do with an accounting firm? Fish is in fact the name of a best selling business book – by Stephen C Lundin Ph.D, Harry Paul and John Christensen – a powerful parable that will help you love the work you do – even if you can’t always do the work that you love!

Image 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, team and clients. In this engrossing tale, a fictional manager must transform a chronically unenthusiastic and unhelpful department into an effective team. Down the street from her office, Seattle’s very real Pike Place Fish Market is wildly successful thanks to its fun, bustling atmosphere and great customer service. By applying ingeniously simple lessons learnt from the actual Pike Place Fishmongers, the manager discovers how to energise those who report to her and effects an astonishing transformation in her workplace.

This powerful parable lists four things that make the Pike Place Fishmongers such a success – attitude, play, engagement and presence.

The one that most readily attracts me is attitude. You have a choice about the way you work and you can choose the attitude that you begin the day with. When you enter your workplace you can choose to either frown or smile. You can choose to say good morning in a positive way or in a begrudging way or simply not at all. This not only effects your start to the day but also those around you.  

I can still remember on a trip home with the family after watching my son play in a Basketball tournament grand final, I asked him “when you were 8 points down did you still think you could win?” The reply was a quite matter of fact “Yes”. Their enjoyment of the game, attitude and belief in each other got them through. By having the right attitude you have the ability to thoroughly enjoy what you do and do well at it and succeed.

Play – All businesses are there to make a profit, they have responsibilities and obligations to many stakeholders. But some (just like Pike Place Fishmongers) have found a way to take their business serious, yet still have fun with the way they conduct their business. Work made fun, gets done!

Make their day – Engage your customer or client. Find ways to include them in your fun. At the Pike Place Fish Market they may simply throw you a fish, or a street performer may get you to assist with juggling. All of these are in some form engaging the customer.

Be Present – Be focused on what is happening in the present, right there and now. Be alert, pay attention and stay tuned for any opportunities available to assist the customer.  

So is this all that it takes to be as successful as the Pike Place Fishmongers?

No… but it sure is a part of it. It is important that you have the right culture in your workplace to boost team morale and improve your results. If you don’t, there could be rough seas ahead!

Green Taylor Partners highly recommend “Fish!” written by Stephen C Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen.