FISH! tools and training from FISH! Philosophy.com
12 fishmongers and their leader became the start of a global cultural revolution
FISH! films, books, posters, soft toy and team exercises have been a source of inspiration in many, many companies worldwide. The iconic fish shop World Famous Pike Place Fish has been an inspiration ever since the first fish was thrown in 1965. The 12 fishmongers just sat down in the back room and talked about how they could become world famous. World fame does not come by itself. It must be created every single day.
Therefore they continued to meet out in the back room and talk about business for half the meeting time and about their manner of doing what they did for the other half of the meeting time. Every second Thursday. All year. A relatively simple recipe. But even though it sounds simple, there are not many who have succeeded in doing what the fishmongers did.
- FISH! is an invitation to re-awaken the self-trusting, creative spirit within each of us.
- FISH! inspires new conversations about what’s possible and fosters new attitudes.
- FISH! builds skills that enable you to design a workplace full of inspiration, creativity and innovation.
- FISH! is wisdom that everyone can embrace; an invitation that enables people to care about each other and their commitments.
- FISH! is an ongoing journey impacting industries and communities worldwide.
- FISH! is a practice which through invitation and commitment, evolves over time creating a positive workplace and a vibrant culture.
- FISH! is a common language that helps improve your culture through four simple practices.
The leader is the first ingredient
The difference between a normal team and The World Famous Pike Place Fish team is the leader.
It was manager John Yokoyama who agreed to use an external consultant, Jim Bergquist, together with the fishmongers in the back room. Out there in the back room, they talked intensely about what they basically wanted to create. You can easily sell fish and make money. But Yokoyama wanted more. And Jim Bergquist was going to help him with that.
The youngest fishmonger in the room said very quickly and with great courage: What if we became world famous? The others in the room were surprised by this announcement, but when everyone had recovered and talked about the idea, they could well hear that when you are world famous and show up in a Mercedes to sell fish, it is not the type of world fame they needed to think about. But making a world-famous difference to the people who come into the shop - everyone could understand that. To make a world-famous difference for customers, for colleagues, for the local environment.
That is how it started. That is how the story has been described. Both in the fishmongers' own book 'CATCH!' and in John Yokoyama's own book 'When Fish Fly'. And that's how Jim Bergquist, BizFutures explains it.
Every customer who comes into close contact with World Famous Pike Place Fish experiences this extraordinary relationship that the fishmongers create every time. The extraordinary world famous difference. And it is only created because John Yokoyama made it possible in the back room in 1986.
The fishmongers explain it this way: We positively influence the individual customer's quality of life. This is the practical explanation of 'world famous difference'.
That is why the story of the World Famous Pike Place Fish has the most significance for all the world's managers, team leaders, department heads, school leaders, teachers and trainers and foremen - all those who must be world-famous examples for their employees, so that they can be the world-famous difference in everything they do.
That's how John Yokoyama did it. He couldn't just go out and ask the employees to be world famous. It began with himself. So how do you become a world-famous manager of a team of fishmongers in a company called World Famous Pike Place Fish?
As a leader, you have to commit to the vision. How it turns out is difficult to formulate. At Pike Place Fish, they call it 'the vision'. Others may call the larger overall purpose the 'mission', the 'meaning', our 'it', our 'why', the 'purpose', the 'intention'. Either way, you have to commit to it. And the one who has to commit first is the leader. Only then the manager can invite the employees along.
How does this work in practice?
Here's a story from another 'world': Safety on a Shell drilling platform was very poor. Accidents happened every day. Hands, eyes, ears, feet. Every day a new occupational accident. The management really wanted to look after the employees, so they agreed to a new initiative together with a team of employee representatives. In addition to the public address system, a reminder to use safety equipment such as gloves, glasses, hearing protection, shoes and a helmet should sound regularly. The employees then got the idea that they would supplement these reminders with music numbers chosen by themselves. The first employee handed over a Beatles CD and asked them to play 'The Long and Winding Road' for a security announcement and bring the employee's name. The idea spread quickly and throughout the day there were safety announcements accompanied by music from the employees. Within a few days, the number of workplace accidents dropped to zero.
The management had engaged in the matter and got all the employees on board. And then everyone committed to the 'cause': We must all take care of everyone here on the rig. Such a brilliant result does not last forever and needs to be renewed regularly. All visions must be maintained, refreshed, twisted, reminded and reformulated. Zero accidents at work does not happen by itself and requires hard work from everyone.
Have a look at John Yokoyama about ledership HERE
A few lines written by John Yokoyama in his book 'When Fish Fly':
Sometimes my intentions are difficult to live. Although I have committed to them, I must admit that I am not always being World Famous Pike Place Fish. Some days I struggle just to get to work. But even when I am not being purposeful, I know I am capable of finding my way back to my commitments. I choose where I am at a given moment, and I always have the choice to bring myself back to the vision.
With every customer, every crewmember, every supplier, and even with you, the reader, I have the choice to live World Famous Pike Place Fish. When I miss opportunities to enhance the lives of my customers or crew, I am very aware of the choices I've made. I can't excuse myself from responsibility by saying 'I don't know what our purpose means.' I can't avoid accountability by saying, 'I am the boss, so this world famous thing doesn't apply to me.'
My staff knows that I share the vision; not only have I said so formally and publicly, but I regularly recommit to it. In my own head, on a moment-to-moment basis, I reconfirm that I am 'John Yokoyama, World Famous Pike Place Fish.'
FISH! became a worldwide success
First came the film about the world-famous fish store and the story of their energetic and authentic approach to service, customers and products.
Then came FISH! STICKS the film about being persistent and keep talking about their way.
Then came a series of LEADER FISH! films about how to manage to turn your team into an extraordinary crew.
Then came a handful of FISH! TALES films about how other types of companies do when they are not dealing in seafood.
A string of books followed as well as several other tools.
You and your company can order all these tools and methods right here. If you have any questions about the process or would like a presentation, contact@LEADERSwarehouse.COM
FISH! has been used in more than one way. Here are 3 ways:
The first way: Show the film to the whole team. After the film, talk about what you think works that you can use too (in unchanged or in an adapted form). Also talk about what you think doesn't work and what you can't use. Then try out the four practices, BE THERE, PLAY, MAKE THEIR DAY and CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE. There are exercises in The FISH! Guide and in The FISH! Cook Book. Afterwards you talk about what makes it a good idea to focus on just these four practices and what the value will be. You then agree how much time you will spend adapting, adjusting, renovating your ways of being a team at subsequent, internal meetings.
The second way: Show the film to the entire leadership team. After the film, you say to the managers: Today we have to work on how we, as managers, get our employees to be like in the film. Ask your participants to sit down in pairs and find all the practical ideas for managing individual employees, small teams and the whole company. After 60 minutes, ask everyone to present their ideas to each other. Now everyone has a foundation to work on with either 'the whole company', 'teams' or 'individual employees'. Now ask everyone to get together in trios with only new participants to work on all the ideas presented, but now only focusing on either 'whole company', 'teams' or 'individual employees'. When approx. In 3 hours, the trios can present a 'white paper' for each focus: Management of the new corporate culture.
The third way: Before you meet, take the test individually here: FISH! Culture Checkup: https://www.fishphilosophy.com/culture-checkup-contact-form-public/ and receive the result. Bring the results to your meeting and find out whether your perceptions and test answers are roughly the same. Now ask yourself and find the answers to what it means that your answers are where they are, whether you should completely disregard the investigation or whether you should do something about the situation. You will get answers to Engagement & Morale, Teamwork & Trust, Customer Service, Leadership and Retention & Recruitment. Then you are warned and thus ready to hear the truth. Together with the test answer, you will receive suggestions for improvement. Talk through the suggestions thoroughly and try to figure out together what you can do about it.
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