Fish! – managerial innovations

Fish! – managerial innovations

The Seattle Pike Place fish market attracts thousands of locals and tourists, not only because of the quality of the produce, but also because of the staff who enjoy their job and are happy to serve their customers. Most of the staff has developed an ability to throw the produce across the premises accompanied by high loud squeals. The atmosphere in the place is full of joy and gags. It is about weeding out stress, boredom, toxic energy and burnout.

This is a result of a distinctive managerial effort, following a period of low staff motivation and declining sales. The philosophy is a set of simple, practical tools to help create an attractive and productive work culture. The FISH! Philosophy fulfills the most basic needs of human beings who, in turn, fulfill the needs of the organization—more connected teams, better communication, extraordinary service and higher staff retention.

The main tools and recommendations are simple:

  • Be There is being emotionally present for people. It’s a powerful message of respect that improves communication and strengthens relationships.
  • Play taps into your natural way of being creative, enthusiastic and having fun. Play is the spirit that drives the curious mind, as in “Let’s play with that idea!” It’s a mindset you can bring to everything you do.
  • Make Their Day is finding simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful, memorable way. It’s about contributing to someone else’s life, not because you want something out of it, but because that’s the person you want to be.
  • Choose Your Attitude means taking responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you. Once you are aware that your choice impacts everyone around you, you can ask yourself, “Is my attitude helping my team or my customers? Is it helping me to be the person I want to be?”

The Fish philosphophy has been translated into a large and growing, franchised management system with training sessions, books, videos etc. It is expanding with subsidiaries in many countries. The Fish concept has inspired tourism and other service enterprises.

See the book about FISH!:

Lundin, S.C., Paul, H. & Christensen, J. (2000) Fish. By Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D., Harry Paul, Hyperion, New York.


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