Fish! Sticks Summary

Fish! Sticks SummaryA Remarkable Way to Adapt to Changing Times and Keep Your Work Fresh

“Fish! Sticks” explains how.

About Stephen C. Lundin, John Christensen, and Harry Paul

Stephen C. LundinStephen C. Lundin is a writer and a filmmaker and the head counselor of Fish! Camps.

John Christensen is interested in writing and filmmaking as well, and is the CEO of ChartHouse Learning.

Harry Paul is a bestselling author and a consulting partner with Ken Blanchard Companies. 

“Fish! Sticks Summary”


You made changes happen.

However, your job is not done.

Keeping the change in place is a real leadership challenge.

Sustaining it asks for using different leadership techniques than those you used when you initiated the change in the first place.

A corporate culture of innovation, asks for constant attention and nurturing.

So, what can you do to maintain the transformation?

Focus on your people and strive to inspire them and motivate them daily.

When you initiate a change, you use the external energy, which can only last for a short time.

In the process of maintaining the change, you need to use your employees’ natural, internal energy to sustain the process.

In order to be more practical and efficient, and know when it is time to act, you need to recognize the signs of a declining change.

Declining change manifests as a loss of energy and enthusiasm.

There are some basic principles that you can use in your workplace and go through this process:

Once you create a healthy working environment, find a way to maintain it.

  • Define each person’s part of the vision, otherwise known as IT.
  • Write the vision in a specific language, instead of an abstract one.
  • People find their IT through conversations, so communicate.
  • In your conversations, discuss the relationship between each employee and the vision, that you wish to create.

If you do these conversations right, people will start to think about how they do what they do.

Through these conversations, you will also gain knowledge on how people perceive the vision. Moreover, do not forget that the commitment to change must be internalized as well.

After you go through a round of conversations, gather a team that will help sustain change.

For an organization to be healthy, it is imperative that this team be committed.

Key Lessons from “Fish! Sticks”

1.      Phases to Get Everyone’s Commitment to the Vision
2.      Find IT
3.      Live and Coach the “IT”

Phases to Get Everyone’s Commitment to the Vision

  • Find IT
  • Live IT
  • Coach IT

Find IT

You can find the IT by talking to the employees and helping them employ the company’s vision into their working life.

Finding the IT means that you find the way that each employee personalizes the vision of the company.

Live and Coach the “IT”

Finding the IT is, of course, just the beginning. You need to also live your IT by acting on the opportunities that present themselves to you.

Finally, coaching will make the vision last.

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“Fish! Sticks” Quotes

The minute a new way of work is initiated, the gravity pull of old ways begins. Click To Tweet In the beginning, novelty can be an adequate source of energy. Over time a deeper and more sustainable source must be found. Click To Tweet After you have been operational for a while, people lose some of their focus and it takes a different set of commitments and a different type of focus to keep things going. Click To Tweet Natural energy is released when we talk about things that are important to us. Click To Tweet The only way to find our IT inside the vision is to talk about work with coworkers. Click To Tweet

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Fish! Tales Summary

Fish! Tales SummaryReal-Life Stories to Help You Transform Your Work Place and Your Life: Bite-Sized Stories. Unlimited Possibilities

In the business world, you may want to learn how to swim with the fishes, if you don’t want to, well, swim with the fishes. And Stephen C. Lundin, John Christensen, Harry Paul, and Philip Strand have an upgrade to their fish-swimming instruction manual “Fish!

This one’s called “Fish! Tales.”

About Stephen C. Lundin, John Christensen, and Harry Paul, with Philip Strand

Stephen C. LundinStephen C. Lundin is the head counselor of Fish! Camps. He is a writer and a filmmaker, affectionately known in the community as “Big Tuna, Ph.D.”

John ChristensenJohn Christensen is the CEO of ChartHouse Learning. He is also interested in both writing and filmmaking and is most famous as the producer of the “Fish!” video.

Harry PaulHarry Paul is a consulting partner with Ken Blanchard Companies and a bestselling author with more than 30 years’ experience in management.

Philip Strand works as a senior writer at ChartHouse Learning.

“Fish! Tales Summary”

We’ve already talked about the secrets behind the Fish! philosophy. Now, it’s time to have another, mor thorough look at them.

But, first – a quick recap:

In 1997, Stephen Lundin and John Christensen visited Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market. And, it’s safe to say that they were impressed by the vitality of the fishmongers and the enthusiasm they enthused in their customers.

A lightbulb:

This may be the right way to organize companies – if there ever was one!

So, Lundin and Christensen spent some time analyzing what went on at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle and deduced four governing principles.

First of all – and possibly most important of all – play.

Work doesn’t have to be a serious endeavor. Not because it isn’t, but because we, as people, are capable of tackling serious problem through playing. In fact, some cultural theorists even think that we should not be referred to as “homo sapiens,” but as “homo ludens.”

Or, in other words: not the “wise man,” but the “playing man.”

So, make your work environment joyful. And create a party-like atmosphere. That way, your employees won’t feel as if they’re working, but as if they’re playing.

Next: make their day.

Or, in other words – make your customers happy! The only thing you need to do in order to achieve this is to cater to their needs – instead of yours.

Which means: even if something is routine (like a transaction) do something small which will make the transaction “memorable.” Like give them a cookie. Or a hug.

Third: be there.

When you’re with someone – your employees, colleagues, or customers – actually be with that someone. Focus on what you’re currently doing – not on what you’ve done or intend to do in the future.

This shows that you care. And people like being around people who care.

Finally: choose your attitude.

Really – it’s all about choice. You can’t control what’s happening to you, but you can control how you react to what’s happening.

So, choose a positive attitude.

Because only an attitude of this kind generates positive attitude in return.

Key Lessons from “Fish! Tales”

1.      Play: People Like Games and Working Should Be One
2.      Make Their Day: Provide Memorable Acts of Kindness
3.      Be There: Be Always Present
4.      Choose Your Attitude: Be Positive

Play: People Like Games and Working Should Be One

Playing is the essence of being a human. So, stop making your employees take working seriously. Provide them with a nice party-like environment. And they won’t even notice they’re working.

Make Their Day: Provide Memorable Acts of Kindness

Make your customers happy. Provide them with small acts of kindness. Do something they’ll never forget. And if you can’t think of something like that – do something they won’t forget for at least a day. A hug, a smile, a cookie – you name it!

Be There: Be Always Present

People tend to disconnect from conversations. While disliking people who are not focused when they talk. Be unlike both of them: attentively listen and be always present in the moment.

Choose Your Attitude: Be Positive

There are many things we can’t control. However, we can control how we react to these things. So, try to become a more positive person. And the world will become as positive. Or, to quote that old, feel-good song: “keep on smilin’/ and the whole world smiles with you…

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“Fish! Tales” Quotes

At the center of the incredible success of Pike Place Fish is the engagement of one person at a time. Click To Tweet In healthy workplaces, where people are free to be passionate about their work and accountable to their teammates, play happens naturally. Click To Tweet Play must come from within and so you can only invite play. Click To Tweet When you learn you have the power to choose your response to what life brings, you can look for the best and find opportunities you never imagined possible. Click To Tweet The glue in our humanity is in being fully present for one another. Click To Tweet

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Fish! Summary

Fish! SummaryA Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

What can a fish market teach you about management?

Read our summary to find out.

Who Should Read “Fish!”? And Why?

“Fish!” is a story about Mary Jane, who has just gotten the promotion of the nightmares.

At least that what she thinks until she stumbles upon the Pike Place Fish Market. There she learns the inspiring management philosophy that might change her life!

The authors of “Fish!” teach readers those secrets by telling this engaging tale. We recommend this entertaining, easy to read and even easier to remember book to all managers, students, change agents, executives, and staff members.

We promise you will be inspired.

About Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen

Stephen C. LundinStephen C. Lundin is a writer, filmmaker, and entrepreneur who runs a corporate membership seminar series for the Institute for Creativity and Innovation at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.

Harry PaulHarry Paul is a bestselling author and a senior vice president with the Ken Blanchard Companies. He has more than three decades of experience in management and consulting.

John Christensen is a CEO of ChartHouse Learning Corporation, a writer, and a filmmaker.

“Fish! Summary”

Mary Jane Ramirez is a mother and a wife who lives in Southern California, who, after her husband gets a dream job offer in Seattle, moves there with her family. Soon after, Mary Jane lands a great job in the new city as well. Everyone is happy.

One day, during her work hours, Mary Jane gets a phone call that her husband is in a hospital.

She doesn’t get there on time – her husband is already dead when she arrives.

Mary Jane cannot get over her husband’s death, even after two years have passed.

Luckily, her career goes well – her team enjoys an excellent reputation, and everyone respects her.

Then, she gets the bad news. She is promoted to a manager.

However, the team she is in charge of is the operations group on the third floor, a group of unpleasant, slow and negative employees. This place is otherwise known as the “toxic waste dump.”

She is the third person to get this kind of “promotion” in two years.

Five weeks go by, and Mary Jane has a hard time. She understands how that floor got its reputation.

Nevertheless, she refused to give up. Instead, she tried to understand the employees’ motifs for having that job. She came up to the conclusion that most of them were there because of security, benefits or salary.

Yet, they didn’t seem to understand that their security is an illusion.

While she was thinking all of those things, her boss called to ask her if she has solved the third-floor problem. He asked her to go for a meeting to discuss it.

Mary Jane did not know what she was going to say to that meeting, but she decided to think about it later and go for lunch.

Instead of going to the usual place (the cafeteria), Mary Jane decided to walk to the fish market.

There, she found a “large crowd of well-dressed people clustered around one of the fish markets.” One fishmonger shouted: “Good afternoon yogurt dudes!”

People smiled waving yogurt cups into the air.

The next thing Mary Jane was aware of was a giant fish salmon flying through the air. The worker that threw it yelled out: “One salmon flying away to Minnesota.”

Another worker made a “fish” talk, teasing a small boy.

Mary Jane had to wonder what she had stumbled upon. She was surprised and delighted by the energy in that place.

Then, she stumbled upon Lonnie, a stranger whom she told all about her problems at work, even though she didn’t know if she could confide in him.

Lonnie listened to her and then told her that working at the fish market saved his life.

But what struck her was him telling her that the fish market was a “toxic waste dump,” just like the third floor of her workplace, when he first started.

Then, he told her that he could teach her the secret that transformed the place.

If she wanted to know more, she had to return, since he had customers waiting to be served.

And if you want to know more – scroll down.

Key Lessons from “Fish!”

1.      Secret Number One: Attitude
2.      Secret Number Two: Play!
3.      Secret Number Three: Make Their Day
4.      Secret Number Four: Be Present

Secret Number One: Attitude

The way you do the work is everything.

Mary Jane remembered the dinners she had at her grandmother’s place as a child, and how her grandmother had all the children help with dishwashing.

No one in this world likes washing dishes, but Mary Jane remembered how her grandmother made it so fun, that the grandchildren felt left out if they didn’t join and help.

Secret Number Two: Play!

The second time Mary Jane went to the fish market along with her children. Lonnie made them enjoy themselves, while actively involving them in work.

After a while, Mary Jane realized that the second secret was to play.

Business should be serious, but one shouldn’t forget playing with the approach they have to conduct it.

Secret Number Three: Make Their Day

The third secret is all about customers.

Customers should feel good about the environment, and the way to do that was to engage them.

Secret Number Four: Be Present

The fourth secret, just as the third one, is customer-centered as well.

Employees should always be present, aware of the moment and fully engaged in the work they do. They should pay attention to the customers.

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“Fish!” Quotes

Life is too precious just to be passing through to retirement. Click To Tweet There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself. Click To Tweet The compelling reason to move forward comes from inside. Click To Tweet Choosing your attitude and acting like a victim are mutually exclusive. Click To Tweet We can choose the attitude we bring to our work. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Fish!” is a quick read suitable for all people feeling trapped in a bad environment. It is no doubt one of the most influential and remarkable books we have read on the topic of change management.

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