Hello bloggers

This is another in a sequence of blog-thoughts from the USA IPMA-HR conference 2010.

Seattle, the host city for the conference is famed for being a busy fishing port and the city’s sporting outfits follow suit with themes adopting a maritime-related identity such as the Seahawks (American football) and the Mariners (baseball).

In search of the maritime origins on Seattle, early in the morning on my first day (I was still on UK time!) I took a stroll to the beautiful waterfront and through serendipity stumbled across the Pike Place Fish Market. This registered something in my memory of a book I’d read a few years ago. As I was desperately trying to dredge my memory banks, I watched the highly animated scene unfolding before me.

That scene was a group of fishmongers hurling fish with great speed and noise across the Pike Place Market. There was a big crowd of us watching their exploits and the sheer sense of fun of the workers was palpable. Suddenly my memory clicked into place…the Pike Place Market of Seattle is famous for the bestselling motivational book written by John Christensen – his book features the fishmongers, the high degree of employee engagement and the success of their business.

If you’ve not read ‘FISH’, it’s well worth getting hold of a copy.  The essence of the book is contained in four simple values. Whilst these values are not especially cerebrally challenging as concepts they are, however, elusive for the average workplace and the behaviours needed for success. If we could embed the FISH principles consistently across public sector services we’d be well on the way to the Holy Grail of transformational culture change.

The ‘FISH’ values include:

  • PLAY – enjoy your work and make it fun
  • MAKE THEIR DAY – have complete focus on your customer so that the experience literally makes the customers’ day
  • BE THERE – focus on what the customer needs…being in the right place at the right time

Last but not least

  • CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE – you can choose to be positive about your work and your customer or you can choose to be grouchy. The choice is the workers and the effort put in is entirely discretionary. It goes without saying the the Pike Place fishmongers of Seattle always have a positive attitude to their work – even when dealing with what might appear to be mundane or monotonous

It was a tremendous experience to witness Pike Place fishmongers first hand as they threw and caught the slippery fish with consummate skill. They entertained their customers who all walked away with a smile on their face and without doubt it was the busiest and most successful shop in town.

Dean