Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

| Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen, 2000

What’s It All About?

Way back in the day, when I was working for Magna and touring one of our sister plant Norplas in Ohio, I found the plant’s book club reading Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen. The book immediately caught my attention and I ordered one as soon as I returned to my own plant—and I ended up liking it so much that I ended up passing it around for others to read!

In Fish, the authors present a parable. It tells the story of Mary Jane, who joins a team dubbed the “toxic energy dump” of her office. Mary Jane’s new team is unenthusiastic and ineffective, and Mary Jane is unsure how she’s supposed to turn around such a toxic, burnout team. She finds inspiration in a unique place—the fish market across from her office! While visiting the fish market, Mary Jane learns critical insights from the head fishmonger, and finds creative ways to bring new energy, positivity, and efficiency to her team.

Like Mary Jane, readers of Fish learn four main rules:

  1. Choose Your Attitude. To find new way to lead your team, speak from the heart. Find a message that communicates of notion of “choosing your attitude” and deliver it in a way everyone will understand.
  2. Play. This one is simple. Life is short, so have some fun!
  3. Make Their Day. Engage your team and make them feel special. When you’re paying attention as a leader, it’s easy to find ways to share positivity and reward others.
  4. Be There. When interacting with your team, be present.

Favorite Quote

“There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself.”

Biggest Takeaway

No matter what kind of challenges you’re having at work, you always have a choice in how you respond to it. How we show up is our choice, and it all goes back to our attitude and how we choose to approach our organization, team, and challenges. By choosing a positive attitude, you can have a better effect on others, like Mary Jane learns to do for her team in Fish.

Reviewed by: Trevor Blondeel,  April 13, 2024

At Manufacturing Greatness, Trevor Blondeel works with manufacturers to connect the top to the shop. If you’re ready to improve your own organization, contact Trevor to learn how Manufacturing Greatness can help you build stronger leaders and develop a dynamic, high-performing workplace.