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The Achiever Newsletter

Something Fishy Here?

By Harry K. Jones

A few years ago, I reviewed the runaway national bestseller FISH! (the wildly popular little bookinspired by observing workers at Seattle's Pike Place Fish Market) to add to our 100+ website book reviews. In my travels since that time, I have encountered a myriad of contrasting responses to this able fable.

Based on the global popularity of this parable, I must admit that I was somewhat astonished at the large number of negative comments I came across from a wide variety of readers as well as reviews. Opinions included "featherweight," "no real substance," "SEE SPOT RUN of American business literature," "pieced together mush," and "touchy feely" to name just a few. Being forced by management to read this book apparently offended many people as well. Obviously, several of these thoughts are extremely critical.

I mention this negative response because I can't remember another book that has received so much reader reaction from opposite ends of the satisfaction spectrum. While I have met many people who have wholeheartedly agreed with the above sentiments, I find it very difficult to overlook the positive impact this book has had on readers and organizations everywhere!

Consider the fact that the tremendous acceptance of this book has lead to the publication of two additional volumes in the series: FISH! Tales and FISH! Sticks. The story is also told on both audio cassette and audio CD. A video program and a training seminar are now available. FISH! Camp, a 2-Day Training Retreat, is now available for educators. If you're a true convert you can visit the o-FISH!-ial website ( and purchase all kinds of FISH! merchandise, such as stuffed toys, button down / polo / and T-shirts, calendars, desktop wallpaper, baseball caps, posters, magnets, games, stickies, business cards, ink pens, mouse pads, musical CDs, lapel pins, artwork CDs, flash cards, shoulder bags, and, of course, a Fishin' License! In addition to the financial response of the reading public, untold numbers of curiosity-seekers, including the AchieveMax® staff, have stopped in to visit Seattle's Pike Place Fish Market when in the area for business or pleasure.

One can safely assume that the FISH! Movement has a phenomenal following. In fact, thousands, yes thousands, of organizations are using the Fish! Philosophy to bring more energy and passion to their work. This impressive list includes Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom, Sprint, Ford Motor Company, Harley Davidson, The Mayo Clinic, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Nabisco, and the National Weather Service. An unbelievable number of organizations have purchased a copy for every employee.

In FISH! the authors revealfour life lessons aimed at combating dysfunctional workplaces. They use the story of a fictional company that transformed itself by applying these lessons:

  1. Choose your attitude
  2. Make their day
  3. Play
  4. Be Present.

Is it too simplistic? Is it too "touchy-feely"? Is there too little substance? Is it revolutionary content? Is it an upbeat primer? Is it an exciting, dramatic, philosophy which promises to boost morale and improve the quality of your business and the lives of your employees? The answer to all of the above questions is a resounding YES!

Like so many other philosophies, strategies, tools, and movements, the question of its validity and success lies in the hands and hearts of the beholder. It's difficult to argue the success of the organizations who have embraced this philosophy and experienced great success. However, you must also defend those who have chosen to "pass" on what they consider to be the "flavor of the week."

Here lies another prime example of the "power of the people"óboth leaders and followers. Our workforce today, more than ever before, seeks a cause, a vehicle, a reason to strive for success. A paycheck and job security alone is no longer enough. Avoid this simple truth at your own risk. Provide this critical factor, and you'll find yourself in a position to compete, progress, and succeed. Maybe this particular philosophy isn't the "one" for you. If not, continue to seek out, research, review, and benchmark until you find that special "factor" that will take your organization where you know it needs to be. You owe it to your people and you owe it to yourself.

Publication Date: Fall 2002

motivational speaker Harry K. JonesHarry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services.

Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management

For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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