My book choice is Fish! by Stephen Lundin.
It’s certainly not a literary masterpiece! Any lower school child could read it, but don’t let that put you off. It’s a one hour read, and the simple tale of a stall within The Pike Place Fish Market, a homogeneous marketplace of fish sellers in Seattle.
All of the stalls obtain their stock from the same boats that come in to the harbour every morning, and the stalls are in this huge, loud market that reeks. There is one stall that completely outsells all others, every day of the week, every month of the year. Why is that?
It’s the way these fishmongers work as a team, the principles they adopt and their attitude. It’s a combination of teamwork, salesmanship, customer service and putting yourself into other people’s shoes.
Without disposing of the benefits of reading this book, their four philosophies are:
1 – Choose your attitude. You could be turning up to work at 4am, in the smelly fish market, thinking that it’s the worst job in the world. Or, you can decide that you’re going to have a really great day and be the number one selling fish stand in the place. Choose your attitude the moment you wake up, and think about what impact you want to have. Don’t be on autopilot! When you are aware of your choice you are in control of your attitude and how you project yourself, and not vice versa. Plan for situations that test your attitude, and focus on being the best version of yourself.
2 – Be there. When people need you, they need all of you. Don’t allow distractions to interfere with your focus, choose to be fully present. Treat the other person as if the world has stopped around them and give them every ounce of your attention. Be aware of their needs, listen in order to understand, clear your mind of judgments and be emotionally present. This makes for a much better interaction and experience – be it customer service, teamwork or strengthening trust.
3 – Make their day. Every interaction with another person is a chance to make a positive impact, and simple gestures can make a big impact. If everybody, once a day, does a simple gesture or takes that extra, unexpected, step to make another person’s day then everyday interactions are transformed into multiple positive memories.
4 – Play! It’s far easier to achieve a serious goal if you are having fun while you are working to reach that goal. This doesn’t mean it’s compulsory to be best friends with everyone at your workplace, it means consciously adopting an openminded, inclusive and collegiate mindset to create an atmosphere which increases enthusiasm, reduces stress and drives for better solutions. Celebrate successes, see mistakes as a collective opportunity to learn, and seek an even better solution by saying “let’s play with that idea”.