The book Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results is a fictional story about a woman thrust into single parenthood and a leadership position she’s not too sure she is ready for. The story follows Mary Jane through the tedious task of turning the third floor ‘Toxic Waste Dump’ into a high energy environment where the workers actually enjoy being there and working with each other.
At first, Mary Jane resorted to taking her lunch breaks outside of the office so she could avoid the snide remarks of other employees and internal customers of ‘First Guarantee Financial.’ One day while on her lunch, she decides to go for a walk through a local fish market, which just so happens to be the world famous ‘Pike Place Fish Market’, renowned for its high energy and exciting atmosphere.
While wandering the market Mary Jane meets a worker by the name of Lonnie who, after hearing her story, is set on helping Mary Jane turn the ‘Waste Dump’ into a big energy reserve. He does so by showing Mary Jane that there are four major changes that need to take place in the workplace in order to create the same fun atmosphere as the ‘Pike Place Fish Market.’
The first of these changes is the choice of attitude. If Mary Jane could convince her workers that they have a choice in attitude, she could surely begin the process of cleaning the ‘Toxic Energy Dump.’
The second idea presented is ‘Play.’ Mary Jane learned that the employees on the Third Floor should be able to have fun and relax but still conduct business in the proper manor. The third idea is called ‘Make Their Day.’ This idea focuses on making the customer, whether internal or external, remember their experience with the employees. The final change presented is ‘Be Present.’ Focusing on paying attention to customers and each other are the main focuses of this change. ‘Being Present’ provides the customers with the full attention of the employee to ensure the best service possible.
Mary Jane learns these four changes from Lonnie and is able to convince her Third Floor ‘Zombies’ to take the risk of trying to clean up the ‘Toxic Waste Dump.’ In the end, rather than avoiding the Third Floor, a year later they are finding that every one wants to work there because of the high energy and fun atmosphere.
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... know some of the other associates better. In doing so, hopefully it will relax the tension between associates and allow for a more open environment which would lead to a more fun workplace.
There are a lot of times while I’m helping a customer, the phone will ring and, before reading this book, I would drop what I was doing with the customer to answer the phone. Now, however, I’m going to try and devote myself to ‘Being Present’ with my customers to ensure they get the best service possible during their visit. This would make me want to come back and shop again, I imagine it would do the same for the customers we serve.
I know that just by laughing and joking with the customers, giving them a break from the normal, ‘Hey how are you? Did you find everything alright? Thank you! Have a good night,’ would surely make someone’s day. I am aware, however, that some customers don’t want to have a good time; they just want to get what they need and get out. It is actually quite understandable, but I’m still going to give them the best service possible with a big smile on my face to let them know they are welcome and valued by not only the company but by myself as well.
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