This month, I found
two delightful little books entitled Fish! and Fish! Sticks,
by Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D., John Christensen, and Harry Paul. Told in a
light and entertaining way, through the eyes of fictional characters,
these books offer suggestions on creating change in an organization.
These books are a quick read, but provide valuable lessons and
strategies to usher in effective change and reenergize any organization.
Their first book,
Fish!, discusses four key concepts in establishing change – Choose
Your Attitude, Play, Make Their Day, and Be Present. Told through the
story of a new manager in a financial services organization who
inherited a “toxic energy dump” with her new promotion, the authors
describe how an organization can be rejuvenated through some relatively
Choose your attitude – while
we may not necessarily be able to choose our work each day, we can
choose the attitude with which we approach our work. Each person in the
organization can choose to excel and bring their best efforts, or do
just enough to get by.
Play – it’s okay to be
serious about your work and accomplishing the goals, but you can still
have fun doing the work. A little play in the day relieves stress, and
helps create an environment that allows for creativity, innovation and
Make Their Day – Look for as
many ways as possible to create great moments in a person’s day. Imagine
what a workplace would look like if our goals was to “make the day” of
our customers and each other.
Be Present – Be fully
engaged in your current activity – whether on the phone, speaking with
someone or working on a particular task. Be fully present and attentive
to your actions and any other person. This level of attention
communicates volumes about the importance of others, or what you’re doing.
tells the story of a hospital administrator who has made some changes in
the organizational culture, but is concerned that the initial euphoria
will fade after time. Her challenge is to inspire her employees to keep
the energy and motivation – make change “stick”. In this tale, our
hospital administrator learns her lessons from a local sushi
establishment known for their high energy, and exceptional food and
customer service. In this book, we learn:
Find IT- while our
individual organization has a unique vision, we need to find our “part”
in IT. What does the organizations overall vision mean to our workgroup,
and what does it mean to me personally? Each member of the group will
contribute to the realization of the vision, but in different ways based
on how the vision resonates within.
Live IT – Living IT means
looking for and taking advantage of the opportunities we each have every
day to reinforce or creatively extend our vision. They are the
day-to-day manifestations of the vision that other people see and
experience. The authors call these “vision moments”.
Coach IT – providing and
receiving open, honest feedback about the organizations vision and our
part in it, is vital to strengthening and sustaining an organization. We
all need periodic reminders of our commitments and the vision of what
we’re trying to create together.
I strongly recommend
these books to people trying to make and/or sustain change in an
organization. As the authors point out, it is not enough to rely on the
initial external energy a significant shift creates in a group. We must
change that energy into an internal, self-sustaining energy that will
I Hear You Talking, But Is
Leave a Trail for Others to Follow