Archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2001

This concerns the ‘essentials’

March 21, 2001

I am amazed at what catches the attention of Corporate America. It seems that every couple of years someone wants to come up with a new management style that is going to revolutionize the working environment. Management by Objective, Total Quality Management, The Marine Corps Management System and a host of others have come and gone each making a momentary impact, then fading into the sunset.

The systems run the gamut from simple to complex each with its own set of workbooks, training seminars and assorted paraphernalia. Each of them have tried to make the workplace whatever and wherever it is a better place to work each with the idea of increasing productivity and morale. Obviously, they have only been partly successful.

Introducing the newest, chic-est, most wonderful innovation to hit the management training circuit The Fish Management System. (Drum rolls, trumpets, Loud Applause.) I think maybe this might be the very one that will actually work if people "get it" and just don't use it for another entry in the corporate training records.

The Owner of the Pike Point Fish Market in Seattle, Washington developed the Fish Management System as a means "to make the place famous." About 10 years ago he walked into his office for his morning meeting with his six staff members and asked them what they thought needed to happen to make the place famous. He wasn't concerned with increasing profits or better morale; he just wanted people to know about his fish market. After discussion, trail, error and small successes, the group of workers came up with the four essential steps they believed were necessary to make the market famous and to provide the type of service that would make them proud to be a part of the business. Let me share them with you.

Number one: Play. The nature of work is in itself boring and difficult at times. It is essential to introduce the element of play into the work place to make both workers and clients feel good about the business. Workers that are having a good time at work are more productive.

Number two: Make Their Day. The customers, that is. Involve the customers in the fun. Let them know that you feel good about them being there and they will come back for even a little bit of fun. It also helps the worker connect with the people that are their reason for existence.

Number three: Be There. When dealing with a customer, make eye contact, listen to them when they talk and make sure that you are not trying to do more than take care of what they are there for. Make sure that you are "there" and not off somewhere else when you deal with them.

Number four: Choose Your Attitude. Each day workers have the ability to choose their attitude before they arrive for work. Choosing a good attitude is a personal decision that will allow the other three essentials to work the way they are supposed to work.

The question is does it work?

Pike Point Fish Market now has 26 employees and people come from all over the world to at least watch them sell fresh seafood to the public, and of course, to get in on the fun. They are getting three or four requests a week to hold seminars with large corporations all over the world. They have books, tapes and all the stuff that goes with it to prove that they seem to know what they are doing.

What is amazing to me is that we haven't figured all that out before. It looks like the very essence of life to me. Maybe we should all try to use these four essentials in everything we do. It might make a world of difference.

Monte the Dancing Bear dancing a spring time jig Baldwin City Recreation Commission, 820 High Street; Phone, 594-3670; e-mail,

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