Design a Happy Workplace: Key Concepts from Fish!

Pike Place Market, a fish market in Seattle, is known for its fun style of business. They toss fish around as if they were footballs. Employees love working there because they are engaged and able to have fun.  They make sure that their employees are excited about creating a great experience.

John Christensen noticed the magic at Pike Place Market and created a documentary called “Fish!” which then spawned the book Fish! Philosophy. Evaluate your workplace on the four main concepts, with quotes from Fish! Philosophy, and find ways to improve morale and engagement with your team.

1. Be There. An employee who is engaged in his/her work isn’t concerned about anything but the job at hand. They are there to do good work. It’s hard to put ourselves in the moment, but the more we can get lost in the work the more fun it is.

“It means getting out of your own ‘world’ so you can BE THERE for someone else. It means setting aside emotional baggage from the past and worries about the future in order to appreciate the opportunities you have available to you, right now.”

2. Choose Your Attitude. What we choose to focus on will determine how we feel. If all we do is complain about making more money or wanting a better boss, we are creating a negative mindset. If we choose to focus on our wonderful co-workers and how we enjoy the work that we do, we are choosing to see the positive in our situation.

“Most of us believe our attitudes are caused directly by outside influences like unpleasant experiences or negative people. But while external pressures may trigger our feelings, we are the ones wearing those feelings like a suit of clothes. We can either be subservient to external events, few of which we have any control over, or we can take charge of our own response.”

3. Make Their Day. Gratitude is important, especially giving gratitude to others. Gratitude makes the giver feel good as well as the person who receives the compliment. When we stop worrying about how we are going to be happy at work and focus on helping others be happy, the byproduct is that our happiness increases.

“At a deeper level, “make their day” means taking a genuine interest in the unique gifts of others. Spontaneous or planned, when you make the effort to brighten someone’s day—not because you want a reward, but because that’s the person you want to be—you receive an internal gift that makes life even more meaningful as well. No matter what, making someone’s day is a win-win. Every single time.”

4. Play. Having fun at work is a must. If all a company does is make products and push them down people’s throats then work is a drag.

“An ‘all-business’ approach has a human cost: It’s not inspiring. We shut down emotionally and many who might make creative contributions keep that part of themselves at home.”

When we work in the now (Be There), stop complaining and start noticing the good in our lives (Choose Attitude), recognize the importance of giving gratitude (Make their Day), and have fun at work (Play), then we are creating a work life that makes us happy.

Share this with your team as business ramps back up and many organizations are facing new stressors and capacity constraints.  We all know happy employees get the best results.

From Dig to Fly;