IMG_5497A business sales department is plagued by a terrible reputation, boasting the kind of work environment that would be described as a “toxic energy dump.” To try to combat this, a new manager is brought in and given a timeline to turn them around, but unfortunately, without much support from her supervisor.

However, a happenstance meeting over a lunch hour, during a walk through the Pikes Place Fish Market in Seattle, completely changes the direction of the new manager’s life and the way her entire department is run.

This fictional tale is the basis for the book Fish! by Stephen C. Lundin, which INB’s branch manager team recently chose to read together. We were looking for a book on leadership that could be applied to our roles in the bank and that would challenge our team in both our mindset and daily actions. Each manager was asked to share what they thought about the book and how they could incorporate some of new ideas outlined in the book within their departments.

Fish! hones in on the characteristics that drive the success of the Seattle Fish Market – the type of place that you cannot work if you don’t like to have fun on the job. The main character, the new manager, begins a new transformation upon her walk through the market, which coaxes out a self-awareness she didn’t know existed.

As the book develops, this fictional manager meets and develops a professional relationship with the manager of the Fish Market, and he begins to share with her some of the practical, basic lessons of creating a culture where work becomes a team collaboration in which everyone gives their best efforts but also enjoys their working hours.

By applying and implementing the lessons she learns about the Seattle Fish Market, the new manager is able to turn an unenthusiastic and lazy department into an effective team and fun place to work.

Some of these lessons she learned and applied that also impacted our team at INB include:

  • You have to play! No matter where you work or what your job title is, have fun and create energy whether you’re at home or at the office.
  • Make each other’s day. Everyone on the team is essential to the success of the department or company, and even a simple compliment can change the course of someone’s day. Building each other up with positive affirmation is a basic but extremely effective tool in a group environment.
  • Be present in your professional relationships, with your coworkers and with your customers. When we focus on listening, making eye contact, and being available, it creates a relationship of respect and appreciation between individuals.
  • Choose your attitude! Each day you choose which “side of the bed” you wake up on. The choice of how you act and how you treat those around you is yours; the way you act affects others you come in contact with and reflects not only upon you but the entire company.

Fish! was a very quick and easy read but is packed with rudimentary reminders about how easy it is to lose sight of what is important during the hectic pull of the work day… Yet the simple choice of attitude can have a tremendous impact on your personal and professional relationships.