Educators everywhere are using the FISH! Philosophy to better connect students with their classrooms and their communities, so it’s no small wonder that these skilled and empathetic professionals have a lot to teach us about applying the FISH! mindset day in and day out. The best part is that these lessons are universally applicable – you don’t need to be an educator or even work with children to apply them every day and make your workplace a more functional, more pleasant place to spend such a significant portion of your life. So just what can teachers teach us about the FISH! Philosophy?
The world is a chaotic place, and far too often our attention is split into a million directions at once. For many of us, simply maintaining focus is a task all unto itself, and is a skill we want to consciously practice and develop in order to perform to the best of our abilities in the workplace. So how can the FISH! Philosophy help us build and maintain focus in the workplace? It may not seem like the 4 Pillars of FISH! directly relate to this very internal skill, but the truth is each and every one has a place in helping us focus at work.
If you’re reading this, you probably already understand that the FISH! Philosophy is a powerful tool for building an organizational culture that inspires workers at all levels to come together, stick around, and produce the best output they can. However, building a positive and productive organizational culture doesn’t start with existing employees; it starts from the moment someone applies to be a part of your organization. Many places place an emphasis on “culture fit” when hiring, but that can be more regressive than intended – all too often, hiring for “culture fit” results in organizations that are cliquish or reinforce existing internal inequities. That’s where we come back around to FISH!. The FISH! Philosophy isn’t just for your team that’s already in place; it can be integrated into your hiring process to help share the values your organization promotes while giving applicants a sense of what it would be like to work with you. Here are ways you can bring the core pillars of FISH! into your hiring process.
Turnover is always a challenge with any organization – people leave workplaces all the time, and it’s almost always harder and more expensive to replace someone than to keep them around. So how can you use the FISH! Philosophy to reduce your turnover going into 2024? Well, we can start by setting goals. If you think about it, setting goals is really just a long-term way of practicing Choose Your Attitude: you’re making a decision about how you as an organization want to present yourself and what you want to achieve, and working towards that goal even in moments when your emotions may tell you otherwise. So what sorts of goals can you set for your team to help keep them happy, healthy, and hanging around in 2024?
We talk a lot about Choose Your Attitude, which is the FISH! Philosophy core pillar that teaches us the importance of acknowledging our feelings while controlling how we react to the world around us. Choose Your Attitude empowers us to influence how we put ourselves out into the world and, in turn, how others perceive us, especially when it comes to workplace interactions – it helps us maintain professionalism without compromising our sense of personal integrity. But does Choosing Your Attitude look different when you’re a 60-year old C-suite exec vs. a fresh-faced college grad? How does Choose Your Attitude work when you’re at different stages of your career and your professional development? While the following is far from comprehensive, here are just a few different things to consider when practicing Choose Your Attitude throughout your career.
As we roll into December and approach the Winter Solstice, it’s time to acknowledge that we’re in the darkest days of the year… literally. Sunlight is a scarce resource, colder weather is descending on many parts of the world, and even our emotional worlds can start running a bit darker thanks to things like seasonal depression and tumultuous family relationships. And while it isn’t your job as the boss to manage every person’s relationship with the darkest days of Winter, it is in your best interest to make sure you show up and Be There however you can for your team – it’ll help them feel better coming into work, build stronger relationships between you and your employees, and maintain your work output and standards during a time of year that can often cause its fair share of strain and difficulty.
Ask just about anyone what their perception of a “corporate” environment is, and you’ll probably receive the same set of answers: Gray walls, acres of cubicles, droning printers – the whole Office Space stereotype. What they usually don’t say is “fun.” Fun isn’t a dirty word – it’s a natural human need that’s as important as feeling loved, according to some psychologists. So why is it such a pain to try to inject into a corporate workplace? It seems like office management never loves having to create “fun” activities, and nobody working gets all that excited at the idea of another office birthday sheet cake. Fortunately, the FISH! Philosophy values fun greatly, and can help us bring a real, genuine sense of fun and a playful spirit into even the most mundane office. Here’s just a few tips on bringing fun into your corporate workplace.
The holidays are a time of love, laughter, and good cheer – but in the corporate world, those sorts of celebrations can be totally hit-or-miss. Some people love getting presents in the office and hit up every holiday party from start to finish, while others really don’t see the point. If you’re going to celebrate the holidays in the office, however, put in a little time and effort to get it right. So here are a few suggestions for office holiday gift and celebration ideas that’ll really help Make Their Day, rather than spending your budget just to hand out a perfunctory gift that’ll end up in the trash heap.
It’s not controversial to say that play is crucial to the development of children – it’s science! When children play, they learn so many important life skills that not only help the brain grow properly, but play a massive role in a person’s success as a grown-up adult. As children develop, they use play to practice creating and understanding rules, respecting the boundaries and emotional needs of others, cause and effect, teamwork, and so much more – and as they play, they reinforce neural pathways and connections that build these skills and traits in the long term. And yet, whenever we teach the FISH! Philosophy, people tell us that the pillar of Play is one of the hardest parts for them to grasp. As adults, we’re no strangers to having fun, but the concept of Play – that unstructured space for exploration, creative thinking, and experimentation with our peers – often gets left behind with age. But it doesn’t need to. All we need to do to relearn our sense of Play is to pay attention to how children Play and why – and integrate that into our own personal and professional lives.
Conversations seem so simple – after all, they’re something we all do every day, and all they are is just talking to people right? So why is it that some conversations can feel so tough to navigate? Particularly in the corporate world, where professional norms and divergent power dynamics combine with tight deadlines and big emotions, not every conversation is easy, and it’s tempting to try to just ignore them entirely. But having tough conversations in the workplace is a necessity if we want to get things done efficiently and effectively and build a random assortment of employees into a real team and community.