I remember back when I worked for Universal Music we had our annual company meeting in LA to discuss new artist releases, business goals and the next years agenda. On the last day, we had our closing meeting with a presentation from our CEO with the goal to get everyone hyped up for the new quarter. Usually these presentations are brushed off and forgotten by dinnertime. This presentation was given in 2003 and in 2011 I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was one of the most impactful presentations I’ve ever heard, and not because of our speaker, but because of the content.
The presentation was called “Fish Philosophy” and it was about a company in Seattle that ran a fish market where their employees loved their job and couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. Now I know the first thing that came to my mind was “oh gross, a fish market. I would hate to work there all day, handling dead fish and go home smelling like salmon everyday, yuck”. I was obviously missing the point and bigger picture. The video presentation talked about the culture of the people at the fish market. Their philosophy being to “catch the energy, release the potential” (get the fish analogy??) and using their 4 practices including Be There (for your employees and co-workers), Play (make it fun), Make Their Day (rewarding), and Choose Your Attitude. It’s all about making the workplace fun, energetic and a creative space to make an impact. Investing in workers and looking out for them in order to bring out their best, ultimately resulting in a successful business.
Now there has been a lot of criticism surrounding the Fish Philosophy and you might be thinking this is just bogus. The reality is that people obviously can’t be like this everyday. There are good days and there are bad days. No one can be happy-go-lucky everyday. But more happy days than sad/angry/frustrated days is the overall goal. It’s weighing in the pros and cons and hoping the pros outweigh the cons. The Fish Philosophy has become a huge success, with DVDs for sale, speaking obligations and the such. It’s been marketed like no other, but the idea remains strong.
I think about this presentation a lot, especially at this point in my life where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do with my life and where I can make an impact on the world and the people around me. You spent around 70-80% of your life at work. If it’s not fun, rewarding or challenging, its time to make a change.I’ve attached the Fish Philosophy video. I hope it makes as much of an impact on you as it did for me, 8 years later I still think about it.