Top critical review
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Great, inspiring read but poor teaching methodologies.
on April 6, 2002
FISH is written in a parable (short story using fictional characters) format, reminiscent of the style apparent in the classic, bestseller The One Minute Manager. The goal of the FISH Philosophy is to learn how to boost morale and improve operational results in a business organization. As the authors put it "Enclosed are the keys to creating an innovative and accountable work environment where a playful, attentive, and engaging attitude leads to more energy, enthusiasm, productivity, and creativity."
The four key points of the philosophy are:
• Play - have fun and create energy at home or at the office.
• Make their day - how can you engage fellow employees, customers and make each other's day?
• Be Present - How can you make sure you are fully available and aware during conversations with people? It is about create a greater sense of intimacy between individuals.
• Choose Your Attitude - Each day you choose how you are going to act or which "side of the bed" you wake up on. The choice is yours and, the way you act, affects others.
In my opinion, this business parable, like the rest of them, is great and horrible at the same time.
It is a great read for the following reasons:
1. It is a quick read. I read it in about 2 - 2.5 hours and I am a fairly slow reader.
2. The book is able to illustrate one point extremely effectively. For example, in this book they show how workers attitudes can impact a setting and how many of us don't understand how our attitude impacts our work setting and quality of life.
3. These are the kinds of books that employees will read as they are 100-150 pages in length and easy to read so a massive investment of time and energy isn't required by employees.
It is a poor book for the following reasons:
1. The authors never give you ways to implement the ideas. Once I was done reading the book I was thinking, "WOW, this is great stuff. Now how do I implement it in my company and, more importantly, what will it take for this to be successful." Which leads me to the next point...
2. While they illustrate certain key elements in the book they neglect to mention that:
a. Employees must trust management.
b. Top managers must be fully committed and "practice what
c. Both of the above points are conveyed in the story but
the authors don't tell you about the importance of what
academics term "social capital" in an organization.
My concluding thoughts: This is a brief, simple, but elegant book that is an eye opener for those of us who grew up with notions like: "Work is serious, let's have no fooling around!" or "Profit is 'the only' way to measure business success." I commend the authors on conveying this to readers. HOWEVER, the cons outweigh the pros in this book. Like I pointed out, I really enjoyed reading the book and thought it was pretty effective in showing how an organization can completely turn around but, at the end of the day, no tools were presented to help the reader understand how to implement the FISH philosophy. If top managers don't cooperate or "practice what they preach" or understand why and how this philosophy works it goes nowhere, just like most management programs designed to attain all of the above mentioned goals of productivity, energy, etc.
If you want a great book on business principles I highly encourage everyone to read "The Essential Drucker" by Peter Drucker. Jack Welch is a big Drucker fan and this book is a compilation of his best work of over 60 years and 30 books on management principles.