Fish! Sticks: A Remarkable Way to Adapt to Changing Times and Keep Your Work Fresh

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The 'o-FISH!-al' follow-up to the phenomenal bestselling Fish! and Fish! Tales, Fish! Sticks is a stand-alone business parable that shows you how to come up with a vision for your business and how to keep it alive, vital, and renewed through tough times, such as turnover in management and staff or a troubled economy. Using the example of a hugely successful, fictional sushi restaurant as a model for a vision of continual renewal, Fish! Sticks employs the same kind of easy-to-read story that was used in Fish! to ...

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The 'o-FISH!-al' follow-up to the phenomenal bestselling Fish! and Fish! Tales, Fish! Sticks is a stand-alone business parable that shows you how to come up with a vision for your business and how to keep it alive, vital, and renewed through tough times, such as turnover in management and staff or a troubled economy. Using the example of a hugely successful, fictional sushi restaurant as a model for a vision of continual renewal, Fish! Sticks employs the same kind of easy-to-read story that was used in Fish! to illustrate its three major principals of continued success: Commit, Be It, and Coach It.

When Stephanie, a new manager, takes over from a wildly popular and now promoted boss, she is faced with the problem of how to keep spirits up in a corporate unit that has, frankly, started to get bored and cranky and revert to its old ways. But then she visits the amazing Taka Sushi (formerly Taka Teriyaki), with its lines of customers cheerfully waiting for hours to get in. Soon, she realizes that the way to keep her employees motivated and her customers delighted can be learned from a bunch of waiters who teach one another everything they need to know. And when she finds out just how the owner of Taka knew to switch her main bill of fare from teriyaki to sushi long before anyone else, what she really discovers is the secret of keeping your work fresh.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This audio version of the third book in the Fish series uses as its example the work at one ward of a large suburban hospital. Rhonda, the supervisor, had been promoted, and her mentor, whom she succeeded, had been an ardent follower of the Fish program. Rhonda believed her staff was paying attention to the patients and were providing a level of service far beyond that at other facilities. However, after some time, she began to notice staffers were sloughing off and seemed not to be providing the absolute best care to the patients. The problem? Keeping the Fish principles fresh and new was difficult. After a visit to a successful sushi restaurant, Rhonda regained her enthusiasm for the program and, with the help of the sushi chef, was able to inspire her staff. In fact, her work was so effective, her staff was able to take over for Rhonda after she suffered a family tragedy. There's something charming about the Fish program, which counsels, "Find it, live it and coach it" ("it" is each employee's vision). The notion that individual workers can have a vision for their workplace and their place within a large organization is indeed empowering. And Rhonda's story offers insights into both personal and professional worlds. However, the simple message is rendered even more unsophisticated by the artificial voices on this audio. There's a kind of squeaky, schoolmarm voice for the older nurse who comes onto the ward, and the intonations used for the various nurses are similar and somewhat grating. Still, in spite of these flaws, the story and the business lessons within it are worth hearing. Simultaneous release with the Hyperion hardcover. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
A Short Parable with Big Applications
In Fish! Sticks, the authors who originated the original FISH! philosophy to help people add energy and passion to their work have produced another short business parable to help leaders sustain a change effort after the original momentum has subsided. In a tale about a health-care leader who is working to keep a successful change initiative alive in her hospital, the authors deliver poignant advice about holding on to a culture of innovation before efforts backslide. As other characters add depth and color to the points Fish! Sticks delivers, a set of principles emerges about the next steps that must be taken after an initial change.

'Find IT, Live IT and Coach IT'
Fish! Sticks packs much wisdom about sustaining vision, finding personal passion, and facing challenges into a short book. Its clarity and timeless lessons are put into the contexts of a busy hospital, as well as a successful sushi restaurant, as the main character strives to make change stick. Characters who cross her path help her find the passion and vision to perpetuate the good work of the powerful leader who came before her. She also learns to understand the importance of finding a personal piece of the vision, called "IT." The lessons she learns are defined and shared through simple, useful features in the book, such as a list of vision principles that demonstrate how leaders can "Find IT, Live IT and Coach IT."

Why Soundview Likes This Book
This book is a valuable source of motivation for those committed to success and looking for the inspiration to take them to the next level of leadership. It stands out as a wonderful example of how a short fictional tale can teach the lessons of life in a simple, to-the-point story. Fish! Sticks updates the parable genre with a modern setting and some very complex scenarios. Copyright (c) 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786868162
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 1/2/2003
  • Pages: 142
  • Sales rank: 206,250
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.87 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D., is a filmmaker, graduate business school professor, and professional speaker. He runs a corporate membership seminar series as part of the Institute for Management Studies and leads the Institute for Creativity and Innovation at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He lives in Minnesota.

Harry Paul is currently a full time motivational speaker. He lives in San Diego.

John Christensen, an award-winning filmmaker, lives is Minneapolis. He is now CEO of ChartHouse Learning Corporation, the leading producer of corporate learning films, including Fish!, the video, which has been adopted by thousands of corporations nationwide. He lives in Minnesota.

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Some say change is difficult.  I say change is a piece of cake (or perhaps cheese).  If you want a real challenge, try to sustain a change - especially a change that requires commitment from all who do the work.

It doesn't matter if you are an individual contributor who wants to hang on to a better work life or a CEO who wants to maintain a new high level of productivity: Sustaining change is the true test of leadership.  Holding on to a culture of innovation, maintaining a higher quality of work life, constantly renewing an important customer service program, or retaining a more participative management style requires the use of a unique set of principles that are different from those used simply to initiate a change.

A large-scale change usually comes with a lot of fanfare, so in the beginning there is considerable energy.  It's a typical to have meetings, training programs, off-sites, balloons, buttons, contests, pocket cards, newsletter articles, posters, and videos.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these.  External energy is often what it takes to catch our attention in a busy world.  But external energy cannot sustain a change.  That takes a different source of energy: natural energy.

When the balloons have deflated, the contests have ended, the training is complete, and the natural human tendency to look for the next new thing has started to exert itself, that is when the inevitable gravity pull of old ways sets in.  When you are part of such an effort it feels like someone just took her foot off of the accelerator.

This gravity pull takes many forms, including distraction, busyiness, resistance, boredom, forgetfulness, cynicism, and sabotage, to name a few.  It doesn't really matter what is at stake - a new diet or a new way to be at work - all worthwhile changes are susceptible to the forces of gravity.  Successful efforts to counteract these forces in order to sustain change is what separates the great workplaces and great people from the pack.

After teaching change management to MBA and corporate seminar students for twenty years and operating my own business in an environment where change was a constant, I coauthored the book FISH! And worked on a film of the same name.  Ever since, I have had the privilege of observing organizations using the ideas in FISH! (as well as principles from other management books ) to address a variety of important issues and to create positive change.  The most pressing workplace needs addressed by those who turn to the FISH! Philosophy include improving the quality of work life, customer service, employee retention, the facility for innovation, productivity, and recruitment.  Another reason people turn to it is simply to learn how to have more fun at work.
Over the last three years I have traveled almost a million miles speaking to and visiting with those who, in one way or another, are working to implement important organizational changes.  I have been especially inspired by change efforts that were sustained after the excitement of the initial rollout had waned.  There is a bounty of energy present when something is new - but a year later it takes a deeper source of energy to keep it going.  I have seen many successful organizations that have found that source.  Any wisdom demonstrated by the characters in this book has been extracted from real people sustaining change in real organizations.  The World Famous Pike Place Fish market, the inspiration for FISH!, is of course one of the many ongoing success stories from which we have learned valuable lessons.

This book is the work of my imagination, but it is based on many experiences the three of us have had over the last few years.  John Christensen continues to make FISH! The main focus of his company, CharHouse International, a place where stories are routinely collected in the course of business and where the language of possibilities rule.  Harry Paul has found a life on the road speaking and consulting about FISH!  It is a rare day that Harry doesn't have something to share.

Yes, we now stand on the shoulders of thousands who have brought new possibilities into their workplaces and their lives.  Some have failed, some have succeeded, and for many it is too early to tell.  But we have learned from them all.  FISH! STICKS is designed to highlight the special set of commitments involved in keeping any worthwhile change alive.  It is truly your story: I just happened to write it.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2004

    A Good Read!

    You¿re back in the fishing boat with the crew that brought you the successful Fish! and Fish! Tales. Offering another finny fable, Stephen C. Lundin, John Christensen and Harry Paul present a business parable based on creating and sustaining successful change. The book uses the same fictitious approach as the other two Fish!ing trips, but this time the story is set at a hospital¿s nursing station. The agent-of-change head nurse has departed and the new head nurse feels that the group is losing its vision. Then, she discovers that a local sushi restaurant is a model of excellence, and all goes swimmingly after that. Although the advice offered isn¿t particularly unique, some may find a certain charm in the story. Given that this is round three, the format may seem a little repetitive to those who have already Fish!ed. If you want to catch the core of the message on your first cast, look for the highlights on the occasional pages in whale-size type. We recommend the basic common sense of these messages, even if the storytelling is a little fishy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2003

    Coffee with Sugar, Please!

    Some good book. I think everyone needs to compare notes from time to time. And parable telling works with just a little thought-taking. So why not? It is easy and helpful. For those that really want to add to their reservior of succcess read Go Virtual. Go Virtual makes the fish books even better. The big fish swim a little deeper. In the depth is a spoonfull of sugar!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2003

    How to OPTIMIZE your fishing experience

    Anchoring change in an organization is an important issue and is described nicely in this fictional book. I found the sushi setting intriguing as a context for change. I read all the best-selling business books and summaries. The best book for OPTIMIZING change, personal leadership, thinking and morale within an organization is OPTIMAL THINKING.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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