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Go Fish! A Philosophy for Being an Outstanding Team Member.

January 29, 2020

Tuesday morning. 5AM. Alarm clock goes off. Some clouds in the sky. Driving my son to the swimming pool so he can start his training at 5:45 sharp. Continuing the drive towards a client to facilitate a training. 6:45 Traffic jam. Drizzle. 7:45 arrived. 9:00 Training to be started. Not all participants arrived. Waiting for another 5 minutes. Kick-off.


Now, it was a great day. Really it was! When my alarm clock went off, I felt like “Yes! Training day. New people I’ll meet. Sharing experiences. Learning from each other. Woehoe”. In the traffic jam I spotted some flowering weeds on the road side. No clue which ones, yet they had beautiful reddish flowers. The drizzle on the window of my car formed drops, and then bigger drops, until they chased each other to the side of the window to disappear… Amazing what raindrops can do after they were dropped on a driving car… The trainees were great. Unlucky for some they were in a more boring traffic jam than I was… Anyhow, I enjoyed the day.
This little story shows one of the four pillars of the Fish! Philosophy. The reality is what you make of it. Choose your attitude. Choose how you see your world. Choose how you will act in it. Once you start practicing you will feel its power.

It surely won’t be easy every single morning. Luckily, you do have great colleagues that will do whatever they can to make your day. Which is also what you try to do for them, for your clients, for in fact anyone you meet. Driving in my car in the morning there is a radio team that always succeeds in making me smile. Probably because they are about the same age as myself. They watched the same television shows when we were kids, tell the same type of old jokes, have a certain view on the world that I can appreciate. However hard the morning can be on me, each time after about 15 minutes I have a smile on my face. Pillar number two brings us to the point of making them smile. How can you make people smile? Make them happy? Make their day. Remember, life is full of small wonderful things and actions.

One of these little things seems to be listening. Active listening in this hectic world, in which we are “connected” to everybody we want through social media, is very often a small thing to do that people appreciate so much. Do you really listen to what people say, to what they try to say through verbal and non-verbal communication? Do you truly see them? Are you with them if you have a chat with someone? Or is your mind somewhere else and you pretend to listen. Are your eyes on what happens behind the person or somewhere left or right of the person. Are your fingers playing on the mobile phone while you are trying to check your mail secretly hoping the person doesn’t notice. Be there with that person or team is the third pillar of the Fish! philosophy.

The last pillar goes back to our childhood: play. Weird that once kids enter the first grade at school, they have to sit silent, and listen to the teacher. Until the age of six they played all the time - every single minute and see how much they learned. They learned to crawl, to walk, to eat, to listen, to speak, to draw, to paint, to read their first few words, to understand their little friends, to … so much - all through playing. Honestly, seeing a baby trying to eat alone, is nothing more than the baby playing with food and apparently if it is tasty enough it goes through its mouth… Why would we stop playing as “adults”? Playing is fun. It opens up our mind. It makes us (again) alive and keep playing.
When a training day starts, it is a habit that people introduce themselves. “I am Steven. I am a professional trainer. My career started in 1993.” How boring… The last training I brought a bunch of Lego Mini-figures. These little Lego fellows you can find in all bright colors with smiling faces holding some props. And each attendee could pick one. Then they told their story, relating their personal introduction to that little yellow-headed Lego figure - a little twist that changed their mindset, a little more playful. Throughout the training I also recall we threw with cuddly bears of Sesame Street… Hmmm...

This sums up the four pillars of the Fish! Philosophy. What is at its core, to me, is that all-in-all, each individual is creating their own reality. Yes, also you. It is your choice to have fun, to be there in the moment with that other person, with your team, to make their day.
Tomorrow morning, when your alarm clock goes off, choose your attitude. Choose what your day will look like. Choose how you make others smile.

Oh right, Fish… Why Fish? Well, it all started on a beautiful day in a fish shop that was trying to survive. The mindset of the team ensured the shop not only survived, but is now the best selling store in Seattle and the surrounding universe. And if this is possible in a fish shop, why would it not be possible in any other business, e.g. in your Scrum Team.

Interested in a Fish! Workshop for yourself and your team?: contact us and we’ll be in touch very soon. Looking forward to it!

Wishing you a fishy day!

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