FISH! For Schools Builds a Better Culture, School-Wide

Published On: October 25, 2023Categories: Blog

The FISH! Philosophy has been introduced to nearly every industry and work setting out there, but the education sphere is one of the areas that has seen the most immediate resonation and results. Educators and administrators far and wide have seen first-hand how much the FISH! Philosophy can fundamentally improve their schools by building a positive culture where everyone – from teachers to students to admin employees – works together for the success of the community.

So what is FISH!, and what makes it so beneficial in building a positive school culture?

FISH! Philosophy practices help everyone

Years ago, a chance encounter at Seattle’s Pike Place Market inspired filmmaker John Christensen to work on a new release: he saw the enthusiasm of the fishmongers and how they not only made their own work look like a pleasure, but enchanted the crowds around them – leading to abundant sales and word-of-mouth marketing.

The end result was a film simply titled FISH! – and it covered the four main practices that Christensen saw as making these fishmongers so successful and happy:

Choose Your Attitude: Life can throw you many challenges and bring up heavy emotions, but we have the ability to choose how we respond to those emotions and to the world around us.

Be There: Professionalism doesn’t need to be cold and distant – we all do best when we bring our full selves into every interaction and engage with people mindfully and completely, always.

Make Their Day: Everyone works best when they feel valued, and it’s up to us to find the many small ways to show our appreciation every day.

Play: Enthusiasm and creativity are to be cherished cultivated – the best organizations and leaders will create space to foster free-thinking, new ideas, and a culture of saying “yes.”

FISH! helps every person bring their best self into the building 

The beauty in FISH! Is that it applies to everyone: every industry and every organization, every age group, and every level of the org chart. And few fields cover as broad a spectrum of demographics as education, so naturally FISH! found a footing in helping schools become their very best.

When people practice FISH! in their daily lives, it means they’re bringing the most positive, most loving, and most thoughtful selves into the school building, each and every day. And when a school has every person at every level practicing these same skills, the results are tremendous:

For administrators, FISH! practices help create a school or district that stays forward-thinking, shows teachers that they’re valued and appreciated, and takes input from those with boots on the ground.

For teachers, FISH! helps them engage their students, craft unique and memorable lesson plans, and manage their classrooms with less stress, less tension, and more mutual collaboration.

For students, FISH! means taking control of their own education: learning in a way that works for them, creating a classroom culture that takes their needs into account, and managing conflict in a way where peers hold each other accountable rather than defaulting to authoritative punishments.

FISH! creates cultures built by everyone involved 

The FISH! Philosophy can often be interpreted as mostly individual practice – we try to be our best selves and hope to better our environment because of it. And while it’s true that the FISH! practices are skills that need to be worked on individually, when everyone is working on these same skills together, the beauty is that your culture grows to something greater than the sum of its parts.

A huge part of this is that when we all work together, accountability for the culture spreads from just those at the top down to everyone else. Rather than a school culture being dictated by the Principal or the district, students, teachers, and staff all work together to create the environment that works best for them – by practicing these skills that encourage everyone to be their best.

When we have an active hand in creating a culture we want to be a part of, we then begin to feel responsible for maintaining it. Communities start self-policing to maintain cultural expectations rather than elevating friction into punitive punishment from authority figures. When something lapses or fails, we feel an obligation to rebuild and reinforce the community norms, and create a stronger culture in the process.

FISH! fosters real relationships across boundaries and structures

Imagine a school where teachers consistently Choose Their Attitude and bring positivity and proactivity into the workplace because they know that their administrative staff will Be There when things get difficult.

Imagine a school where admin and support staff feel valued and seen by students who go out of their way to Make Their Day when normally they might be relegated to the background.

Above all, imagine a school where students feel comfortable expressing themselves because their school gives them the freedom to Play – physically and intellectually – and where students lift each other up instead of bullying because they know that the success of their education begins with the culture they want to build.

It may sound idealistic, but these are the sorts of results schools see when everyone practices FISH! together!

Ideas to Reflect On:

  • Think back to your experience as a student – how might it have looked different if everyone in the school had been practicing the FISH! Philosophy?
  • What is one difficulty your school currently faces, and could any of the FISH! skills help rectify this issue (or at least navigate it more successfully)?
  • Does your school or classroom’s current culture have the buy-in from everyone involved (students, teachers, admin)? Is anybody’s point of view being left out, and if so, how can they be included?

Want to Implement FISH! in your organization?

Are you a leader?  Do you train others?  Do you want others to be leaders?

Charthouse Learning, the creator of the world-famous, award-winning, FISH! film is offering an in-person, 2-day workshop, interactive Train-the-Trainer lead by our Senior Trainer.

During our time together you’ll learn how to:

  • Share the motivation and foundation of FISH!
  • Introduce the FISH! film with the four practices.
  • Present the invitation to apply the practices in everyday interaction with others.
  • Build a sustainability and reinforcement program to transform the culture.
  • Pick up tips from other FISH! Philosophers and develop a strategy to embed the practices into the DNA of your culture.
  • Create an energized organization that is the “first choice” for employees, faculty, staff, leaders, and customers.

Plus, you will learn how to create a workplace where people choose to “be and bring” their best self everywhere, every day.

At the FISH! Train the Trainer you will:

  • Dive Deep: Discover The FISH! Philosophy – full of “A-ha!” takeaways and perspective-shifting realizations.
  • Transform: Make the four FISH! practices – Play, Be There, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude – an essential part of your professional and personal skill set.
  • Discover: Learn practical ways to apply the FISH! practices to improve teamwork, service, leadership, retention and performance.
  • Develop: Brainstorm strategies to embed The FISH! Philosophy into the DNA of your culture, strengthening your mission, vision and values.
  • Collaborate: Learn and laugh with like-minded folks from across the globe.

Click Here for More FISH! Train the Trainer Information

FISH! Starter Kit

The first step in a successful FISH! journey is a remarkable introduction. A FISH! Philosophy kickoff event:

  • Inspires people to find the joy they have been missing at work.
  • Teaches four powerful skills you can use immediately for team and personal success.
  • Unites team members to accomplish any goal.
  • Is incredibly fun . . . and people learn more when they have a good time!

The FISH! Starter Kit provides all the tools you need to plan and lead a great kickoff.

Click Here for More FISH! Starter Kit Information

Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

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