As we roll into December and approach the Winter Solstice, it’s time to acknowledge that we’re in the darkest days of the year… literally. Sunlight is a scarce resource, colder weather is descending on many parts of the world, and even our emotional worlds can start running a bit darker thanks to things like seasonal depression and tumultuous family relationships. And while it isn’t your job as the boss to manage every person’s relationship with the darkest days of Winter, it is in your best interest to make sure you show up and Be There however you can for your team – it’ll help them feel better coming into work, build stronger relationships between you and your employees, and maintain your work output and standards during a time of year that can often cause its fair share of strain and difficulty.
Ask just about anyone what their perception of a “corporate” environment is, and you’ll probably receive the same set of answers: Gray walls, acres of cubicles, droning printers – the whole Office Space stereotype. What they usually don’t say is “fun.” Fun isn’t a dirty word – it’s a natural human need that’s as important as feeling loved, according to some psychologists. So why is it such a pain to try to inject into a corporate workplace? It seems like office management never loves having to create “fun” activities, and nobody working gets all that excited at the idea of another office birthday sheet cake. Fortunately, the FISH! Philosophy values fun greatly, and can help us bring a real, genuine sense of fun and a playful spirit into even the most mundane office. Here’s just a few tips on bringing fun into your corporate workplace.
The holidays are a time of love, laughter, and good cheer – but in the corporate world, those sorts of celebrations can be totally hit-or-miss. Some people love getting presents in the office and hit up every holiday party from start to finish, while others really don’t see the point. If you’re going to celebrate the holidays in the office, however, put in a little time and effort to get it right. So here are a few suggestions for office holiday gift and celebration ideas that’ll really help Make Their Day, rather than spending your budget just to hand out a perfunctory gift that’ll end up in the trash heap.
It’s not controversial to say that play is crucial to the development of children – it’s science! When children play, they learn so many important life skills that not only help the brain grow properly, but play a massive role in a person’s success as a grown-up adult. As children develop, they use play to practice creating and understanding rules, respecting the boundaries and emotional needs of others, cause and effect, teamwork, and so much more – and as they play, they reinforce neural pathways and connections that build these skills and traits in the long term. And yet, whenever we teach the FISH! Philosophy, people tell us that the pillar of Play is one of the hardest parts for them to grasp. As adults, we’re no strangers to having fun, but the concept of Play – that unstructured space for exploration, creative thinking, and experimentation with our peers – often gets left behind with age. But it doesn’t need to. All we need to do to relearn our sense of Play is to pay attention to how children Play and why – and integrate that into our own personal and professional lives.
Conversations seem so simple – after all, they’re something we all do every day, and all they are is just talking to people right? So why is it that some conversations can feel so tough to navigate? Particularly in the corporate world, where professional norms and divergent power dynamics combine with tight deadlines and big emotions, not every conversation is easy, and it’s tempting to try to just ignore them entirely. But having tough conversations in the workplace is a necessity if we want to get things done efficiently and effectively and build a random assortment of employees into a real team and community.
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?
The new school year is heating up, and as teachers begin to feel like they’re starting to get to know their students, many are turning their thoughts towards the next step: effectively managing their classes and their classrooms. Classroom management tips are a dime a dozen, but the FISH! Philosophy offers advice based on real-world education sector experience that not only works in the classroom, but translates to any age group or industry. By following the pillars of FISH!, you can work towards building a classroom that’s respectful, collaborative, and encourages learning, growth, and relationship-building both for the students and the teacher guiding them.
We all know – whether consciously or just intuitively – that there’s a difference between someone who’s merely an authority figure vs an actual leader. Authority can exert its will upon you due to status, but real leadership is about behaving in a way that excites your team and gets their buy-in so they become active participants in everyone’s success. One of the best ways to practice true leadership is to practice Be There, one of the core pillars of the FISH! Philosophy. Being There is about showing up for the emotional needs of your team, rather than acting merely as a removed managerial presence. This means that instead of just acting like “The boss,” you take an active role in standing alongside them through both good times and more challenging situations, and guiding your team as they learn, grow, struggle, and adapt.
“How can I improve my staff’s morale?” is one of the most common questions amongst managers and business owners, and it makes sense: we all want our team to be happy not just because we value their humanity, but because happier people tend to be more productive and make fewer mistakes. But what’s the best way to improve staff morale? For a lot of people, the assumption is that we need to “fake it til we make it” by putting on a big smile and a chipper voice, no matter what’s going on around us. However, the truth is that authenticity – not insincere positivity – is what raises morale.
While we profess to value curiosity as a culture, far too often we consider practicing curiosity to be almost self-indulgent. We conflate it with navel-gazing, day-dreaming, or knowledge for its own sake rather than something truly practical–and that’s a crying shame. In reality, curiosity is absolutely foundational in any success, both on an individual level and an organizational one. Curiosity is far more than just being wrapped up in your own thoughts; it’s a way to find new solutions, spark new ideas, and connect with others in a genuine, human way. That last point is truly underrated, too, so we’ll say it again: curiosity is crucial for fostering real connections with the real people that we work with to find our own success.