at SSI, we have adopted the FISH! Philosophy as the cornerstone of our
corporate culture. We see signs of it in departments throughout the company
in the form of fish-shaped knick-knacks, a FISH! bulletin board, and even
FISH! thank-you notes that TXU sent to every employee for service above
and beyond the call of duty. Penny Johnson, Manager of Customer Service,
found a glass fish sculpture and immediately saw it as an “Oscar”-like
award, to be used to recognize the “Best Employee” on a daily
basis. The award would underscore the importance of the FISH! Philosophy
at SSI and unite the departments, management, and owners of our company.
The next question: what to call the award? During a lengthy brainstorming
session, “Merlin” was mentioned. At SSI, the name “Merlin”
has negative connotations because that’s the name of the U.S. Postal
Service machine that monitors the mail and is potentially a source of
bad news. We decided we could turn our reaction around by calling the
Each week the recipient of the Merlin Award chooses the next week’s
winner, and Sondra Gooch, bookkeeper at SSI, records the winners’
names and the reasons they are chosen. Since the Merlin award was initiated
over a year ago, almost every employee has won it and some have won it
more than once.
Throughout the company, the response has been enthusiastic, and all SSI
employees are motivated to have Merlin sitting proudly on their desks
the SSI home page
The fishmongers of Seattle’s Pike Place
Fish Market are the inspiration for the FISH! Philosophy. One day John
Christensen, the CEO of ChartHouse Learning, was visiting the market
and observed the attitude and actions that the fishmongers brought to
their jobs. They were enthusiastic and having fun, yet focused on the
job they were doing. From his observations of their whole-hearted commitment
to their work, Mr. Christensen developed the FISH! Philosophy, four
principles that serve as a foundation for a healthy workplace and life.
Those principles are:
Take work seriously, but get it accomplished
in a lighthearted, spontaneous way.
Make Their Day.
By doing small acts of kindness or other
meaningful gestures for others, routine encounters become memorable.
Doing work in a wholehearted way benefits
both yourself and others.
Choose Your Attitude.
You select how you respond to situations.
By looking for the best, opportunities arise.