It’s summer! Let’s talk about fishing. I’m sure some of you are avid fisher-people (Is that the politically correct term?!)! Fishing isn’t something I do in my spare time, but I do have memories as a young child of occasionally going to the Big Sioux River by Estelline, South Dakota and fishing with my Dad and brothers.
Recently, our Academics Department presented the FISH! Philosophy for the staff that are on campus for the summer. Their office does the FISH! Philosophy with new instructors as they come on board. We spent 90 minutes doing a team building activity, making our own fish, watching the video that inspired the FISH! Philosophy, and discussing the four concepts. Many years ago, at a conference, I was introduced to the FISH! Philosophy. I enjoyed it then and enjoyed hearing it again!
Most of us are familiar with the FISH! Philosophy. It’s based on the customer service model that has put the world-famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington on the map and made it a tourist attraction. The philosophy is based on these four principles:
- Choose – Choose to make today a great day.
- Play – Be serious about your work without taking yourself too seriously at work.
- Be There – Don’t let distractions destroy the quality which is present in each moment.
- Make their Day – Find someone who needs a helping hand, a word of support, or a good ear and make their day!
Such simple customer service concepts that we can incorporate into working with students, families, and co-workers!
It’s all about CHOOSING YOUR ATTITUDE! When you walk into your office every morning, you can choose to have a good day or a bad day. Your attitude is going to be displayed to all who encounter you, whether in person or on the phone. We all have tasks that we don’t particularly enjoy doing. We can approach them with a positive attitude and get through them OR we can grumble the entire time we are doing them.
When you walk into a store to return something and you’re not pleased with the item you purchased, you can choose to make it a good experience or a bad experience by how you approach the store employee. Are you going to calmly explain that you’d like to return it because you’re not happy with the product or are you going to yell and tell the person exactly what you think of the item and the store? Likewise, that person’s attitude and how he or she approaches handling your return can be either a positive or negative experience for you, the customer.
Do you incorporate some PLAY into your work day? Are you “all business” or do you try to find some ways to make your office fun, not only for you and your co-workers, but for your students too? Life is too short not to find some humor, fun, and “play” in each day, especially at work! It doesn’t mean you have to entertain visitors when they come into your office, but find some ways to incorporate some fun into your work environment.
When someone walks up to your desk or you are helping someone on the phone, are you fully focused on that person or are you typing an e-mail as you ask how you can help? Is your cell phone dinging in your purse or off to the side of your desk and you are trying to “sneak a peek” at it while a co-worker is asking you a question? BE THERE! Be focused on the person in front of you, not on your e-mail, cell phone, piles of files on your desk, etc. Studies show that multi-tasking doesn’t get us anywhere!
Do you have a student sitting in your office who is feeling overwhelmed by the first week of school and wants to drop out? Listen to that student, empathize, and offer some advice. A “You got this! I know you can make it through this first week of school! We will help you succeed.” may be just what that student needs to hear. Offer to walk the student over to the Registrar’s Office rather than just sending him or her down the hall. That simple gesture might be all that it takes for the student to decide, “Hey, everyone here is so friendly and helpful! I think I really do like it here and want to stay!”
Don’t forget about your co-workers! Do you have a co-worker who is going through a rough patch in life? Offer some kind words or MAKE THEIR DAY by leaving an anonymous surprise on his or her desk of a favorite snack, soda, or coffee. (A Diet Coke and a Snicker candy bar will make my day any time!)
Think about it…according to the authors of FISH!, we spend about 75% of our adult waking time doing work-related activities (getting ready for work, traveling to/from work, working, contemplating work, and decompressing after work). Do you enjoy it and are energized by your work or do you have the “TGIF! Attitude” about it? These four simple concepts will go a long way in making our encounters with students, families, co-workers, and others more enjoyable experiences.
In the spirit of the FISH! Philosophy, I wanted to share pictures of the fish that some of my co-workers and I made at our seminar. All fish and their creators approved of the sharing of their photos! I hope they make you smile and MAKE YOUR DAY!
RMASFAA Training Committee Member
Lake Area Technical Institute
Watertown, South Dakota