For several years, I had the privilege of teaching the Organization Behavior course in the McKendree University Louisville campus business school. I always included the Pike's Place Fish Market story when we talked about highly effective organizations, and here's why.
I honestly can't think of many jobs that I would dislike more than working as a fishmonger - the smell, the gore, the pre-dawn start to every workday, the hard labor of setting up the ice displays, and did I mention the smell. And yet, on the brink of bankruptcy, owner John Yokohama and his crew embraced a bold idea - to become world-famous.
Being world-famous wasn't John's master vision that he delivered to his team because he already knew that his top-down, traditional management style wasn't working. Instead, defeated and exhausted, John hired a business coach who showed him how to replace his command-and-control practices with an invitation for employee engagement.
Facilitated by the business coach, Pike's Place Fish Market employees sat together in a meeting room and reimagined their future. The compelling vision to become world-famous and the idea of turning the fish market into an entertainment destination was generated, embraced, implemented, and perfected by the team.
What happened from there not only saved the company with
When John and his team first gathered, I can only imagine that skepticism and distrust were present. Hiring a skilled professional who has the facilitation skills to bridge divides and makes space for every voice is essential to success. It is work to set aside old assumptions and beliefs and redefining relationships. Well-crafted questions, reframing of situations, and gentle reminders to practice new skills accelerate results.
Need help? I'll show you how, just like CEO Tiffany Howard, who recently hired me to help restore the high-performance culture in her organization. Read her review here.