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'Fish!' author tells Oklahoma ethics group to play, be present and make customers' days

More than 400 people attended OKEthics' 10th anniversary event and listened to Harry Paul, co-author of ‘Fish!' A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results.'
by Paula Burkes Published: November 17, 2012

What's your response when a fellow driver gestures obscenely? Do you react in kind?

Whether it's on the road or in the workplace, people have the freedom every day to choose their own attitudes, best-selling business book author Harry Paul told more than 400 guests at an Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium luncheon Thursday at the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club.

Paul is co-author of “Fish! A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results,” which is based on the success of Seattle's Pike Place Fish market, whose mission is to make the world a better place, one interaction at a time. Market employees have become world-renowned for their playful yelling and throwing of fish, as a way to have fun and engage customers.

In the same outdoor Seattle market, there are three other fish markets that sell the same fish, but Pike Place is the most successful, Paul said.

That's because the market attracts workers — who follow three main principles: they play, they're present (including active listening) and they make their customers' day, he said.

But without choosing the right attitude, the other ingredients are a waste of time, Paul said.

“Ethics also is about choice,” he said. “There's no right way of doing the wrong thing.” He said managers must lead by example and create cultures in which employees instinctively make ethical decisions.

He also talked about being nice, genuinely interested in employees and appreciative of them as a way of building two-way trust.

“If you recognize and appreciate employees, they'll go the extra mile for you time and again,” he said.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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