Book review: Catch!

Almost anybody who works with HR, organizational development, motivation or similar areas has heard of the Pike Place Fish Market. This is basically a fish shop, that one day decided to be world famous. As the owner tells it:
The first step for us at Pike Place Fish was to decide who we wanted to be. In the words of John Yokoyama:?In one of our early Pike Place Fish meetings with Jim (our coach from bizFutures), we began an inquiry into “who do we want to be? We wanted to create a new future for ourselves. One of the young kids working for me said, ?Hey! Let’s be World Famous!? At first I thought, ?World Famous?what a stupid thing to say!? But the more we talked about it, the more we all got excited about being World Famous. So we committed to it. We added ?World Famous? to our logo and had it printed on our shipping boxes.

This got picked up by some consultants, who created the Fish! concept, including a video and a series of books. But now, the Pike Place Fishmongers have told their own story in their own words, in the book Catch!: A Fishmonger’s Guide to Greatness by Cyndi Crother. And their version ain’t bad either.

While the Fish! series of books are very hands-on and practical, Catch! is more philosophical (dare I say spiritual), and more complex. The book doesn’t have four east-to-remember principles, but it does have a lot more food for thought.

I am amazed at the level of maturity the Pike Place guys have achieved in their organization. Everybody is willing to learn, and is willing to look at himself introspectively, to see where he can improve. Everybody there acknowledges the fact that they are themselves responsible for what they think and what they feel (as they say, “It’s all over here”), and they are willing to make tough choices based on that.

Maybe the most important insight is that their journey has been one of self-discovery. It’s about finding out who you are as an organization. It’s about identity. And it’s about positively choosing a future in which to live out that identity. This book tells their story, the good and the bad, and I recommend it highly.

One thought on “Book review: Catch!”

  1. That’s a good but short review on Catch! I think I will put that book into my reading list.

    I think the book Fish! offers dangerous advises. What sounds good on paper can failed the test of practicability. Catch! on the other hand, is born from real implementation, experience, and solid philosophies that works.

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