Turning a Toxic team culture around

One of my favourite books was Fish!  The reason it resonated with me was at the time, I was working in a toxic culture, a hostile company take over.  Trust between the existing employees and the new leadership basically was non-existent.  The new leadership that  knew nothing about our industry, the terms we used, the strong culture we had created. If we wanted to turn this culture around it was up to us to do it just like Mary Jane did.

Overview of the book and it’s learning outcomes for me:

Mary Jane has just been promoted to the third floor at her office, where her new team was labeled as a ‘toxic energy dump’.

She ends up finding her inspiration at a fish market while she is on a walk at lunch. Yes, a fish market, where they sell fresh, smelly fish, but it’s a crazy positive environment, the furthest thing from toxic and she ends up getting mentored by one of the fishmonger’s, Lonnie. She learns, ‘There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself.’

4 Key Nuggets:

  1. Choose your attitude – speak from the heart, find a message that communicates the notion of choosing your attitude in a way that everyone will understand and personalize, provide faith and motivation.
  2. Play – have some fun, life is short!
  3. Make their Day – engage your team, make them feel special, it is so easy to find good things if you are looking for it, a lot more enjoyment in rewarding the positive than always pointing out the downfalls
  4. Be there – Don’t read or type an email when someone is talking to you, it is rude!!! Be present.

In brief, no matter what problems you have at work, you always have the choice in how you respond to it, and don’t underestimate what kind of a positive effect you can have on others.

Fish! was written by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen