Training Emphasizes Having Fun at Work

FORT LEE, Va. (June 3, 2010) - Team Lee members are bringing a renewed focus toward customer service and the overall enjoyment at their jobs.

The Plans, Analysis and Integration Directorate and Customer Service Office teamed up to present the world-famous FISH! training to Fort Lee employees recently.

Cliff Whitehouse, PAID lead management analyst, and Kimberly Jones, Customer Service officer, are in charge of the training. Whitehouse said part of the training introduces the principles of FISH!

“The training has four principles,” said Whitehouse. “The first is ‘play’ – to be playful and lighthearted in the workplace. ‘Be there’ – be focused with your customers. ‘Choose your attitude’ – it’s important to have a good attitude. The last one is ‘make their day’ – whether they are employees or customers.”

The duo uses exercises, videos and a slideshow to give participants the most bang for their buck, and they look forward to seeing the training steer Fort Lee toward more positive attitudes.

“Fort Lee is so ready to be a team and change,” said Whitehouse. “The training helps to create a really positive culture. Now that we’re growing by leaps and bounds – it’s a great opportunity to begin to change the culture to the positive.”

The FISH! philosophy stemmed from the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, where employees started throwing fish around, said Whitehouse.

“They had a boring job, and they wanted to make their business world-famous, so they started being more playful,” he said.

The feedback from the classes has been positive, said Jones, as people really enjoy what they learn.

“It lets people know it’s OK to play. You have to get along with your co-workers,” said Jones. “It reinforces why it’s important to be there listening to your customers. If we can get everyone thinking in a similar mindset, then we can improve the quality of service on our installation.”

During a recent session with employees from the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Directorate here, Tom Currier, an assistant operations manager at Cardinal Golf Club, said the training was on track with everything his department tries to do every day.

“Everything we’ve seen so far is exactly what we do at the golf course,” said Currier. “Have a good time, encourage the customers – we do it all the time over there now, so it reinforces what we’re doing.”