Fish! How We Are Redefining What We Do Post Covid...


What is it and why is it important to our organization?

I bet some of you have heard of Fish, you know Go Fish, Fishing, Fish for meals…all sorts of Fish, but have you heard of the book Fish![1]?



I had, many years ago in my former corporate life and had forgotten about it. But as we traversed Covid as a brick-and-mortar retail business and during planned expansions, somewhere along the way Amy and I forgot to have fun. But how could we not?



We weren’t initially considered essential business until we had large distributors rally on Capitol Hill. In the span of a week, we traversed not only a worldwide pandemic but uncertainty of the ability to keep our doors open, or the fear we were going to close for good. In that time Amy and I made a commitment to our staff, we would keep them as long as we could. Now what?



We pivoted and ran full steam ahead, putting our entire store online in six weeks. We reduced capacity to 3 people in any store at a time. We kept our staff paid based on average weekly with what little we had put aside from expansions. Not everyone got millions in PPP. And we opened our vehicles for delivery. I will never forget the line of staff cars that first day we had shuttered our business, waiting to hear from Washington. It was both terrifying and amazing.



We learned many lessons during Covid, of which I hope to sit down and write about this summer. We are still learning. To lose 28% of FY Gross Revenue in less than 6 months and continue to respect the needs of our staff and customers was not only challenging but some days overwhelming. And delay after delay in expansion and equipment that worked as expected was like piling weight after weight on our shoulders. Bottom line, we forgot to have fun and cherish what we had. And when we do as leaders, that translates throughout an organization no matter how big or small.



Amy and I had to figure out a way to reinvigorate ourselves and our stores and I happened to look at my bookshelf and see Fish! The timing could not have been more perfect. You see throwing fish around all day in Seattle, WA may not seem ideal yet, and this is a true story, they figured out how to redefine what they did in a cold and rainy area, and in turn have fun. Of course, I am simplifying a bit but re-reading this book so many years later has given me insight to what the past 3 years brought both personally and professionally. We will persevere and we will come out stronger and better for it, but for a while Amy and I lost sight of who we were and why we started Leaps & Bones and its sister company and little sister Bakery.



We are learning, alongside our staff how to “Fish!” again.



   [1] Fish written by Stephen C. Lundin, PH. D., Harry Paul, and John Christensen with forward by Ken Blanchard, Ph. D.