Not long ago I had a very interesting and in a way, entertaining meeting with a client. They are a large group of companies and we were discussing three of them that together make one part of the whole structure.

Each of the companies were delivering a different type of service for one industry, together covering everything that industry required in their field. These three companies needed to collaborate well to keep their position as leaders of the market, but currently they were losing their market share. They were restructuring and bringing a new CEO into the company, and we were talking how best to get the company back on track.


You would expect quite technical conversation, but we found ourselves talking about fish… 🙂


Funny enough the company is in the maritime industry, but that wasn’t the reason. We were discussing the internal situation, the management structure, operational issues, business and owners goals and from all that the need for a clear direction. I mentioned a fishbone type of planning structure that I’d learnt a long time ago. (It’s different to what you find online under fishbone diagram, that’s about cause and effect.) It goes this way:



Simply put: if you know your values, you see where you are going. You can build strong vision and mission. Your plans are clear; you know what goals need to be achieved and objectives – your to-do list – to be delivered.

With a full fish structure developed you know that when tail is moving fast, it gets whole fish exactly where you want it. When anyone in the business is ticking off the to-do list boxes, the company is heading fast in the right direction.

Imagine what will happen to a fish that has no head, only a tail? 😉


My client loved the visual as it was a simple way to explore and express what their business currently looks like. The resulting picture was a fish that had three bodies connected by one tail and no heads, swimming in circles as they couldn’t identify where they were heading as they had no heads to see! We laughed over that image whilst aware that it’s not a good situation for the company.

We agreed that the ideal situation they need to work towards is a fish that has three bodies each having their own tail, connected by one head that gives the direction. We loved the speed one fish could produce if it had three tails!! 🙂

From that image of the ideal structure it wasn’t so difficult to identify the changes and work that the company needed to get done to solve this situation. It became a base for a structure of our work with them and an easy tool the company started using to communicate the reason behind the changes and get the buy in they needed.


Whatever size your company is – a one man band or multinational corporate – the Fish structure always applies. Bigger companies just have more tails to power the single head!


How is your fish looking like? Be honest and strong, that’s the only way to get your fish right and start properly accelerating the growth of your business.

And don’t forget to share your thoughts about your fish with us in comments below!

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