Key Impressionistic takes from the book “ Whale Done”
The power of positive Relationship
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Manager Wes Kingsley is married with two daughters. He visits Orlando to
attend a business conference, but the real reason is to escape from family and
the office, since he’s having trouble balancing the two.
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With a view to relaxing he decides to visit the famed Killer Whales show at the
Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld. Here 11000-pound killer whales play in harmony
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with their trusted trainers who weigh less than 200 pounds.
Wes starts to think about the interaction between the two and about what might
motivate the whales to put on such a mesmerizing show. His meeting with the
trainer of these whales gives him a surprising insight in this regard: while it is
natural to see man -- the most intelligent animal -- training other animals like
dogs, parrots, etc,
dogs parrots etc what Wes sees here is a role reversal Obviously as the
trainer says, “When you are dealing with an eleven-thousand-pound animal who
does not speak English, you do a lot of learning.” The patience required for
convincing the whales to consistently co-operate, trust and befriend their trainer
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involves a formula, which the authors term as “accentuating the positive”.
In different situations of our life, while dealing with people, we are always eager
to discover mistakes errors and shortcomings Maybe that’s why they say “Love
mistakes, shortcomings. that s Love
is blind” – after all it’s only when a person is in love that he sees or looks for only
his partner’s positive qualities. This is also because the goal then is to keep the
partner motivated to sustain the relationship and because when you are in love,
you watch over rather than be watchful of your partner. But after some time
greater attention is paid to the negative qualities of the individual. Obviously that
negativity gets repeated. This holds good for the work environment as well.
But what Wes sees at SeaWorld is that the trainers pay more attention to
catching the whales doing something right and then they reward the whales. But
whenever they see some negative behavior they either ignore it or redirect the
energy of the whales to something entirely different. Hence the whales find their
trainers always loving and adoring, and this is the foundation for their trust in
them. This poses a lot of questions to the reader and hooking him to the book.
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Today’s organizations experience…….
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Increased service expectations from Customers
High service standards amongst competitors
The need to constantly increase efficiency &
Challenges in retaining the employees
IImproving th employees l
i the l loyalty, d di ti
lt dedication &
engagement with the organization
The Whale Done Approach
The first part - The feeling part that indicates trust
The second part -Performance track record that
It is confidence, absence of
suspicion, confirmed by track
record & our ability to correct
The Whale Done Approach
Accentuate the positive &
not the negative
i t k happens
The ABC of Performance
Whatever gets performance going
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The Performance that occurs
Your response to the performance
Four Types of Responses
Most popular one , People are accustomed to being ignored
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The response people really pay attention to this
Which comes in the form of angry look Verbal criticism or a penalty
Most effective way to address the undesirable behavior
Redirect their energy & attention either back to what they were
suppose to do or onto something else
Redirect to another task & observe their performance & catch them
doing something right
Best way to turn countless low-morale situations around
Least used & very powerful
The Redirection Response
Describe the error or problem as
soon as possible , clearly &
Show its negative impact
If appropriate , take the blame
for not making the task clear
Go over the task in detail &
make sure it is clearly
Express your continuing trust &
confidence in the person
Whale Done! Response
Share positive feelings.
Encourage them to keep up the
Catching people doing things wrong
Catching people doing things right
Our Emotional Bank Account with Others
When we have positive
interactions, we are making
When we have negative
interactions, we are making
Common myths about Motivation
I can motivate people
Money is a good
Fear is a good motivator
Motivation is too hard
I know what motivates me, it should motivate others
Increased job satisfaction=increased performance
Fundamentals to raising Employee Morale
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C l b t success
Offer opportunity for
What’s in it for you
Get more done
Just plain feel better
What’s in it for the Organization
Increase retention of top performers
Increase creativity and innovation
Improve service to team members & customers
Inspire passion and boost performance! 14
The trainers use at Sea World to train killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, and
other animals is to "build trust" with the animals. Strange as it may seem, a
multi-ton killer whale is much like a little lap dog or a small human child in one sense-
--a kill whale "d
killer h l "doesn't care h
't how much you k
h know, h wants t k
he t to know hhow much you
care." It's true---Sea World trainers get MUCH better cooperation from their animals
during the training process if they actually LOVE these animals! The killer whales
seem to KNOW when they're loved---and respond accordingly
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The second step in training killer whales and dolphins is to "reward positive
behavior." That means, if a killer whale performs the action that the trainer wants (or
even if the killer whale comes CLOSE to performing the action correctly), then the
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SeaWorld trainer needs to reward the killer whale immediately.
What types of rewards can a Sea World trainer give to a killer whale? A nice
bucket of fish makes a good reward!
Surprisingly, a back rub is another reward
that killer whales at Sea World like! Of
course, their backs aren't the only thing
that killer whales lik rubbed---they lik
th t kill h l like bb d th like
their heads rubbed, their fins rubbed...and
even their tummies scratched. Don't they
sound just like the family dog! No wonder
so many people think the Sea World killer
whales are so adorable---not only are they
cute to look at, but they also act just like
the famil pet at times!
The third step in training a killer whale is to
"re-direct" his behavior h
" di t" hi b h i when h makes a he k
mistake. Perhaps the killer whale has done
the trick wrong. Or, perhaps the killer whale
has ignored the trainer's instruction. Whatever
as g o ed t e t a e s st uct o ate e
the problem has been, the trainer must try to
get the killer whale back on-track.
First the Sea World trainer will NOT reward
the killer whale. Instead, the trainer does a
"three second pause." That is, the trainer
doesn't move or make a sound for 3 seconds.
The killer whale knows he usually gets a
bucket of fish...and notices that he isn't being
rewarded this time.
The Sea World trainers never punish a killer whale. For one thing, the trainers
will eventually have to get back into the pool with the killer whales---and it isn't very
wise to get an animal who weighs several tons mad at you!
Another reason that the SeaWorld trainers don't punish the whales is that they don't
want to damage their relationships with the whales. Since whales are sensitive and
will only perform when they feel loved and content, it doesn't make any sense to
make them feel angr !
To get a whale back on track, the trainer might next ask the whale to perform
an older trick...one that the whale DOES do well. Afterwards, the trainer can
praise and reward the killer whale, and everybody's happy again!
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Training to improve performance
How would a SeaWorld trainer teach a new animal---for example, young
grandbaby Shamu---how to do a trick?
Let's say that a trainer wants to teach a young killer whale how to jump over a
rope. First, the SeaWorld trainers would place the rope down in the water where
the killer whale could swim either under it or over it.
After every time that the killer whale swims over the rope the Sea World trainers
would reward him with a bucket of fish---and soon, the young whale will come to
understand the connection that, "hey, if I swim OVER this rope, I'll get a treat!"
Next, the SeaWorld trainers RAISE the rope a little bit at a time. They keep
rewarding the killer whale for swimming over the rope...but, in time, that means
that he'll have to JUMP into the air and over the rope to get his reward.
Of course, this is easy for a killer whale---killer whales jump naturally while they're
"in the wild " So actually a killer whale doesn't really need to be trained in HOW
in wild. So, actually, doesn t
to jump...just trained to jump when the Sea World trainers want him to do it!
Finally, the Sea World trainers raise the rope so high that the killer whale is
making spectacular leaps in the training pool. Trick accomplished! Even so, the
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kill whale will still get a nice reward EVERY ti
ill till t i d time h performs th t i k
he f the trick.
Key Learning's/Take Away
People, very much like whales, will not do anything for you until
they trust you. You must show good intentions and convince them
th t you mean no hharm.
To build trust, you must accentuate the positive and not the
Do not accentuate negative behavior. Remember, the more
attention you pay to a certain behavior, the more it will be
When negative behavior occurs, redirect the energy.
Do not look down on others. Do not expect them to do something
just because you want something done.