John Christensen is a filmmaker, best-selling author, and chairman and chief creative infuser of Minneapolis-based ChartHouse Learning. The company is the official home of The FISH! Philosophy, a life-long philosophy offering fresh inspiration to help people feel more alive and engaged in the work they do.
Christensen developed The FISH! Philosophy in 1998 based on his observations of the inspiring way in which the fishmongers of Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market approach their work every day. He translated his observations into four practices — Be There, Play, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude — and created the film FISH! Catch The Energy, Release The Potential. The film has been translated into 17 languages in 32 countries to date and is the foundation for six more films based on The FISH! Philosophy.
Christensen in 2000 co-authored FISH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results, which has been translated into 34 languages and has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide and is a New York Times Bestseller. Between 2002 and 2004 he co-authored three more FISH! books — FISH! Tales, FISH! Sticks and FISH! For Life — which are also sold worldwide and have combined sales of more than 1 million copies.
As ChartHouse Learning’s chairman and chief creative infuser, Christensen is the organization’s vision keeper and lead talent scout. He focuses on creating a team and workplace culture that values and rewards creativity and collaboration and is rooted in personal freedom, wholeheartedness and authenticity. Under his leadership, ChartHouse Learning in 2004 introduced FISH! For Schools and FISH! For College, its first industry-focused tools. In less than one year, both tools were being used by educators in all 50 states and distribution was expanded to Canada.
In a classic shipping-clerk-to-company-chairman story, John Christensen joined ChartHouse Learning in 1984. The company was originally founded in 1955 by John’s father Ray Christensen and was a successful production house for a variety of film projects, including documentaries, business films and television advertisements. John worked side by side with his father for nearly 15 years learning every aspect of the filmmaking craft. He assumed leadership of the company in 1998, the same year The FISH! Philosophy was introduced.
Christensen and the company have been recognized with more than 20 national and international film, creative and business awards since the late 1990s. In 2004, the company received the prestigious EXPY — Experience Stager of the Year — Award from Strategic Horizons LLP, a leading business thinking studio founded by Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore, authors of The Experience Economy.
Christensen earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota’s College of Education & Human Development in 1983. He is a board member of The LifeSkills Center for Leadership, Famous Dave Anderson’s leadership training center for native youth located in Minneapolis.
Christensen speaks frequently to a wide range of organizations about his discovery of The FISH! Philosophy and how it helps organizations reach business goals — improving innovation, productivity, leadership, culture, retention and customer service. He is also a worldwide media resource on the topics of workplace and employee transformation.
A self-professed retail junkie, Christensen enjoys discovering new retail experiences in his spare time. He’s also an avid reader. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Twin Cities suburb of Minnetonka.