The Fred Factor

Passion in your Work Life

We hear a lot about relationship building and how to be successful in today’s workforce we need to foster and build relationships. The dictionary definition of relationship “the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.”

I recently read the book The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn. This is a fast read and one that benefits everyone. Here is a quick snapshot. Fred is Mark’s postman. Fred seeks opportunity to make a difference to someone every day. When Mark first moved into his home, Fred rang the doorbell and introduced himself. He asked a few questions and learned that Mark traveled a lot for work. Fred then proceeded to give solutions on ways to handle the mail while Mark was out of town to not attract burglars to Mark’s absence. Fred went out of his way to take care of the needs of those on his postal route. He got to know each of the people on his route and took a personal interest in them and their lives.

Fred the postman took an ordinary job and made it exceptional because he cared.  His simple acts and finding ways to make serve another built long-lasting relationship.

The Four Fred Principles:

  1. Everyone Makes A Difference
    • You have the power to choose each day to be exceptional.
      • Find ways to be exceptional to just one customer today. In the example of Fred, the postman, he would pick up trash and while he delivered mail. This small act, helped keep the yards and sidewalks clean that added value to the community.
      • In any job, there are ways to make the ordinary task exceptional.
    • There are no unimportant jobs, just people who feel unimportant doing their jobs.
      • Mark shares a story in the book about a busboy at a busy airport food court. He described how this employee had his head down, shoulders slumped, wouldn’t look at anyone while he went about wiping down tables and cleaning up trash. Mark took a moment to express his gratitude to the busboy and how important his job was to overall cleanliness of the airport. The simple words of appreciation from a stranger had the busboy stand a little taller.
      • In my own life there have been jobs where I have given 110%, I arrived early, worked through lunch and stayed late even working on weekends to ensure the job was done. No matter what I did, or how hard I worked my efforts never seemed to be appreciated. When people do not feel valued at work, they seek other opportunities. Regardless of your position in your current job be a Fred, offer words of kindness and appreciation to your co-workers and team members. Watch and see how the atmosphere will change.
      • Ask yourself do you add to or take away from the experience of your customers and colleagues?
  1. Success is Built on Relationships
    • Indifferent people deliver impersonal service.
    • Get to know others and understand their needs and preferences.
      • Ask questions, listen intently and care about each person.
    • The quality of the relationship determines the quality of the product of service.
  1. You Must Continually Create Value for Others and It Doesn’t Have to Cost A Penny.
    • Using your imagination enables creative value to customers.
    • The challenge is to out think your competition verses outspending them.
  1. You Can Reinvent Yourself Regularly
    • Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional
    • There are no unimportant jobs.

The idea here is that everyone has the potential to be a Fred.  Sanborn said that “excellence and quality should be the goals of every person in any business or profession…. Anyone can be a Fred… the result will not just be extraordinary effort and success in your work. You’ll find yourself living an extraordinary life as well.”

Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director