2018 – Be More Like Fred

Have you read ‘The Fred Factor’ by Mark Sanborn? If not, may I suggest this is the next book for you? Actually, why not put down what else is on your nightstand and read ‘The Fred Factor’ instead?

If you have read it before then do yourself a favour and read it again. By the way, it’ll take two hours or less and if that’s too much time then I’ll summarise the key points for you – in my opinion it’s a prescription to enable you to have your best year yet.

The book tells the true story of Fred the postman, a US version of our Pat, only he’s real. Fred loves what he does and seeks to be the best he can be – as he puts it, “Look to every day as a new day, and make each day better than the last. Even on my days off, I have goals, and I feel like I need to get a lot done. If I feel like I wasted the day, I don’t sleep quite as well at night.”

Mark Sanborn describes the four “Fred Principles” that he believes, and I concur, can apply to any person, in any profession, in any situation, at any time.

1. Everyone Makes A Difference. (Or maybe that should be, Everyone Can Make A Difference). It doesn’t matter what you do, your three options are broadly: to do the bare minimum, to do it to the very best of your ability or somewhere in between. More often than not, doing something extraordinarily well takes little or no more time than the bare minimum. The difference mostly is the mindset and effort you bring to the job. Are you delivering mail or brightening up your neighbourhood? Are you selling houses or helping people to move forward with their lives?

2. Success Is Built On Relationships. The quality of the relationship is far more important and significant than the quality of the product or the quality of the service. Of course if you can deliver all three then you’ve hit the jackpot but of the three the relationship is king. Leaders must always remember that their employees are human. Employees must never forget their customers are human. And purveyors of technology must make sure that their software/app/system is truly useful/helpful/rewarding for humans.

3. You Must Continually Create Value For Others, And It Doesn’t Have To Cost A Penny. If you’re not adding value through the relationship then you’ll be replaced by machines. And adding value is mostly about how the customer feels having interacted with you. Sure you can also add value through product/service improvement but it will be short lived, the competition can copy you in a heartbeat. But can they make the hearts of your customers beat a little faster? Customer value is principally about how someone is made to feel. Will you make the people you interact with today feel special?

4. You Can Reinvent Yourself Regularly. I’m not talking about changing jobs every 18 months or doing things in a radically different way. No, reinventing yourself is about how you deal with those days which just seem to drag on. How you respond after several rejections and the quality of the next call you make. How you pick yourself up when everyone else is downbeat. It’s your “bounce-back-ability”.

The Fred Factor is about making your business, and more importantly your life, everything you want it to be – and these four “Fred Principles” are a great set to start each day with. Or, to quote Pat, our own favourite postman’s theme tune: “All the birds are singing, and the day is just beginning. Pat feels he’s a really happy man.”

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