In his powerful new book The Fred Factor, motivational speaker Mark Sanborn recounts the true story of Fred, the mail carrier who passionately loves his job and who genuinely cares about the people he serves. Because of that, he is constantly going the extra mile handling the mail – and sometimes watching over the houses – of the people on his route, treating everyone he meets as a friend. Where others might see delivering mail as monotonous drudgery, Fred sees an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those he serves.
We’ve all encountered people like Fred in our lives. In The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn illuminates the simple steps each of us can take to transform our own lives from the ordinary – into the extraordinary.
Mark reveals the four basic principles that will help us bring fresh energy and creativity to our life and work: how to make a real difference everyday, how to become more successful by building strong relationships, how to create real value for others without spending a penny, and how to constantly reinvent yourself. By following these principles, and by learning from and teaching other “Freds,” you, too, can excel in your career and make your life extraordinary. As Mark Sanborn makes clear, each of us has the potential be a Fred. The Fred Factor shows you how.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change.
Mark Sanborn graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University. In addition to his work as a business educator and author, Mark continues to be an active leadership practitioner, including having served as the president of the National Speakers Association.
Mark holds the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association (NSA) and is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. He was honored with the Cavett Award, the highest honor the NSA bestows on its members, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the speaking profession. Mark is also a member of the exclusive Speakers Roundtable, made up of 20 of the top speakers in America.
“Sanborn soars with The Fred Factor…His system works and can not only change your life but just may jump-start the career of the person sitting next to you.”
“The Fred Factor is a powerful, poignant parable of success. It’s about going the extra mile and always doing more than is expected. It is revolutionary yet simple. It is life changing.”
“The Fred Factor . reminds us of the difference one person can make. If you are ready to move to the next level, both personally and professionally, read this ingenious book.”
“Goodness is in shorter supply than is necessary. The Fred Factor is about how all of us can add to the goodness in the world through simple daily acts that touch the lives of others.”
“The Fred Factor is a superb extension of Mark Sanborn’s wisdom and substance. It’ll only take you a few minutes to read, but it’s guaranteed to give you a lifetime of value.”
“The Fred Factor is the perfect one-hour read. You cannot finish it without feeling compelled to go the extra mile for others.”
“The Fred Factor.will not only inspire you, it will empower you and your team to make every day a masterpiece.”
“The Fred Factor celebrates “normal” people offering extraordinary services.”
“Mark Sanborn has built a clear, easy-to-understand road map to.knowing the difference.every single person can make.”
BUY THE BOOK
We’ve all encountered people like Fred in our lives – the people whom we interact with that leave us in awe of their work and the experience we just had with them.
In The Fred Factor, bestselling author Mark Sanborn relates the four principles of injecting passion into our work and life through the story of Fred, his Denver postman, and others like him.
No matter where we are in our career, no matter our position in the organization, no matter our current involvement, we can all transform our lives from the ordinary into the extraordinary by bringing fresh energy and creativity to our life and work.
The first time I met a “Fred” was just after I had purchased what I called a “new old house.” Located in a beautiful, tree-lined area of Denver called Washington Park, the house had been built in 1928. A first-time homeowner, I’d only been living there for a few days when I heard a knock on my front door. I opened it, and saw a mailman standing there.
“Good morning, Mr. Sanborn!” he exclaimed cheerfully. “My name is Fred and I’m your postal carrier. I just stopped by to introduce myself, welcome you to the neighborhood and find out a little bit about you and what you do for a living.” Of medium height and build with a small mustache, Fred was an ordinary-looking fellow. But, while his physical appearance didn’t convey anything out of the ordinary, his sincerity and warmth were noticeable immediately.
I was taken back. I’d been receiving mail for most of my life, but I had never received anything like this kind of an introduction from my postal carrier. But it did impress me as a nice touch.
I replied, “I’m a professional speaker. I don’t have a real job.”
“If you’re a professional speaker, you must travel a lot,” said Fred.
“Yes, I do. I travel anywhere from 160 to 200 days a year.”
Nodding, Fred went on. “Well, if you just give me a copy of your schedule, I hold your mail and bundle it. I’ll only deliver it on the days that you are at home to receive it.”
This was amazing! But, as I told Fred, that was probably not necessary. “Why not just leave the mail in the box on the side of the house?” I suggested. “Then I’ll pick it up when I came back into town.”
Fred explained, “Mr. Sanborn, burglars often watch for mail building up in a box. That tells them that you’re out of town, and you might become the victim of a break-in.”
Fred was more worried about my mail than I was! But after all, I realized, he was the postal professional.
He continued, “Here’s what I suggest. I can put mail in your box as long as the lid closes. That way nobody will know that you’re gone. Whatever doesn’t fit in the box, I’ll put between the screen door and the front door. Nobody can see it there. And if that area becomes too full of mail, I’ll just hold the rest of it for you until you come back into town.”
At this point I started to wonder: does this guy really work for the U.S. Postal Service? Maybe this neighborhood had its own private mail delivery service. Still, Fred’s suggestions sounded like a terrific plan to me, so I agreed to them.
Two weeks later I returned home from a trip. As I put the key in my front door lock, I noticed that my doormat was missing. I was puzzled; I doubted that anyone was actually stealing doormats in Denver. I looked around on my front porch and I found my doormat in the corner.
It was covering something.
Here’s what had happened: While I was gone, UPS had misdelivered a package sent to me. The box was left on somebody else’s porch five doors down. Lucky for me Fred the Postman was on the job. Noticing my box on the wrong porch, he picked it up, carried it down to my house and put it out of view. He also attached a note explaining what had happened, and then tried to make it less noticeable by placing the doormat over it. Not only was Fred delivering the mail, he was now picking up slack for UPS!
His actions really struck me. As a professional speaker, it is easy to find and point out what’s “wrong” with quality, customer service and business in general. Finding examples of what’s “right,” or even praiseworthy, is much harder. Yet here was Fred, a gold-plated example of what personalized service looked like and a role model for anyone who wanted to make a difference in his or her work. Because of Fred’s example I started sharing my experiences with him in speeches and seminars I presented across the country. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to hear about Fred, whether they were in a service business or manufacturing, high tech or healthcare. Audiences were enthralled and inspired.
Back at home, sometimes I had a chance to share with Fred how his work was inspiring others. I told him about a discouraged employee who had been receiving no recognition from her employers. She wrote to tell me that Fred’s example inspired her to “keep on keeping on” and doing what she knew in her heart was the right thing to do, regardless of recognition or reward.
I related the confession of a manager who pulled me aside after one speech to tell me he never realized that his career goal all along was to be “a Fred.” He believed in excellence and quality as the goal of every person in any business or profession.
And I was delighted to tell him that several companies created a Fred Award to present to employees who demonstrated the same spirit of service, innovation and commitment that he did. Someone once sent Fred a box of homemade cookies, care of my address!
As for myself, I wanted to thank Fred more formally for his exceptional service. When Christmas rolled around, I left a small gift in the mailbox for him. The next day, when the mail was delivered, I found an unusual letter in my box. The envelope had a stamp on it, but the stamp wasn’t canceled. That’s when I noticed the return address. The letter was from Fred the Postman.
Fred knew it was illegal to put a letter that wasn’t posted in the box. So, even though he personally carried it from his house to my house, he still put a stamp on to keep it legal.
The letter said, in part, “Dear Mr. Sanborn, Thank you for remembering me at Christmas . . . I am flattered you talk about me in your speeches and seminars. I hope I can continue to provide exceptional service. Sincerely, Fred the Postman.”
Over the next ten years, I received consistently remarkable service from Fred. I could always tell the days when he wasn’t working my street just by the way the mail was jammed in my box. When Fred was on the job it was always neatly bundled.
But Fred also took a personal interest in me. One day while I was mowing the front lawn, a vehicle slowed in the street. The window went down and a familiar voice yelled, “Hello Mr. Sanborn! How was your trip?” It was Fred, off duty and driving around the neighborhood.
To this day, I can’t tell you what motivated Fred. I know he didn’t get paid more for his extraordinary work. I doubt he received any special recognition from his employer (if he did, I never heard about it). I know he wasn’t privy to any exceptional training or incentive programs.
One thing I do know: Fred, and the way he did his job, is a perfect metaphor for anyone who wants to achieve and excel in the 21st century. Truth is transferable, and the four principles I learned from Fred apply to any person in any profession.
Inspired by Fred the Postman and the countless other Freds I’ve met, observed or been served by in numerous professions, I wrote The Fred Factor. It contains the simple yet profound lessons all the Freds taught me. Anyone can do them. Everyone should. By learning how to be a Fred it’s possible to do extraordinary work. And that means being an extraordinary person as well-something we all want to be.