How ‘Fred’ can help your team find their passion

About a year ago, a good friend of mine and fellow manager introduced me to Mark Sanborn’s book The Fred Factor, his answer to rekindling employee engagement and motivation.

He raved about the book’s lessons, but I didn’t take his advice right away, and instead, I put the novel  on my need-to-read back burner book list. Now a year later, I am proud to report I finally read The Fred Factor―I just wish I read it sooner.

Who is Fred?

The star of the book, Fred, is a real-life mail carrier who turns the simple act of delivering mail into meaningful interactions that make a big difference in the lives of his customers. He goes the extra mile for the people he serves, not because he has to or because he is looking for recognition, but because he genuinely cares about people and is passionate about his work and his life’s purpose―a message managers and leaders should take with them.

This story is inspiring because Fred and the other role models in this book (who are also appropriately referred to as a “Fred”) are seemingly average everyday people like you and I, yet, their actions set them apart and make them truly unique and special.

A “Fred” success isn’t attributed to advanced training, plentiful resources or money. Instead, these individuals make a difference by understanding how to create value for others, build strong relationships and be open to continuous self-reinvention.

The Fred Factor inspires others to want to do the same and teaches people how. After reading this novel, your employees will be prepared to take more ownership in their customer service delivery, career and life.

Here are a few other ways your team can benefit from lessons in this book.

It sparks creativity

Sanborn’s motivational stories in which people have made ordinary situations extraordinary should get your employees motivated to brainstorm ways they can go above and beyond and be a Fred. Whether it’s the story of a flight attendant making the extra effort to add light humor to her announcements during a long flight or the movie theatre employee bringing over a complimentary box of popcorn to a customer they knew forgot their wallet, your team will be inspired to come up with their own ways of serving their co-workers and customers better.

It empowers others

The Fred Factor reminds employees they are responsible for their own actions and happiness and gives employees easy-to-implement ways they can be more successful and prepared to reinvent themselves. One of the best resources for employees in this book is the “The Fred Report Card,” which offers an easy way people can evaluate their own efforts toward becoming a Fred. There is also a helpful “Team Fred Report Card” as well.

It creates a common language

After you and your team have read The Fred Factor the goal is to get everyone talking about Fred, recognizing “Freds,” and hopefully trying to become a Fred. Speaking the same language sets your team up for success because everyone can understand the goals and the lingo.

Don’t make the same mistake I made. Read The Fred Factor as soon as you can. You will be thankful for the newfound energy and appreciation the story of Fred brings to you and your team.

Danielle Clark is a human resources manager with more than 10 years of HR and customer service experience in healthcare and retail organizations. Her work with Fortune 500 companies, in addition to a diverse professional and academic background, has trained Clark to be results-driven, people-focused and a thought-provoking leader. Her goal is to educate and inspire professionals to change their way of thinking. She is also an adjunct professor, active community volunteer, wife, mother and passionate lifelong learner.

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