The Fred Factor is a business philosophy based on the story of a Denver postman, Fred, who went above and beyond the call of duty to provide extraordinary service for the people on his mail route. The concept is about adding value without adding costs and that with the right attitude and outlook any ordinary act can be made extraordinary.
The four key ideas of the Fred Factor are as follows:
- Everyone makes a difference. – Even the “little people” can do extraordinary things.
- Success is built on relationships. – Fostering your relationships can make all the difference.
- Continually create value. – It doesn’t cost anything to make someone’s day.
- Reinvent yourself regularly. – Each day is a new opportunity, change direction if you need to.
The book gives so many examples of “How to be a Fred” from lending cash to someone in a bind, making an extra phone call just to make sure someone is getting the service they need, or taking the time to know your clients’ schedules so mail doesn’t pile up on their porches while their out of town and leave them vulnerable to break ins.
But I am not sure Fred (or his employer) really thought about competition in the traditional sense. Fred is more likely proof that there is another less observable competitor: the job we could have done. The truth is that we compete against our own potential every day. And most of us fall short of what we are capable of doing or being.
I initially picked up this book because I am a huge fan of the Hallmark show “Signed Sealed Delivered”, about…coincidently enough…a postman in Denver. Well, really about the Dead Letter Office in Denver, but close enough. However, I was quickly taken with the concept of being a “Fred” As I read, I realized I was surrounded my “Freds” in my own life. My boss, my mother, my dance teacher—ALL FREDS. By the time I had finished the short book, I had an overwhelming urge to be a “Fred” myself and the more I paid attention to the things I do every day, I learned I might already be one.
This book is a quick read and definitely worth the time. I always look for leadership or business books that step outside the “how to be a good boss” genre. I don’t have aspirations of being the boss, I have aspirations of making a difference and this book outlines how to do just that in the most simple ways.
So how do we get more Freds in the world? That’s easy to answer: Be a Fred!