The Fred Factor Ezine: Difference Makers
Harness your passion to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary...
Vol. 3, Issue 3 :: June 2008
In this issue...
Article: A Shaved Head for Fred
Announcing: The Fred Factor Teacher's Guide
Fred @ Work - Marketing Consultant Turns Co-Workers on to Fred
Create Freds - Fred Factor Training Programs
Nominate a Fred
The Fred Store
Fred Sightings

Dear Friend of Fred:

Fred fans and advocates make writing this ezine too easy. I just listen to the stories you tell about the positive impact that The Fred Factor has had in your work and life and I report them here. 

This month is no different with 3 great articles on Fred's impact at a Federal credit union in Maryland, in a pain institute in Arizona and -- in Fred Sightings -- as the basis for a church based adult education class as well as a cure for job boredom.

As always, thanks to all who share the Fred's in their lives and I encourage you to share your stories of Fred as well; when you do, we all benefit!

Best Always,


Mark Sanborn's 50 Best Lessons from 50 Years of LivingPS - It's my birthday! And it's one of those ones that get you thinking. I thought I'd like to pass on a few of the best lessons I've learned over the years to my sons and I also thought I'd like to offer them to you as a gift on my birthday. You can download  My 50 Best Lessons from 50 Years of Living from my blog and, while you're there, please use the comment box to share your best life lessons as well.

Guest Article
A Shaved Head for Fred
By Bruce Ervin Wood, PCC, SPHR

Brian Shave his head for Fred and team performanceAs the VP of Human Resources for NIH Federal Credit Union in Rockville, MD, helping to boost value and service to our Members (customers) adds value to their lives and to the Credit Union. In 2007, reading The Fred Factor: How passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary by Mark Sanborn opened a new opportunity to encourage our Associates (employees) to provide exceptional service to our Members.

The Fred Factor Teacher's Guide – Bringing the Fred Factor Message to Kids

The One Minute EntrepreneurGive your child the tools they need to be successful at school and in life.

The Fred Factor Teacher's Guide was developed as a way to demonstrate the importance of character in our daily lives. It is important for educators and parents to teach our young people that ability may take you to the top but character will keep you there. Character, and the work ethic that is essential in developing good character, is a necessary ingredient to a fulfilling life.

This guide provides an important resource to help teachers develop and deliver an exceptional, character-based curriculum in the classroom that will benefit our students well beyond its walls.

Developed by noted educator, Nannette Johnston, Superintendent of the Harlin County School District, The Fred Factor Teacher's Guide is available at no charge through the Sanborn Store at

We believe that what we pay attention to, we empower. So, we challenged our teams to pay attention to the often small and sometimes extraordinary acts that go beyond what’s in a job description with the aim of improving how we show up for each other and for our Members.

Our HR Team presented the idea as part of an incentive proposal to our Benefits Committee (made up of Associates). They were doubtful about the prospects, but endorsed our aims. Later, unsure that the program would be approved and having doubts about reaching our goal, we presented this idea as 5% of our 2007 Incentive Plan to Board Volunteers on our HR Committee. They were initially skeptical of what appeared to be a ‘fluffy’ idea. Even so, they appreciated that, unlike Return on Assets or other traditional financial measures, each Associate could see how their individual performance would directly contribute to reaching our goal. The Board approved the Plan.

To make our achievements measurable, our Learning Leader Lakeshia Dorsey and Information Technology used a survey function on our Intranet to allow Managers and all other Associates to nominate co-workers for their exceptional acts (we called them “Exceps”) or to log their own. We used the honor system. Associates judged what was or was not exceptional. One point for recording your own Excep and five points for nominating a co-worker or getting a kudo from a Member. Ophelia Acolatse, Branch Manager, noted the value to our Members, saying, “Exceps although different, are yet similar.  When it comes to the service that we provide to our Members and co-workers no exceptional act outweighs the other!”

Our goal was to reach 12,500 points from May 1 to December 31 – about half a point per Associate per work day. We rolled out the program in a series of meetings and sent out email reminders. Unfortunately, it was clear from the start that even though Exceps were part of the Incentive Plan, only a few Associates got around to logging Exceps. By the end of September, we lagged a woeful 6,000 points behind the pace needed to reach our December goal.

No way we’d reach our goal unless we figured out how to energize the program. I asked Lakeshia if she thought my getting a buzz hair cut if we reached our goal would boost our results. At the next series of Associate training sessions, she put the hair cut idea out there (using a picture of the bald Doctor Evil from the Austin Powers movies).

A few taunting emails from me bragged there was absolutely no way we’d make up the gap and reach our goal, and that Associates might as well not bother logging any more Exceps. More quietly, we sent individual emails sharing the Exceps that Associates received and who logged them. Emails also thanked those who logged the Exceps. Somewhere in the mean time, it was suggested that the hair cut take place at our January 12 holiday party.

Like the brooms carrying water in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice scene from the Disney movie Fantasia, the pace of Exceps logged became a flood! Susan King in Marketing noted, “I appreciated having the opportunity to thank the people that I work with for the small but important things they do for me each day…The grand prize of the head-shave was fun but I most enjoyed acknowledging my coworkers.”  Chiquita Williams, ATM Specialist put it this way, “I loved the idea of the buzz cut so I made it my business to acknowledge every helpful thought I saw or have done.”

By the end of October, we not only closed the September gap, we were on pace to reach our goal. With false, counter-bravado, I acknowledged the achievement, and restated my confidence that it made no difference and that my hair was safe. Visits to most of our branches gave folks a chance to see what they were aiming to cut.

Cynthia Thompson, NIHFCU’s Loan Servicing Manager observed, “…Every week you heard Associates counting the number of EXCEPTS they could record.  The people were really discussing would he, or wouldn’t he let someone cut all of his hair off.  It became a company wide challenge, that most enjoyed…”

By November’s end, we were well ahead of pace, and in early December, we exceeded our goal! Not only that, our Work Climate Survey showed significant improvement in Associates’ feelings of being appreciated, our Member service scores improved slightly, and we had more people attend our holiday party than ever before. Most importantly, we reminded ourselves that we are EXCEPTIONAL. Our accomplishment reminded us that we have a choice about what we pay attention to, the failures of life or the opportunities to go beyond what is expected.

At the January 12 party, CU President/CEO Lindsay Alexander said, “No way!” would there be a  Presidential pardon or reprieve from the Governor, despite my feigned entreaties.  In fact, Lindsay said “Bruce, you made a bet with the staff, challenged them, and they achieved great things…There will be no reprieves from me!” The haircut was on and all seven inches of my hair was coming off! Kathy Johnston from our Mortgage Team had the most Exceps and won the honor of being my barber.

I took a seat before the group in my NIHFCU windbreaker. The DJ cued up the Darth Vader Theme from Star Wars and camera flashes lit up the night! With the first swipe of the clippers, the music changed to the “I’m too sexy for my hair” song, and joy and disbelief filled the air. Ms. Thompson noted, “…the first sweep of the clipper and the crowd broke into cheers. I got the feeling that single act generated warm feelings about the company and between the Associates...”

Bria now sports a soooo cool head for FredIt was soooo cool! Joy and laughter beamed from people’s hearts. With the fall of the follicle,  my wife smile told me she loved me - even without hair. (Later, my 17-year old daughter was stunned to see me hairless for the first time in her life. Truthfully, first seeing the reflected glow off my naked noggin caught me by surprise.)

According to Ralph Vallone, Lending Manager, “The Exceps program is unique…A peer-to peer thank you, such as an Excep, improves morale and the cohesiveness of a team.” It was worth it. Some folks believe I lost a bet and my hair. The truth is that every Associate and Member of National Institutes of Health Federal Credit Union are winners – including our presently very bald (and very proud) VP of HR.

Note: You can 'enjoy' the video of Bruce getting his hair cut on YouTube. It is truly a raucous experience! Even if you haven't shaved your head for Fred we want to hear about your Fred Factor experiences. You can use the convenient “Fred Award” nomination process on our website. Follow the link to find out how you can nominate a Fred and share your Fred stories with us today!

© 2008. Mark Sanborn. All rights reserved. Please contact us if you'd like to reprint this article.

Are you interested in going beyond The Fred Factor book to create an "Army of Freds" in your organization? Then you might want to consider the following Fred Factor training resources:

The Fred Factor DVD Training KitThe Fred Factor DVD Training Curriculum

Bring Fred to your staff. In his video training program Mark Sanborn teaches, in greater detail, the key principles from The Fred Factor. Taped in front of a live audience, you'll bring The Fred Factor buzz to your staff, when Mark shows you how to become a Fred with a special appearance from Fred himself. Mark demonstrates first hand, in his trademark style and humor, what being a Fred is really all about.

Each kit contains 4 - DVDs covering 8 training sessions and 1 bonus session which features Mark interviewing the original Fred, Fred Shea. The Video sessions are supported by 1 facilitator's guide and 1 participant's guide.

Order The Fred Factor Training Kit online or call Maritza at 1-800-650-3343 with questions or for bulk order discounts.

The Fred Factor eCoachThe Fred Factor eCoach

Create an Army of Freds in your organization with The Fred Factor eCoach. Using the latest in online training technology, Sanborn & Associates in conjunction with Asset Learning - the creator of the Dale Carnegie online sales training system - is pleased to offer a state-of-the-art, internet-based training system that will help transform your staff into an Army of Freds. Participants will receive 20 jam-packed lessons complete with detailed action plans that will teach them how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. The program provides an optional coaching component which allows you to track student progress while providing feedback and encouragement to participants.

You'll find more information here with a special video overview by Mark Sanborn.

Call Corey Perlman at Asset Learning - 248-822-2868 - for licensing details and even greater discounts on quantity purchases. Corey is also available to provide a detailed walk-through of the training and administrative and coaching functions.

Fred @ Work

Marketing Consultant Turns Her Co-Workers on to Fred

Nominate a Fred

Help us acknowledge the Freds that we all encounter on a daily basis whether through work or in our lives outside of work. Please use the nomination form found here to tell us your Fred's story. And please, tell a story not just, "I nominate Joe because he's a great guy," but tell us what actions of Joe's make him a Fred. This kind of information will help us all become more Fred-like by providing us specific ideas and actions that we can model in our own lives. It's a Fred-like activity in and of itself!

When Kitty Wiemelt first read The Fred Factor, she felt an immediate connection to the principals and ideas presented. After passing Fred along to her colleagues, she saw how it proved to be effective in Kitty’s office environment office as well as in the lives of her co-workers and even their clients.

A marketing consultant for Desert Pain Institute (DPI) in Mesa, Arizona, Kitty’s work focuses on promoting the comprehensive pain center and its mission to treat the whole person, relieve pain, and restore lives.

The five year-old business employs around 100 staff members, including seven fellowship trained/board certified pain medical doctors. Staff members and clients alike enjoy the impressive facility, which features a medical office, ambulatory surgery center, and rehabilitation/aquatic center. DPI also offers pain support groups for its many clients from people with back or neck pain to people facing cancer pain, age-related disorders spinal conditions and much more.

“It is an awesome facility with staff and doctors who really care,” said Kitty. “I’ve loved working with this group in marketing; it’s been an easy place to talk to the community about because they back it up with being good at what they do.”

One of the nurse practitioners on staff shared The Fred Factor with Kitty and she knew it was something that would resonate with her fellow DPI co-workers. As an expert in training and relationship marketing and founder of her own business—Winds of Change Consulting
Kitty also works as a motivational speaker and professional trainer, so she knows how to spot unique resources that can make a positive impact on a business and its staff.

After reading The Fred Factor for herself, Kitty was inspired and sent the following e-mail to her DPI co-workers:

Here's a story of Fred the Postman that everyone loves to hear, you want to know why? It reminds us all of not only of what's possible, but our potential as well. Excellence, wisdom, and dedication are all functioning parts of Fred's world.

Freds remind us that we can choose the right role models. Freds set an inspiring example for their companies and organizations, teammates, customers, friends, and families. When others see the infinite ways to create excellence and "wow" in their work, they, too, will want to become Freds. Something wonderful will happen. The energy they once had will be restored. Enthusiasm will replace cynicism, and action will overcome complacency. The feedback, recognition, and satisfaction that come from being a Fred will fuel ongoing, quality efforts.
(page 31-32 from The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn. A little book, but a great read).

You see, Fred was this guy's postman who always saw the person he was delivering mail to as a person, just not his client. "He went the extra mile to see deep and ask, ‘How may I make your life a bit easier?’ It wasn't just the job he had, it was the life excellence he created by making a great job out of what he had.

What creative way today can you be a Fred and look deep into your co-worker, your patient, your family member - how can you get your energy and enthusiasm back for life?

Do look out around you today and see where you can extend YOUR POTENTIAL to the world.

Thank you for being the best of who you are and making Desert Pain Institute a great place to come to. Blessings to each of you.

Kitty’s enthusiasm and desire to improve the lives of the people around her are qualities that benefit the Desert Pain Institute’s staff and, in turn, make the clients’ experiences even more positive.

Whether it is through her career as marketing consultant or through her personal interactions Kitty Wiemelt is indeed a Fred.

Here's an idea to recognize your own Freds; purchase our Fred Factor certificates or, if you don't mind doing the printing yourself, download our fr*ee version online. It can be filled out and printed from within Adobe Acrobat or the Acrobat Reader. While you're recognizing them don't forget to give us a chance to recognize them too!

Fred Stuff

Spread Fred with these great Fred Factor products from the Sanborn Store.

Bestselling The Fred Factor
Reinforce the Fred Factor Principles with Mem-cards
Fred Factor Mem-Cards
Fred Certificate
The best selling book that started it all.

Also Available -
The Fred Factor
Audio bookread by Mark Sanborn.

Listen to an excerpt.
The Fred Factor Mem-Cards® are the perfect way to reinforce The Fred Factor principles each day. These flash card-sized learning tools give you easy access to the key principles and concepts of The Fred Factor along with motivational quotes from Mark and others. Watch and listen to Mark Sanborn live, on stage, as he relates the story and discusses the four principles of The Fred Factor in this 20 minute video DVD. A great companion to his bestselling book. The Fred Factor Recognition Certificate is professionally printed and suitable for framing; recognize your Freds with this high quality award.
These and other great Fred products are available in The Sanborn Store.

Bonus Materials

Fred Sightings

Some great Fred web sightings this month...

Heartlight websiteThe Heartlight website published an article by Steve Higginbotham on his use of The Fred Factor in his adult education classes....

"...Not too long ago, I read a book by Mark Sanborn entitled, "The Fred Factor." The book is about a mailman who took his job seriously, and consistently went above and beyond the call of duty in performing it. While the book is not a "religious" book, the spiritual and biblical applications are everywhere.

Consequently, I have been teaching a Wednesday night adult class on the biblical principles contained in the "Fred Factor," and I have been challenging people to go out and be a "Fred." It has been interesting to see how much excitement this class has generated. People have taken up the challenge of being a "Fred" (translated — a disciple of Jesus) and going the second mile with people. I would heartily recommend the book to you. It is an easy read, being only 112 pages long.

Well, allow me to share a close encounter I had with being a "Fred" this past week...." 

In a follow up email, Mark asked Steve how his class would summarize the message of The Fred Factor. Steve replied:

In response to your request to ask my class how they would summarize the message of the “Fred Factor,” I share the following results…

  • The Fred Factor is about practicing the “Golden Rule” – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  • The Fred Factor is about going the second mile.
  • The Fred Factor is about ordinary people doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.
  • The Fred Factor is about doing your very best, not matter what the job may be.
  • The Fred Factor is about simply going about, doing good.
  • The Fred Factor is about the difference everyone can make in the lives of others if one chooses to do so.
  • The Fred Factor teaches us that “value” is not determined by what you do in life, but how you do it. 
Mark, these were the top answers given by the class...

Thanks Steve and please thank your class for sharing their insights!

JT & DaleJT AND DALE Report Fred Fights Job Boredom

J.T. and Dale, in an article in the June 10, 2008 edition of the Warrenton (MO) Journal titled, "Bored with your job? It was created that way: But you can make it more interesting", cites The Fred Factor as one prescription for job boredom...

"...There's a book called "The Fred Factor," by Mark Sanborn, that does a nice job of explaining how to love what you do, no matter what it is..."

Be sure to read JT & Dale's entire article for more great advice on battling job boredom.

Copyright 2008 Sanborn & Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Contact us if you are interested in reprinting all or part of this newsletter.