The Fred Factor Ezine: Difference Makers
Harness your passion to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary...
Vol. 2, Issue 5 :: September 2007
In this issue...
Article: How to Lead Freds
Fred @ Work
Nominate a Fred
Fred Stuff
Fred Sightings

Dear Friend of Fred:

Leading Freds is the topic of this month's ezine. Sure, some Freds seem to be born with the principles of The Fred Factor firmly embedded in their DNA but effective leaders can also develop Freds in their organization. I'll discuss How to Lead Freds in this month's issue.

As always, we encourage you to turn the Fred's you encounter in ... so we can honor and acknowledge them!

Best Always,


How to Lead "Freds"

Wouldn’t you like more of your coworkers or employees to be like Fred Shea, the extraordinary postal carrier in The Fred Factor? Wouldn’t it be great if there were more “Freds” in your organization. Think of the benefits of having team members who are committed to turning the ordinary work into the extraordinary.

Praise for You Don't Need a Title to Be a Leader

The Fred Factor eCoach now available"...I call his book a "little" book only because of its size... In reality, it is a very big book, full of big ideas that are worth reading..." David Mercer - Mercer Capital

Purchase You Don't Need a Title to Be a Leader at the Sanborn Store.

You can have more Freds where you work, but it requires leadership.

Leadership is basically positive influence. You can influence people to be more Fred-like. The right leadership practices will encourage in others the same behaviors and practices Fred uses. If you’re a person who wants to raise the bar at your workplace, or a manager who wants to develop new Freds (as well as keep the ones you’ve already got), here’s what you can do:

1. Be a Fred who leads, not just a leader of Fred.

Influence by intention and lead by example.

If you’ve read The Fred Factor, you’ll know that I believe the best way to have more Freds within your organization is to first be a Fred. You can’t command or demand Fred-like behavior. You must first be willing to model what it looks like in your own performance; in not only how you treat customers but how you treat employees and colleagues. Commit to work at a higher level, not because you have to but because you choose to.

2. Appreciate past and present contributions to spur future contributions.

Gratefulness creates a great fullness of heart.

I’ve yet to meet someone who complained of being appreciated too much. And I rarely meet managers who are as good at appreciating their team as they could be. I’m guilty of the same predisposition: the longer we work with someone, the more we tend to take him or her for granted. Try this: do a review of some of the contributions your employees have made in the past that you didn’t adequately express appreciation for at the time. Recall the situation with them and recognize them now to make up for the oversight. And when a customer tells you about something extraordinary one of your people has done, try to connect them with that person—in person or by phone—so the positive feedback will be more personal and powerful.

3. Encourage people to try.

You don’t have to be great to start but you’ve got to start to be great.

Some people are afraid to try. They’ve attempted to act like Fred in the past and either weren’t appreciated or maybe got in trouble for an unsuccessful outcome. Others have simply never tried to do anything out of the ordinary, in part because nobody expected or encouraged them to do so. That’s where you as a leader come in. You might need to prove their own significance to employees. Show them specifically where they can shine, and encourage them to try. Reward the attempt, and not just the outcome. Giving the support and encouragement to move outside one’s comfort zone might be all it takes to get someone started on a journey to greatness.

4. Ask for and share ideas about how to be like Fred.

The only thing better than a good idea is a good idea shared.

Regularly solicit examples and techniques from everyone on your team about how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Ask for examples they’ve experienced at work or in their personal lives. Don’t feel like you must be the sole source of ideas. Get everyone involved in sharing better practices and sharing examples of what they’ve done that has worked.

5. Remove barriers and obstacles.

Make it as easy as possible for your team members to succeed.

If you’ve got procedures and policies that hinder performance, either remove them or give people a free pass if they break them. As long as their behavior is moral and ethical, don’t get hung up on silly policies and procedures. Yes, it can be risky to fly under the radar of accepted policies, but sometimes that’s what it takes to accomplish the extraordinary.

Ask your Freds to fill in the blank to this question: The biggest barrier I have to performing better is _____________. You’ll quickly find ways to improve performance simply by getting rid of the barriers and obstacles that stand in their way.

6. Be their champion.

Don’t just try to be a hero—make heroes of those around you.

When your Freds do something noteworthy, tell everybody. And make sure higher-ups in your company know. Spotlight your people to other departments and executives. Ask the leaders in your firm to pen a quick note or jot an e-mail of appreciation. And if there is a resource your team of Freds needs, represent that need to upper management. Use your influence to with others in your organization to assist the Freds you lead.

7. Give them the freedom they need.

Performance should have its privilege.

Don’t treat everyone equally, or you’ll create an organization of mediocrity. Treat everyone fairly, but make sure that those who perform best get appropriate preference. Give high-performing people like Freds more latitude and freedom to do their work. The privilege of performance is a corollary to the idea, “Of he or she who much is given, much is expected.” Those who contribute best and most should be considered for treatment and privileges not earned by ordinary performance. Don’t just expect more; recognize and reward more when you get it.

8. Teach the principles of The Fred Factor continually.

The only two ways to grow any business: grow yourself and grow your people.

Repetition, it has been said, is the mother of retention. There are four basic principles I identify in The Fred Factor: Everybody makes a difference, it is all built on relationship, you can add value to everything you do and you can reinvent yourself continually. The daily demands of a hectic workplace can push these principles to the back burner. While someone might believe in the principles, it is easy to forget to apply them. That’s why it’s critical to continually teach and remind people about the principles and practices you want them to use consistently.

Look for teachable moments. Whenever something significant happens—whether good or bad—great teachers find a way to extract the important lessons.

When teaching the principles of The Fred Factor, it pays to explain both what needs to be done and also why: people are more committed and motivated to do things for reasons that make sense to them.


For the past several years, managers have told me that the hardest job they have is finding and keeping good people. That is challenging indeed. But I believe there is something even harder and more important, and that is engaging the good people you’ve found and kept. That’s the challenge of leadership. We’re all ordinary people with the capability of doing extraordinary things. Leaders are those influencers—some with titles and others without—who help us recognize our own potential for greatness.

(For more ideas and resources on leadership, whether or not you have a title, go to

© 2007. 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.

Click here for more information and to watch a video preview presented 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
The Elgin (Omelet) Factor

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!

I was speaking for the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, and the meeting was held at the Embassy Suites in Lexington, Kentucky.

Several of us had met for breakfast that morning. There was a buffet line and also a cook on duty who would make pancakes or omelets.

I got in line for an omelet and murmured “Good morning” to the cook, whose name was Elgin.

”Don’t’ say it unless you mean it!” he boomed. That made me smile so I said “Good morning” again, but this time more enthusiastically.

“Can you do an egg while omelet?” I asked. “Yes I can.”

”I’d like an egg white omelet with ham and lots of vegetables. You probably don’t have salsa, do you?”

Elgin stopped in his tracks. “Don’t you tell me what I don’t have! I DO have salsa, but you can’t have any!”

He was edgy but it was all in good humor.

”Okay, I apologize, but please, I’d like some salsa on the side.”

While he was making my omelet he made a mistake and used whole eggs instead of egg whites.”

”Oops! I messed up your omelet. Anybody in line want a western omelet?”

I expected him to start remaking my omelet but didn’t see him do it. The line was building behind me so I finally said, “Have you got that egg white omelet coming?”

Elgin stared at me hard, “Man, you’re lucky you don’t have my job, ‘cuz I know what I’m doing!”

Somehow, he had started my omelet unobserved by me.

The guy was a hoot, and I was loving it.

”Hey Elgin,” I said, “You’re going to be in a speech today.”

“Oh yeah? A speech to who? The general manager of the hotel?” He was kidding, but there was a little seriousness in his words. He might have thought I was going to complain about his antics.

“No really. I’m giving a speech here and you’re going to be in it.”

Later, when I spoke to the superintendents, I asked how many had experienced Elgin. Several raised their hands. I related my story and encouraged them to order something from Elgin at breakfast the next morning, and to tell him I said hello.

Of course I was speaking about The Fred Factor, and said that Elgin was a good example.

Later, I sent Elgin a copy of The Fred Factor via the general manager of the hotel, along with a note praising Elgin for his Fred-like work on the frontline with customers.

Anyone can have fun, but it takes a little extra effort and creativity to give fun. And Elgin, of the Embassy Suites in Lexington, Kentucky, knows how to do it.

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
Introducing The Fred Factor Audio Book read by Mark Sanborn
Fred Factor Mem-Cards
Fred Certificate
The best selling book that started it all. The Fred Factor Audio book, read by Mark Sanborn, is now available.

Listen to an excerpt.
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 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 nice Fred 'citings' this month on the web...

  • Energizer Bunny or bestselling phenomenon? The Fred Factor has returned to the BusinessWeek best-seller list making it a total of 22 months that Fred has resided on this prestigious list. In fact, Fred has accumulated more time on this list than Blanchard and Johnson's classic One Minute Manager...
  • Wesley Fryer, in his Moving at the Speed of Creativity blog, relates that the Trussville, Alabama schools are having teachers read The Fred Factor as part of their "technology teacher leader" program. Training Freds to train Freds! We love it!
  • Hardin County Superintendent Nannette Johnston is drawing on The Fred Factor for inspiration in charting the direction of the Hardin County Schools District in Elizabethtown, KY. In a story that ran in The News-Enterprise, Ms. Johnston says, "She ... has taken ideas from ... “The Fred Factor” about taking the extra step to make “the ordinary extraordinary,” she said. According to the article, "Her personal copy is filled with Post-It notes sticking between the pages." If you're relying on Fred to guide you, Superintendent Hardin, we're pretty sure you're headed in the right direction!
  • Jamie Minton of the Executive Learning Network alerted us to a powerful message by Brigadier General Leo Brooks talking about what it takes to be a leader in the 21rst century. General Brooks is introduced by Mark - while this isn't Fred-related it's a message well worth hearing. Thanks Jamie!

If you see items about Fred or simply see Fred-like 'citings' in your local news, please send them our way. Thanks.