The Fred Factor Ezine: Difference Makers
Harness your passion to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary...
Volume 1, Issue 2 :: May 2006
In this issue...
Thank you!
Article: Difference Makers
Fred Nomination
Fred Stuff
Fred News

Dear Friend of Fred:

Wow! We've had an overwhelmingly positive reponse to the release of the inaugural Fred Factor ezine. Thanks particularly to all of you who took the time to write with your congratulations or to express your appreciation like the reader who wrote, "I love your newsletter! I must have 10 copies of Fred and have given out at least that many. We all aspire to be a Fred here!"

We aspire to be Fred as well and, as I mentioned last week, this periodic ezine will share ideas, techniques and stories that will assist you in making a positive difference in the lives of those you live and work with. It will continue to build on the four principles of The Fred Factor as well as provide you new information you've not seen before.

With this in mind, I think you'll enjoy this month's article on "Difference Maker's". While it's an excerpt from my forthcoming book, You Don't Need a Title to be a Leader, Fred fans will recognize the theme as a continuation of the First Principle of The Fred Factor, "Everyone Makes a Difference."

I'd like to also remind you to check out the f*ree stuff and special offers included in this ezine as well.

I hope you'll consider this ezine an opportunity for dialogue and and a place to share your comments and stories. My mission is to be a difference maker to the difference makers, so I hope you'll find encouragement and support for the path you've chosen to follow.

Best always,


PS - Two notes, if you like what you're reading and think others will too then please don't hesitate to pass this issue you along using the "Forward to a Friend" feature at the bottom of this newsletter. If, on the other hand, you have no time or interest in this communication please don't hesitate to use the "Unsubscribe" link also at the bottom. We guarantee that you will be immediately taken off of our list. But why don't you wait an issue or two before making that decision. We think you'll enjoy what you read.

Difference Makers

(Adapted from You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader: How Anyone, Anywhere Can Make a Positive Difference, Currency, September 2006 release)

Everyone matters. Everyone makes a difference.

I don’t think everyone knows that. Most people grew up being told they could make a difference, not that they do make a difference. As a result, some people believe they can choose to be neutral, making neither a positive nor a negative difference.

In practice, that just isn’t so.

Have you recently encountered a person who didn’t seem engaged? Perhaps he or she seemed wrapped up in his own private world, and you were left with the impression that you weren’t important enough to gain admittance. Don’t you hate to be ignored that way?

If you were to press that person, he might tell you he was simply being “neutral.” He might not have been helpful or interested in you, but he wasn’t doing you any harm.

To me, that kind of rationalization is akin to the bystander at a mugging who chooses not to get involved. The fact is he has acted, in this case negatively, by not getting involved.

In practical terms, neutrality is a myth.

The greatest insult in business or in life is indifference. You can’t engage the world in a meaningful way by being “neutral.” The perception on the part of others will be that they don’t matter enough for you to engage with.

My point is that everyone makes a difference. The choice we all have is whether we want to make a positive difference or a negative one. The important question isn’t, “Did you make a difference today?” The important question is, “What kind of difference did you make?”

For instance, have you made a positive or a negative difference to:

  • Your client or customer, who was in a pinch and needed immediate attention?
  • Your son or daughter, who wanted you to read to him or her when you were busy preparing for the next business day?
  • The stranger on the way to work who said good morning to you without getting a response?

The positive or negative impact you have on each person above vary only in magnitude. The principle is the same. When you choose not to make a positive difference, you almost always make a negative one.

Our actions and behaviors matter more than we realize. What we choose to do can improve, even if only in some small way, the quality of another person’s day or life.

Are you building a resume or a legacy?

Our culture is obsessed with success. We assume that if we become really good at what we do, we will earn the material benefits and accolades that come with success. But Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the U.S. Senate, points out that our goal in life shouldn’t be just to “be good,” but rather to “be good for something.”

If that “something” is limited to merely personal success, our impact on the world around us will be limited. To put it another way, don’t confuse resume skills with leadership skills.

The difference between your resume and your legacy is:


  • What You’ve Accomplished
  • Results
  • The Money You’ve Made
  • The Impression You Leave
  • Self Improvement


  • What You’ve Contributed
  • Relationships
  • The Difference You’ve Made
  • The Impact You Have
  • Helping to Improve Others

Ask yourself, are you building a strong resume, or preparing to leave a lasting legacy?

According to Barna Research, only 1 of 4 Americans has a life philosophy.
Fewer still have a notion about the kind of legacy they want to leave.

Philosophy answers the big questions that underlie all the little questions of life. It literally means “love of wisdom.” The best philosophy affects not just what we think or believe, but how we behave and what we do. Philosophy, by definition, seeks to answer the question, "How should we live?" What I’ve found over the years is that the why is usually more important than either what or how. The why almost always determines the what or how that will lead to success.

It sounds corny to some, but making the world a better place—your home, community, company, country or planet—is what motivates and drives each of us when we act as leaders or as “Freds.” If you see an opportunity to make things better, why ignore it?

How are you leaving your mark in life?

When I first visited the big island of Hawaii, I was particularly impressed with the volcanic rock fields the road we traveled on cut through from the airport to Kona. Hundreds of white stones had been carefully placed along the way, in stark contrast against the black rock of the lava field. These stones spelled out the names of people, and often the date of when they had passed through: "Bob & Sally, 11/88," "Jean, Spring Break '91." It reminded me of what so often happens when graduating classes assault bridges and water towers and graffiti artists practice their public art.

All of us want our lives to be significant, to believe we’ll do something, somehow, that will be remembered. Sometimes leaving a legacy can be as simple as placing stones in the lava. But for most of us, the best evidence we can leave that we passed through life is to lead when we are able, and follow when we can’t. Leadership isn’t a mysterious art practiced by only a select few. It is the daily response of each man and woman who wishes to make a positive difference in the world, and make it a little bit better place as a result of their efforts.

The marks in life we leave—our legacies—are most often left not in stone or steel, in history and politics, poetry or literature, but in the lives of other people.

© 2006. Mark Sanborn. All rights reserved. Please contact us if you'd like to reprint this article.

Fred @ Work
How Wachovia is using The Fred 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!

Kim Kennedy of Wachovia was kind enough to share with us how her group uses The Fred Factor:

I really enjoyed the Fred training I received. I enjoyed it so much, we have "Five minutes of Fred" training in our branch most every day. We make it a part of our huddles. The message is so simple and can be applied to our work life and our home life. Our branch is not GOOD, but GREAT and we don't have just tellers at Wachovia, we ARE tellers at Wachovia. Since our meetings, every person has a personalized greeting for our customers. The customers have recognized the sincerity in their voices. Also I have had teammates ask for extra assigned duties for the branch. They have taken ownership, and have made a commitment to the team.

When I notice someone being like Fred, they receive a Fred or Fredricka of the day slip. The slip tells them what they have done with a personal thank you from me. It's so much fun giving it to them and it encourages others around them to get one too. At the end of each month we will read the slips out loud and take a count of who had the most. They will receive a prize. They have started coming to me and reminding me when they have seen one another being a Fred. It's a great way to encourage each other and it's been a wonderful experience watching them grow in confidence and commitment to Wachovia.

Thanks Kim for sharing your story of the difference Fred is making at Wachovia!

Here's another idea to recognize your 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.

Fred Stuff

Spread Fred with great Fred products from the Sanborn Store.

Bestselling The Fred Factor
Fred Training
Fred Certificate
The best selling book that started it all. MEM-Cards for Fred in a Flash. The best of Fred captured in a deck of 28 playing sized cards. The DVD Training Kit that will help you take your inner Fred to the next level with this self-guided course great for individuals or teams. 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 in the News and on the Web

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