The Fred Factor Ezine: Difference Makers
Harness your passion to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary...
Volume 1, Issue 4 :: July 2006
In this issue...
Thank you!
Article: Don't Just Take Action
Fred @ Work
Fred Nomination
Fred Stuff
Fred News

Dear Friend of Fred:

Readership of the Fred Factor ezine continues to grow and we couldn't be more pleased. You can help keep the momentum going. If you have a friend, colleague or acquaintance that would enjoy this newsletter, you can help us Spread Fred by using the Spread Fred Forward to a Friend link at the end of this issue. They won't be subscribed unless they choose to subscribe - we never see their email addresses.

And remember, we want to know about the Freds you encounter and the Fred-like behavior you demonstrate to those around you (Don't worry, it's not bragging, we asked!). Use the Fred Nomination form on our Fredsite or simply email us at
"I love your newsletter! ... We all aspire to be a Fred here!"

We aspire to be Fred and share Freds through this periodic ezine. The mission of this newsletter is to build on the four principles of The Fred Factor by sharing ideas, techniques and stories that will assist you in making a positive difference in the lives of those you live and work with.

If you, like me, have been frustrated by less than Fred-like service, then you'll empathize with the incident I relate in this month's feature article, Don't Just Take Action . The point I try to make is that Fred's don't just take action, they take responsiblity.

Please help yourself to the bonus material provided through this ezine and stop by the Sanborn Store for Fred supplies.

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,


Don't Just Take Action

There is something much more important than taking action.

I recently had a troubling experience with a software provider. After downloading their software online, the install turned disastrous. While the direct cost of the software was small, the indirect cost of my time and frustration was huge. The final solution was to engage my technology consultant and pay him several times in hourly fees what the software cost.

The lesson in my experience comes from the numerous customer service representatives I dealt with in the process. By my count I either spoke with or emailed no fewer than seven different reps. They all took action: while their response time was often slow, I eventually got an email or call with suggestions to correct my problems.

In some instances, I got the same emails and similar phone calls. It was obvious that I was getting the standard responses. Unfortunately I didn’t have a standard problem.

The employees of this company all took action; none of them took responsibility. Although I was the customer, I ended up with the responsibility of solving the problem their company created. Not good, and definitely not Fred-like.

Freds take responsibility. They know that you can hide behind actions. “I sent him suggestions!” or “I called him back” are reasonable actions but in this case they didn’t lead to any solutions.

I have a long memory and I will be very cautious about doing business with this particular company again. Ironically, I got several computer generated emails asking me to assess my experience and provide feedback. My negative assessment and specific comments went unanswered. Taking action had been given to the auto responder, but the auto responder was incapable of taking responsibility.

It would have been refreshing if, at some point in the process, a representative had said, “Mr. Sanborn, I know you're frustrated and the solutions that normally work aren’t working. You don’t need to call or email anyone else. I will personally research the situation and make sure the problem is resolved to your satisfaction.” Having said those words, or something like that, and then following up to make good on the commitment would have signaled that I was working with a Fred. And it would have recaptured my loyalty and commitment.

It didn't end up that way. Just as Freds build loyalty, Derfs(1) destroy it. Derfs need to learn that taking action isn’t enough; to be a Fred, you’ve got to take responsibility.

(1) A Derf - the opposite of a Fred.

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

Fred @ Work
My Father, 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!

July 17, 2006

Dear Mark,

I just finished reading my copy of The Fred Factor. It was a gift from my sister for Fathers Day. Yes, a Fathers Day gift from my sister. Not only did I receive one, but also my mother and 3 other siblings.

I know it is not usual for someone other than a father to receive such a gift on the occasion, but there was a special reason for her thoughtfulness. Our father was a Fred, not only in the sense of the Fred Factor, but his name was Fred too!!! He passed away December 14, 2001, but had retired several years before from a company he had dedicated over 35 years to.

He was always one to be up at the crack of dawn, he always said to us kids when we were teenagers (who liked to sleep until it was noon) the morning was the best part of the day. He liked to leave early for work so he could make his morning stop at the gas station to get the newspaper for the guys at work, so they could all get the paper read before their shift was to start and he would also have coffee waiting for them.

After he retired he took a part time job at an auto parts store. Again, he was up at the crack of dawn so he could get to the store before the delivery truck would come in the morning. We told him he probably worried more about getting to the store early than the guy who actually owned it.

The saying go the extra mile pertained to my dad too. He volunteered to run auto parts all over the county to different companies, using his own car, and I am not so sure, possibly his own gas. Whenever we would say something to the effect about the wear and tear on his vehicle, or the gas expense he would always say, oh, its no big deal. We also knew it was his way of keeping in touch with old buddies, my dad never meant a stranger.

I enjoyed reading the book The Fred Factor, not only in memory of my dad, but also as a lesson to myself to strive to do my job better as a Special Needs Preschool Assistant.


Denise Russell

Here's an 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 News

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