The Fred Factor
A while ago we started a book club at Lemonade Stand. This is a completely voluntary program that our team members can be a part of if they wish. We try, on average, to read about one book per month, and then we will have someone teach us about that book and how it can help us all to improve. We purchase the books for our team in whatever format they prefer, and then we all read on our own time. It has been amazing and the results speak for themselves.
The idea of this is that we are all constantly learning and growing together – reaching for new heights in our own personal growth and development. We have read some pretty cool books, and I am going to start sharing what we have learned with all of you so that you can also benefit from this awesome book club!
The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn was the first book that we all read together as a company. What a book to start out with! If you have not read through this one before, I highly, highly recommend that you do at some point in your life (probably should today though). It is not a terribly long read, and it is so well written and engaging that you will get through it very quickly I’m sure. You can nab yourself a reasonably priced copy on Amazon here.
Ok so “Fred Factor is so great… go buy it.. It’s amazing…” blah blah blah – what did we actually learn from it? Soooooo much! Let’s dive in!
Who is Fred?
The book begins with a story about a postman. This postman is named Fred. Fred is a pretty incredible person. He has what one would consider to be one of the most mundane jobs ever; however, Fred goes above and beyond in every single aspect of his job and makes it one of the most exciting jobs around and finds a way to serve and help others beyond what you would think possible as a simple postman. He is happy and excited about his work and the things that he gets to do for people.
Fred is always looking for ways to improve and to be the very best that he can possibly be. The rest of the book covers what makes Fred different from other people and how we can all strive to be a little bit more like him in our daily lives.
The four principles of Fred. These are concepts or ideas that we have to accept and believe in if we want to become a Fred.
Principle I – Everyone Makes a Difference
Principle II – Success is Built on Relationships
Principle III – You Must Continually Create for Others, and it Doesn’t Have to Cost a Penny
Principle IV – You can Reinvent Yourself Regularly
I think that these principles are fairly self explanatory, and I don’t want to spoil the entirety of Mark’s book, so I will leave them at that, but Mark breaks these down and explains them very thoroughly, so if you want more detail on them, you’ll have to read the book!
There are three strategies that are discussed, and these go a little bit beyond the principles. Like I said, the principles are ideas that we need to accept, but the strategies are actionable items that we can start applying immediately.
Strategy I – Identify When You’ll Make a Difference: Being a Fred can literally apply in every single facet of your life, so this is a very key step. We can’t tackle every area all at once, but we can do them one at a time. You can be a Fred at home, work, school, on sports teams, in your religious community, etc. Pinpointing exactly where you want to start will allow you to have success in that area and will then push you to want to apply this in other areas as well.
Strategy II – Target the People to Whom You’ll Make a Difference: The next step is specifying to whom you would like to be more Fred-like towards. Let’s take work for example. If I chose work as my when, what does that actually mean? If I work for a large company, that could potentially be hundreds of thousands of people who I am now trying to make a difference for. That can be very overwhelming. Maybe you just start with your team members or a few close coworkers or mentors. This is completely up to you, but being specific will really help in your journey to be a Fred!
Strategy III – Be the Difference: The final strategy is to just go out and be the difference for that person. Figure out when, where, and who and then go act. Do something different for that person (or people) to make their lives better. Make their jobs easier. Do whatever it takes to make a true difference in their lives.
The Seven B’s of Relationship Building
If you look back at Principle II, you will see that success is built on relationships. We can’t get very far in this life without other people being right there with us. So, how do we build those relationships on which we can build success? The Fred Factor details seven B’s that will help us to do just that.
- Be real
- Be interested (not just interesting)
- Be a better listener
- Be empathic
- Be honest
- Be helpful
- Be prompt
Again, if I go into each one of these, you’ll be reading another few hundred pages of a book, so I will leave them as they are, but if you apply each of these concepts to the relationships that you are in now and to all new relationships, you will see more and more success come out of that relationship and you will have a better and more meaningful bond with that human being. Pretty cool stuff!
Developing Other Freds
The final point that I want to touch on is how to help other people become more like Fred themselves. Once you have turned yourself into a Fred, you will probably have a pretty strong desire for everyone around you to be more like Fred as well. He’s an awesome guy! Mark gives us four helpful tips for this in the aptly named acronym F.R.E.D.
F – Find: Find the people who want to help become more like Fred and those who are ready to accept and change some of the things about themselves. Not everyone out there is in the right spot in life to try to be more like Fred, and that is totally fine. Seek out the people who are looking to make that change and then help them on the path.
R – Reward: As humans, we like to know that when we are working towards something, there will be some kind of reward or incentive for us. This one applies a little bit more specifically to a work environment, but if you want your team members to be more like Fred, then offer cool rewards or prizes when they go above and beyond for another team member or a client. Build out a program where people can be recognized for being the most like Fred. That kind of stuff!
E – Educate: Teach people how to be like Fred. You can’t really just walk up to someone and tell them that they should join you in trying to be more like Fred. They would have absolutely no idea who that is or why they should try to be like that person. You need to educate them on what this means and why it will benefit them in the long run of life.
D – Demonstrate: Finally, if you really want people to improve themselves, demonstrate to them what it looks like to be a Fred. Serve them. Go out of your way to bless their life, and they will naturally start wanting to do the same thing for you and for other people that surround them. This is probably the best way to get more and more people involved in this. Be a Fred!
Go do it!
The final step is to just go out and be a Fred!
There is so much more in the actual book that I wasn’t able to get to here, so I would definitely recommend reading it for yourself, but I hope that this gives you a little taste of some of the wisdom that you will find while reading and makes you want to read more.
This is a really great book to start on and will seriously help you in so many ways as you strive to develop yourself into the best possible person that you can be!
I will be adding more to this “book club” collection of articles, so make sure to check out that section of our blog here as well as this one here for my own take on how to better ourselves as people!
Mark was also kind enough to take some time to be a guest on our very own Lemonade Stand Stories podcast. He shared some INCREDIBLE bits of wisdom that he has picked up over the years. We are very appreciative of him for doing that, and hopefully you can find some useful info in it!