The book, The Fred Factor was written from the first person perspective by author Mark Sanborn. In his book, Sanborn shares his experience in getting to know and receiving amazing customer service from his mail carrier, Fred Shea. Sanburn shares numerous times his surprise at the level of positivity and care that his mailman Fred delivers without expecting anything in return as well as the life-lessons that can be learned by knowing and being a “Fred”.
In the book Sanburn describes a “Fred” as someone who aims to provide excellence and quality to those that he serves. One principle presented in the book is the idea that, everyone makes a difference no matter how insignificant their role and that we choose how we can make a difference.
By working to build relationships with his customers Fred is able to show that he cares about others and wants to help meet their needs. By following through and creating value for others he becomes indispensable and worthy of his pay and the respect of others. Sanborn shares that another way people can become Fred-like is by reinventing themselves and realizing that they get to decide how they will live and present themselves each day.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Fred Factor. It was a short and easy to read book that really made an impact and helped me to consider what I can do to become as marketable and skilled as possible in my position so that it would be very difficult for an employer to decide to eliminate or change my role within the building. I enjoyed reading how Fred helped his “clients” in his community not only because he wanted to be of service to them individually but because it helped to improve the community as a whole and because he was intrinsically motivated to help others. By being a positive and caring person, Fred had the opportunity to build relationship with those he served, which to him was his reward.
One of my favorite parts of the book was the section on “Fred Sightings” because it helped me to vicariously experience the wonderful customer service that Sanborn had received from extraordinary people. I thought that it was very kind that the lady in housekeeping personally laundered his coffee stained jeans and how the bar tender offered to lend him money for his cab fare without question and I thought to myself, if someone earning a minimal wage can go out of their way to help someone they barely know, there are certainly more things that I can do in my life to help those around me!
I also found value in the section about becoming like Fred and considered how awesome a place the world would be if we all tried to be more contentious of the needs of our neighbors and aware of how doing little things can really improve someone’s day.
I agree with Sanborn that we do crave significance in our lives and we want to be valued and respected. It’s amazing to consider that we can choose how to work each day and we can choose how we interact with others and the impact we have in the lives of others, no matter how insignificant our job title.
There is a sort of reciprocity that goes along with this message. If you are caring and kind to others, you will feel good about your role within the organization and will be fulfilled in knowing that you made a difference in the world. People who are kind and helpful to others are then valued by their customers and peers.
Since reading this book I have been looking for and identifying Freds each day. They are everywhere and include our awesome day-care manager, a lady who was never able to have her own children, but is “Grammy” to the “grandchildren” under her care and who has been a wonderful caregiver and friend over the past nine years; the school bus driver who compliments me on my outfits and provides words of encouragement as he passes me outside school each morning; and the lady who puts our children on the bus each day and spends her extra money on birthday and holiday treats for them just so that they know how much she cares.
It is amazing how many wonderful people you notice if you start looking. They are usually smiling and helpful and they enjoy the interactions they have with others. If more organizations looked for the qualities of people like Fred they would certainly become more popular and successful with their clients. People want to do business and work for people who care about them and want to provide them with personalized customer service, rather than negative people who undervalue themselves and underserve others.
Although my life is very busy with four little ones at home and working full time, I have tried my best to be a Fred by connecting more with the kids in the halls, and doing my best to be helpful and caring to the parents I meet. If we all tried our best to be like Fred the world would be a better place!
As a teacher I can look to the way I teach my lessons and interact with my peers to provide as personalized and quality of an education as possible for my students. By taking the time to get to know my students, asking them questions, and learning about where they excel and struggle as learners and meeting them with structured supports to meet their needs, my students, their parents, and my administrators will acknowledge that I am one of the best in the business and worth the effort to support and encourage.
As I consider my role as a principal in the future, having read this book and having had a chance to consider the qualities that made Fred a respected and valued leader in his community will remind me to lead with care, compassion, and respect and to provide the services needed by the students, teachers, parents, and community within the school family.
By taking the time to communicate and check in with those who contribute to the school I will be modeling what it takes to be successful in working with others and hopefully those that I lead will begin to model Fred-like behaviors within their classrooms, families, and businesses so that the entire community becomes a more positive place to live and work and so that the children with whom we interact will grow up knowing the skills necessary to live their best possible lives.
Hi, I’m Kate! I’m a mother to four young children. I work full time as a teacher and gifted coordinator in a wonderful middle school in western Pennsylvania.
I graduated from Thiel College in 2003 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Elementary Education and Spanish (K-12 Education). I earned my Masters in Education with Specialization in Reading from Edinboro University in 2006, and I have been working on my Principalship and a second Masters Degree in Educational Leadership since 2009.
I have been teaching for fifteen years and am passionate about encouraging other teachers to have a healthy work-life balance, while continuing to lead and learn in their own families, school buildings, and communities.
In my free time I enjoy dancing in the living room with my babies, bargain shopping, running, photography, learning to blog, watching movies, spending time with my family, and eating gummy candies and Reese Cups while drinking Dr. Pepper.
I look forward to sharing what I have learned in the many graduate courses I have taken over the years, as well as practical advice, tips, and tricks for a healthy work-life balance. Most importantly, I am excited to learn from your experiences inside and out of the classroom!