The seventh book on your punch list is The Fred Factor. This book is designed to help you excel in your career and make your life extraordinary.


The Fred Factor entered the business world for a must-read by executives and those in managerial roles in the early 2000s. The book was based on a true story and presented a powerful, motivational message to help anyone “be more” in their lives. The simple story of the author’s postman, Fred, and the exceptional customer service the author experienced from how Fred lived his life and served in his capacity to deliver the mail inspired the book and a movement.


The book focuses on four principles to transform your life and be more like Fred, the Postman.


Fred chose to perform his job with the highest of standards, regardless of any obstacles. He provided service that was above and beyond, making people feel valued, respected, and cared about in a way that inspired them to excel in their daily grind.

From the book, “Ultimately, the more value you create for others, the more value will eventually flow towards you. Knowing you’ve done your best, independent of the support, acknowledgment or reward of others, is a key determinant in a fulfilling career.”


Fred took the time to truly get to know the people on his mail route. He learned their routines and preferences. He built personal relationships and provided customer service to go beyond simply delivering the mail.

From the book, “Leaders succeed when they recognize the human nature of their employees, technology succeeds when it recognizes the human nature of its users and Fred the Postman still succeeds because he recognizes the human nature of his work.”


Serving others, and thereby creating value for others, doesn’t have to cost anything. You can work with what you have to make the most of your position. Think creatively and be happy in your work and others will notice. Fred mastered the most important job skill in today’s workforce: the ability to create value for his customers and not spend more money to do it. 

From the book, “The faster you try to solve a problem with money, the less likely it is the best solution. Anyone can buy his or her way out of a problem with enough money. The challenge is to outthink, rather than to outspend, the competition.


If Fred could bring originality to his work, how can we reinvent our work to be extraordinary? We can make choices to do our jobs with passion. 

From the book, “No matter what job you hold, what industry you work in or where you live, every morning you wake up with a tabula rasa, a clean slate. You can make your business, as well as your life, anything you choose it to be.”


Chances are we know a “Fred” that has presented themselves with excellence, motivating us to do more and be more in our line of work. I think of the project managers on jobsites organizing and scheduling materials and people and leading by example to bring projects to completion. With a hard hat, clipboard, and steel-toed boots, they motivate today’s builds.

For More Information:

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service, and change. For more, visit

Modern Contractor Solutions, July 2023
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