I have been wanting to explore the idea of being a "Fred" on Fridays since I have read Mark Sanborn's book, The Fred Factor. I keep going back and reading this point:
SUBTRACT “bad stuff.” Solve a problem you didn’t create!This is big. What he's saying is even if it's not your problem (how many times do we think that...and even SAY that?!), make it your problem and solve it. WOW. Talk about going above and beyond.
I want to share my own recent Fred experience. A few months ago my family and closest friends were in Dallas for the finalization of my second son's adoption. This is a huge day for our family and with both of our sons we invited dozens of people to join us at the courthouse and afterwards for a celebration. When we arrived at the designated hotel - where EVERYONE was staying - we found that the hotel was under construction. Like REALLY under construction. Like no parking lot and no lobby. I. Was. Fuming. No indication online. No indication when I blocked half a dozen rooms. ANGER.
For those of you who don't know me, I am a Type A personality. Perfectionist. Planner. This makes me very efficient, but not very flexible. It is my best and worst quality all at the same time.
Nearly in tears, I start explaining to the manager (who is just filling in, by the way!) my problem. I am not being very reasonable. I can admit that now. I was probably not even be very nice. He, on the other hand, was amazing. He never lost his cool (even though I was totally losing it!) and he just set out to solve the problem. Over 30 minutes later, he had reduced our already low group room rate and given away all three available "presidential suites" to our party. He just kept asking me, "What can I do to make this better?" I wish I had gotten his name. I wish I had hugged him. I wish I knew at the time that he was a "Fred."
As you deal with teachers, students, parents, administrators, instructional assistants, etc. this year. Please remember my story. Instead of thinking (or even saying!) "That's not my problem." Try saying instead, "What can I do to make this better?" Try solving a problem you didn't create. I think you'll find it's well worth the little extra time and personal investment.