By Mark Bartz
I just finished reading a small and excellent book, The Fred Factor, by Mark Sanborn. A good book and here’s why. The premise of the book is that there are several things we can all do which cost us neither money nor much time, and that these little things result in us standing out from our peers. What are those things which you can do today? Make a list and it may surprise you. The goal? On one level it’s altruistic; this is how we better serve others in our lives – colleagues, customers, family. On another level the book makes a subtle but brilliant point: all these little things you do add up to great success for you in your career. Segue now to the “mother” theme. It seems everyone these days is seeking a “silver bullet” in their careers: something new.
The Fred Factor seems to disappoint on that level – it seems at first glance to offer nothing new. In fact, if I were to summarize this book I would say this is all the wisdom our mothers taught us – but which we simply ignored or forgot. Yet the wisdom our mothers taught us is of great value – albeit not particularly “new.” I listen to national training programs. I read the latest “How-To” books on career development. No small epiphany here – these books and seminars are not really teaching us much that is “new”; these sources are actually re-stating what our mothers told us years ago. Want proof? The following is word-for-word from national figures – authors and a translation into “mom-speak”.
“Wisely consider all strategies.” Translation: look both ways before you cross the road. Ready for more? “Effectively leverage your corporate resources and talents – let nothing go to waste.” Translation: Clean your plate. There are children starving in Africa. “Lead by consensus.” Translation: There are two sides to every story. “Corporate vision is critical.” Translation: Things aren’t always what they seem to be. “We face new opportunities – and new challenges.” Translation: the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but you still have to mow the lawn. “Be innovative and unique.” Translation: If your friends all jumped off a pier…would you follow right behind them? “Look to the future – learn from previous corporate mistakes.” Translation: “I’ll give you something to cry about.”
I suggest we skip a few seminars and just take our mothers to lunch. We’ll save a lot of money, we’ll get just as much wisdom from our mothers, and she will appreciate the time we spend with her. Seriously, get off the computer and go call your mother – when’s the last time you took your mother to lunch?? Perhaps if she charged us huge fees for her words of wisdom we might listen to her more often?