The Five F’s

The Five F’s

Traveling around Europe on their train system is a great way to do some reflective thinking.  Each day we go to work.  Some days we may go through the motions of watching the clock. On other days we look at the clock and we wonder where the time went as our “to do list” went untouched all day.  There is only one long term differentiator in any business and that is the employees.  There is no way to put a fool proof formula together on why companies perform like they do, but I think the success of a company goes back to the 5 F’s.

Fast:  It’s not the big that eat the little, but the fast that beat the slow.  Quick delivery times, immediate quoting, fast product development time and time to market, quick service, instant response on the website and quick call-backs are all examples of the first F.  If we can improve and become quicker, we can win customers.  If we can be the fastest in the industry, we can be the market leader.  People just don’t like to wait!  Think of your own personal experiences — waiting on hold, waiting in line, waiting for a refund check.  Customers will naturally gravitate to suppliers that can do things quickly.

Flexible:  “Your price needs to be lower.”  “OK, but what if we could do this for you and hold the same price?”  Customers like suppliers that can be flexible.  This doesn’t always mean giving the customer exactly what they want, but it may mean doing things that our competition is unwilling or unable to do.  Modifying a standard product, enclosing an engineered drawing with a quote, helping out another department when they are overloaded, and understanding the other divisions which may not speak your language are all examples of the second F.  We must be flexible to new ideas in the work place.

Focus:  Don’t ask a cyclist to represent your team in a boxing match.  Lance Armstrong made a name for himself because he was entirely focused on what he needed to do.  He trained, analyzed, corrected, and trained some more until he became the absolute best.  He was completely focused.  In the work place we talk about different types of focus:  product focus, market focus, quality focus.  We need to stay focused on what we are good at and make sure we do not diversify too far. There is also the focus on your job.  Every person here is here for a reason.

Friendly:  We have all gone to the store or called a number where we needed assistance on something.  What do you think when the person is not friendly?  Do you think negatively about their company or their product?  Would you buy from them again?  We are being rated by our customers every day.  They have the choice to buy or not to buy from us. If we cannot be friendly they will eventually find someone who is.

Fun:  I’m not sure if this is the result of doing the other 4 F’s or a decision we make every day.  I start each day saying that I’m going to have fun at what I am doing.  Some days I am in the car for 8 hours and it can be a challenge to find fun. Unless you have the commitment to have fun, you may have a very boring day.  Fun to me some days may be simply getting a call back from a customer I have been trying to visit. You make a choice every morning to at least be open to having fun.  So, take it to the next level and say you will have fun.  Don’t let things stop you from having fun!

The 5 F’s are very contagious.  If a company lives the 5 F’s, the sky is the limit.  I’m sure we all have received compliments in the workplace for an activity we have performed.  Now, think back about one that you got and I would bet that it is probably because you either did something faster, were more flexible, more focused, more friendly, or just having fun doing your job! A couple of people in a company living the 5F’s can make a difference for an entire company; and if we all practice it….

This blog post was written by Scott Spangler, former Sales & Marketing Manager for the Duff-Norton Company.

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2 Replies to “The Five F’s”

  1. Jen, Thanks for your comment. We have all enjoyed Scott’s articles. Although he is no longer with our company, we continue to receive kind words regarding his posts.

  2. Scott, I always enjoy reading your articles. This one is no exception. Great tips for life and work. I especially like the “Focus “point. Just like in Malcolm Gladwell’s recommendation in Outliers–10,000 hours of focused practice leads to excellence.

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