Local educators say, ‘You can make a difference’

Kathryn SwanJ-C Correspondent
Local educators say, ‘You can make a difference’

Just when I thought the Pawhuska Business Development Center’s bi-monthly ‘Food for Thought’ series couldn’t get any better, I was proved wrong. I don’t know how they do it, but they manage to develop inspiring motivational programs that literally hold the audience spellbound.

The Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce and Osage Nation joined the PBDC in sponsoring the event which included a terrific lunch. Strategy Center Trainer Tara Gotwalt demonstrated how each of us has the ability to make a difference in our personal lives and work. Her illustrations were drawn from Mark Sanborn’s story of how mailman Fred’s passion for his work and life turned the ordinary into the extraordinary — “The Fred Factor.”

Gotwalt began by noting, “The Fred Factor has four strategic elements that can enable an individual to make their business, as well as their life, anything they choose it to be. First, there are no unimportant jobs, just people who feel unimportant doing their jobs.”

Next, she discussed the importance of relationships — how indifferent people deliver impersonal service and, more specifically, how the quality of the relationship determines the quality of the product of service.

“Creating value for others is free,” said Gotwalt. “The challenge is to out-think your competition, not outspend them. You can reinvent yourself regularly — nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional.”

In identifying three difference-making strategies, Gotwalt noted one must identify when to make a difference and then their audience. This could be customers, family, teammates, friends, neighbors or even strangers. The third and most important difference-making strategy is to be the difference.

“Success is built on relationships,” continued Gotwalt. “Freds don’t use people as a means to an end; they use relationships to build a foundation for success. Don’t use people to build a great business — use the business to build great people!

“The quality of a relationship is related directly to the amount of time invested in it. Make sure you give some of your best time to your relationships. Be real, be interested, be a listener, be empathetic, honest, helpful and prompt. When you don’t see much meaning in what you do, you won’t bring much value to what you do.”

A Fred will go above and beyond in all that he does. A Fred will take ordinary products or services and make them extraordinary. A Fred will create extra value by doing more than is necessary and exceeding expectations — most of the time for no extra pay.

Gotwalt challenged the audience to share the Fred factors by recognizing the Fred’s in their lives, acknowledging Fred’s for their contributions, and paying Fred back by ‘paying it forward’ and to fear nothing except to waste the moment.

In closing, she asked, “Whom do we most remember? We remember those who lived to serve others. We are most impressed and affected not by what people gain but by what they give; not by what they conquer but by what they contribute.

“How can you become a Fred? Do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason, the right way, with the right motive and Fred-like results will automatically follow!”

I can hardly wait to see what’s on tap for the Nov. 20 ‘Food for Thought’ series. To learn more about this professional development program and potential sponsorship, contact Cindy Helmer at chelmer@tctc.org or 918-287-3357.