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Expecting the Best: You Get What You Expect to Get

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About forty years ago, before anyone had heard or even contemplated the term, “FedEx”, Federal Express marketing guru, Vince Fagan worked with the company’s ad agency to create one of the most effective brand tag-line’s in history:  Absolutely, positively, overnight. In just 3 words, they focused like a laser on the very essence of what the young, startup company meant to convey to the world:  Speed, reliability, and Commitment with a capital “C”. This tagline was used successfully in a series of hilarious commercials that brought the firm out of the shadows, and created a new term and an idea: FedEx.

What they didn’t envision was the impact that having those 3 words plastered on television screens everywhere would have internally on the purple-clad FedEx workforce. You see, what people inside the company knew was that our still meager assets and operating systems were capable of doing the overnight thing usually, but with seemingly uncontrollable factors like weather, mechanical breakdown, and shipping capacity, the Absolutely, Positively part was a real push.

But we heard that same expression used so much, not just in the ads, but coming from the mouth of FedEx founder, Fred Smith, that for us, this became the standard that we held ourselves to. Speaking from personal experience, it was very powerful motivation.

So, what we’re encouraging… No, imploring you to do is to strongly consider, and then set some Absolutely, Positively, Overnight-like targets for your organization, whether it’s a mom and pop operation, or a much larger corporation. You never know what people can do until you challenge them to be their very best.  Try it… I think you’ll like the results. If you would like some help in this effort, we'd love to hear from you.

Bill Catlette

Bill Catlette, @ContentedCows is an executive coach and business author who helps clients build lasting competitive edge by eliminating blind-spots and improving leadership habits.

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