What Can Creativity Do…?
FedEx is well known for it’s creativity and a variety of “industry firsts”….and many employees under estimate their ability to truly make a difference, think outside the box, and make an everlasting impact.
A few years ago I was challenged with a project, and that was to find a way to increase our customer drop off points. One idea was to create a “slot” on the side of our FedEx vehicles where customers in major markets could drop off their overnight letters or courier pak envelopes in any of the literally hundreds of FedEx vehicles.
The idea seemed simple, but pulling it off and obtaining the support and buy in of all the various internal departments was the biggest challenge. The concept needed the approval of Corporate Marketing, Legal, Brand Identity, Security, Safety, Express Operations, Vehicle Maintenance, Training, and Risk Management just to name a few.
While it would have been so easy for any of these organizations to say no, or it’s not a priority, the can do and get it done attitude of every individual in these departments allowed me to find common ground, develope a plan and move forward.
The idea eventually came to fruitition and now many Express vehicles in major markets have the “FedEx Drop Slot” as a result of the many supporting efforts of the departments mentioned above.
Well what can creativity do….? Simple, in addition to being able to add another first for FedEx, or the good feeling you get from “making a difference” there was another benefit I under estimated, and that was the impact “outside” our company.
On a recent sales call with one of our largest Express customers who was looking for unique differences among the carriers, they stated that “creativity” and the ability to think outside the box and get things done was of great importance to them. Today with many of our services being viewed as “generic” by some customers, finding ways to differentiate ourselves is key.
I relayed the story to the customer about how the Drop Slot project came about, and the support and “can do attitude” of our employees who went above and beyond to “think outside the box”, challenge what was considered standard operating procedure and make it happen. The customer then truly realized the “difference” between FedEx and any of our competitors. The customer was impressed on how FedEx “Corporation” supported their employees, “empowered” them to go above and beyond, be creative and “make a difference”, they saw it was our “Culture”, People First Philosophy and just one of the many things FedEx does on a daily basis that so many others take for granted.
I can only imagine the global impact to our company should employees around the world tap in to their creativity and find ways to improve what we do. In Japan it is referred to as “Kaizen”, a philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life.
Imagine the possibilites that await us knowing we work for a company that allows and fosters creativity within. Knowing that all levels of management support the employees in this endevour is rare in today’s business environment. The internal or external impact can be unlimited and the opportunity is there for each of us as employees, to be “Creative, think outside the box and find ways to make a difference”.