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Double Your Profits in Two Years or Less

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The sun is showering energy on the earth every moment but only photosynthetic plants, hothouses, solar cells and sunbathers put it to direct productive use. Most of the rest goes to warm the atmosphere and oceans to make life generally livable on earth. Energy becomes productive only when it is focused and directed toward conscious goals, like the focusing of light by a solar collector or a high energy laser beam. When energy is focused and directed, it is converted into Force. Companies convert energy into Force by setting high goals and standards of performance, developing strategic plans, and committing to high corporate and business values.

Fred Smith, the founder CEO of FedEx, is a student of history who spent many years studying the success of high achieving individuals and companies. When we interviewed him in 1989, he described the process by which he constantly seeks to raise the energy level and intensity of focus in his company. The previous year FedEx had a 95% on-time delivery record in the USA, when the next best competitor was at 88%. Unsatisfied, he set a goal of raising it to 96% in one year and the management team staked their personal bonuses on achieving it. When asked why he was so insistent on raising the bar when he already out-distanced the competition, he replied, “We presently ship a million parcels a day in the USA. Five percent late delivery means we have 100,000 unhappy customers daily – 50,000 who are disappointed that the parcels they shipped are delayed and 50,000 who do not receive them on time. Which company can thrive by creating 100,000 unhappy customers every day? Today FedEx delivers eleven million packages every business day and receives 50 million package tracking requests daily around the world, so obviously they have been doing something right. Commitment to achieving the highest possible standard of on-time delivery is one of the ways FedEx focuses corporate energy for high growth and profitability. But that is not all. Smith also told us about the company’s ten-year strategic initiative called Butterfly 2000. His goal was to expand outside the US market to make FedEx the largest express transportation company in the world by year 2000. And they made it on schedule. Today FedEx Express operates the world’s largest airline in terms of tons of freight delivered to more than 375 destinations worldwide.

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