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Changing How the World Does Business

Book Description

From humble beginnings, FedEx has literally revolutionized the way business is conducted. Not too long ago, overnight shipping was barely an option for even the largest companies. Today, thanks to FedEx, it's available to every living room start-up. With annual revenues of $30 billion, more than 250,000 employees, 600 aircraft, and 70,000 surface vehicles, FedEx handles nearly six million shipments a day in two hundred countries. FedEx has become a household name, and has been named one of the top ten of America's Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine.

But it wasn't always easy. From his inside vantage point as the company's first general manager and chief operating officer, Roger Frock reveals the remarkable details of how Fred Smith and his team endured their tumultuous early years—fraught with a seemingly unending series of legal, financial, and operational crises that continually threatened the company's ability to stay in business—and, in the end, created an entirely new industry.

Frock chronicles the dramatic last-minute saves and turnarounds the company engineered from its inception to the present. He entertains with stories of the trials and tribulations of the company's early struggles and victories—from Pilots using personal credit cards to fuel planes, to the courier who hocked his watch to put gas in his delivery van, and, one of the most memorable episodes, the time that founder Fred Smith literally gambled the company's last remaining funds to keep the planes flying.

Frock's story introduces all the players—FedEx's resourceful and resilient leaders and employees—and shows how these remarkable individuals gave Fred Smith's original concept wings and, through flexibility, creativity, and commitment, made a fledgling startup into one of the great success stories in modern business. Changing the Way the World Does Business is an inspirational tale for leaders and entrepreneurs everywhere.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Foreword
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Introduction: A Case History of Courage and Tenacity
  8. Part I: From Skepticism to Affirmation: Before May 1972
    1. 1. The Trail of Inspiration
    2. 2. Checking with the Experts
    3. 3. Feeling More Comfortable
    4. 4. This Dog Might Hunt!
    5. 5. An Irrational Decision
    6. 6. Kick the Tires, Light the Fires
  9. Part II: Naïve Optimism: May 1972 to March 1973
    1. 7. A Climate of Chaos
    2. 8. Looking for a Few Good People
    3. 9. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
    4. 10. The Humble House Gang
    5. 11. Good-bye, Little Rock—Hello, Memphis
    6. 12. The Company Lodestar
    7. 13. More Obstacles
  10. Part III: Within an Inch of Failure: March 1973 to May 1974
    1. 14. Let’s Call it a System Test!
    2. 15. The Marine Corps Boot Camp Mode
    3. 16. An Inauspicious Beginning
    4. 17. Rescue at the Edge of a Precipice
    5. 18. Light at the End of the Tunnel
    6. 19. A Little Help from Our Friends
    7. 20. Summoned to a Special Meeting
  11. Part IV: One for All and All for One: June 1974 to May 1978
    1. 21. A General in the Guerrilla Camp
    2. 22. Fund-Raising—Round Three
    3. 23. America, You’ve Got a New Airline
    4. 24. A Threatened Resignation
    5. 25. Three Division Offices
    6. 26. Just Step out of the Way
  12. Part V: Transformation and Separation: May 1978 to January 1982
    1. 27. From Caterpillar to Butterfly
    2. 28. Mach 1 to Idle
    3. 29. Concordes, Dirigibles, and Separation
  13. Part VI: A New Model for Success
    1. 30. People Are the Wind beneath Our Wings
    2. 31. Changing How the World Does Business
  14. Appendix: Time Line for the Startup, 1971 to 1982
  15. Index
  16. About the Author