Do You Know Your Company’s “Make or Break”

Dan Barnett, former COO of ┬áVistage International and former CEO of Van de Kamps Seafood is one of Vistage International’s most sought after resource speakers. Some time ago Dan spoke to our local Vistage CEO group on his topic of Make or Break Execution. Simply put Make or Break asks, “What is the ONE THING that you or your business needs to do to deliver on your vision?” In particular, what is that one thing your business must do that matters most to your customers. Perhaps more specifically, what’s the one thing your business must do better than your competition?

At Van de Kamps Dan discovered to his surprise that the one thing that customers valued above all when they chose their provider of frozen seafood was freshness. That’s right, freshness. In response, Van de Kamps launched an advertising campaign to educate customers about the actual freshness of frozen-at-sea products vs. products bought fresh (or at least never frozen).

Once they understood the customer preference their first step was to purchase all available capacity in the factory trawler fleet. This approach helped Dan take Van de Kamps from number three to number one, a change worth, as you would expect, millions of dollars. And it was a market position that endured.

As COO at Vistage, tasked with increasing membership, Dan came to understand the Make or Break was finding and retaining great group chairs. Put simply, great chairs attract and retain great members.

At the recent All Things Digital Conference, Apple CEO ┬áTim Cook was asked about the potential for Apple’s growth. In particular, the interviewer wanted to know if the growth could continue at the current rate, and if Apple could someday become the first trillion dollar company. His response was perfectly aligned with Apple’s historic approach and with Dan Barnett’s Make or Break. Cook said, “We will continue to make great products and the rest will take care of itself.”

So what is your company’s Make or Break?

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