Make or Break Execution: The Core of Success by Dan Barnett

Dan flew in from Lake Tahoe for 5 Vistage workshops to over 100 Vistage members and guests in 3 days. His goal for the week was to raise the level of play with discussions around one’s “make or break” activity needed for you as a leader to become happy with your teams results. He reinforced the importance of forward facing dashboards focused on measurable activity. Tracking and holding individuals accountable to delivering their promise. “Can I count on you” comes to mine, a take-away from author and Vistage Speaker Bob Prosen’s workshop “The Five Attributes of Highly Successful Companies”.

With over 30 years leading successful companies, Dan shared his core beliefs and “Best of Best” leadership traits.
1. Having the courage to fail, we all have to chose between doing something “about right” now vs. waiting for “just right” later. Do you have clear direction?
2. Integrity builds trust and you need trust to have your employees follow you.
3. 1st things first and 2nd things never is a powerful daily affirmation for us all to remember. Who’s job am I doing is always my concern for business executives.
4. Focusing on commitment vs. agreement , agreement will slow you down.
5. Size doesn’t matter, yet execution and accountability does matter.
6. Jim Collins book “Good To Great” and his Level 5 leadership, being or becoming a servant leader is critical to one’s success.

One of Barnett’s IMPORTANT questions – are you moving toward your vision at the pace you want?
• If no – look for your #1 weakness and fix it
• If yes – look for your #1 strength and focus on it
Having a crystal clear vision and getting others to see your rightness is essential. Getting others to want to be part of the solution is critical. Spending time on what matters most to your employees and to your clients and customers will drive extraordinary results.

Dan shared poor execution will eat good strategy for lunch every day. Creating and understanding your value chain is critical to meeting and exceeding your top line and profit goals. Dan shared “…know what needs to be done with head in and arms out involvement” with your key direct reports and enable them to own the results so measure their activity. Weekly report out 30 minute meetings sends the message this is important and we will measure activity.

In closing, this is my/our vision “____________”and this is my/our “make or break” “______________” with less is more as your baseline.


Published by edstillman

I grew up in Carlsbad, north San Diego County, lost my dad as a teenager, went into the USAF for four years and hired on with 3M in 1969. Received my AA from Santa Barbara City College, BA and Masters from Redlands University and after 33 plus years, I retired from 3M in 2002. As I look back on my life, I have been creating myself and developing my skill sets to be a business coach and a Vistage Chair. I am president of SEOT, a "personal improvement" consulting firm spending most of my time working with Central Texas executives running small to medium size for-profit companies who are focusing on improving their profitability greater than their competition. My area of interest is assisting senior executives in creating a better balance between business commitments and personal relationships. I also facilatate three leadership labs each consisting of a dozen owners, presidents and CEOs. We meet monthly both in a group setting as well as in a 1-to-1 coaching session. Our focus is to sharpen each others' skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions and taking ourselves and companies to that next level. Who are we? My members are experienced top executives who recognize that they don’t have all the answers and who actively seek the company of successful peers—both to give and receive insights and ideas. My members mine the 200 plus years of chief executive experience that comes together in our monthly meetings and members are eager to offer their own experience and insights in the process. As a group, we spend our time exploring topics members can't discuss anywhere else. My members have many other places where they can engage in idle, "cocktail party" chatter. Our mission is to provide the setting for discussing the "undiscussable." Where or who can you go to for confidential, honest feedback to assist you in minimizing your personal "Worry List"?