I’ll never forget the day I had lunch with a business associate who I respect immensely, not only for his knowledge and experience, but more importantly, because of the person that he is and the values that he portrays. During our time together, he turned to me and asked a question that I’d never heard before: Does Famous have a make or break? I asked him exactly what he meant by that. He went on to say that a couple years ago he attended a meeting with a speaker who was making a presentation and was incredibly passionate about this make or break subject. He said that every company has to figure out the one thing that is their absolute make or break. This means that if a company had to choose just one thing, and only one thing, to do extraordinarily well, and that if they did it well all the time, this would truly make the biggest difference in their success. Conversely, if they didn’t do this one thing well, it would hurt their company tremendously, and could even break their company. He suggested that I really think about what our make or break is for Famous.
I spent the next couple of months talking to management and associates around the company, and there was a common theme that kept rising to the top. Time and time again, dozens and dozens of people were talking about execution. In fact, Del Landin helped coin the phrase, The Perfect Order during these initial strategic discussions. We eventually expanded it and further defined our #1 make or break as Execute The Perfect Order From Start To Finish. This sentence embodies not only who we want to be as a company, but more importantly, what our internal and external customers need and require from us every moment of every day. If Famous is going to achieve our vision, which is to become A Great Company, we must master the execution of the perfect order. For us to deliver on this promise with every order that we touch and support, we all need to take personal pride and responsibility to ensure that we do everything in our power to strive for perfection 100% of the time. Here is another way to think about execution. If you are not the best at it individually, or we are not the best at it collectively, then someone else, meaning one of our competitors, is. Therefore, to ensure that Famous is the best at execution; we must all eat and breathe our #1 Make or Break to achieve our goals. I am confident that each of you will work hard to make this fundamental a priority not only in every situation each day, but over your entire career.
And lastly, it is so important that we figure out and continue to fine tune how we accurately measure this make or break. We must measure what’s important, not what’s easy. Here’s an interesting example to ponder. Years ago, I read a statistic that showed FedEx had a goal of 100% accuracy, and their average performance each day was 99.99937%. However, since they ship so many packages daily, they actually made 10,842 shipping errors per day. So was it better to have a goal of 100% accuracy or a goal of zero mistakes? In our customers’ minds, do they care more about our accuracy percentage or how many mistakes applied directly to them? Sometimes we can over complicate our business. We need to simplify it. Our customers want to know, do we have it (inventory accuracy), how much is it (accurate pricing), and when can I get it (accurate delivery times / damage free) every time. I am confident that we will continue to strive for perfection as a company and build on our continuous improvement mindset when it comes to execution.