RSS Where’s the Beef?

How many of you remember the old Wendy’s commercial “Where’s the Beef?”? I remember enjoying the directness of Clara Peller, the feisty older woman who posed the now-famous question. I always laughed while watching these commercials, and they will forever be etched in my memory.

I bring this up because I have often wondered why some organizations, and certain individuals, are successful at differentiating themselves in the marketplace. Is it because they are smarter, more creative, more resourceful or simply luckier?  Maybe. It’s also possible that success is the result of a better, beefier product.

In the old Wendy’s commercial, they differentiated themselves with the quality of their product. They advertised a bigger and better burger to customers willing to pay a bit more, and they found a niche that made them a stronger player in the fast food business.

As leaders, we are expected to amass critical resources, organize them efficiently to fulfill organizational objectives, and deliver a competitively tangible outcome to all of our stakeholders: owners, employees, customers, vendors, and the communities we serve. To me, the real “beef” of an organization is defined by its ability to appropriately balance the needs of each of these stakeholders.

So what are the basic needs for each of these stakeholders?

  • Owners want a quality return on their investment that is sustainable over a long period of time.
  • Employees want the opportunity to perform challenging yet rewarding work in an environment that fosters individual and team achievement, while also encouraging professional growth.
  • Customers want to avail themselves of quality products and services, delivered on time and at fair prices.
  • Vendors hope to build long-term, hassle-free relationships that are mutually beneficial.
  • — Communities hope to benefit from strong philanthropic donations of both time and money in support of educational, social service and artistic excellence.

This is where the real “beef” resides, when an organization successfully fulfills the needs of all its stakeholders. Leaders must reinforce the concept that no one can win unless everyone wins. As a caveat, this does not mean that everyone must win equally – rather that none of the stakeholders should suffer more than the other.

So as you ponder the quality of the “beef” you and your organization provide, think in terms of winners and losers. Establish a goal to build winning relationships with each of your stakeholders. I think you just might be surprised by the results!

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One Response to “Where’s the Beef?”

  1. Christine Hames says:


    So nice to meet you at the EHSC breakfast this morning. As I said earlier, I truly enjoy reading your “musings” – thank you for inspiring the community in which we all serve!

    Best regards,
    Christine Hames

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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