Dan Barnett's BIO

A recognized expert on business, Barnett has appeared regularly on CNBC's "Squawk Box", Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal to speak on CEO confidence and leadership.  Named “U.S. Speaker of the Year” by TEC Canada, “Overseas Speaker of the Year” by TEC Australia, winner of Vistage International’s “Fast Track” award and recipient of the coveted “500 Club” award, Barnett is an internationally recognized consultant and speaker whose leadership concepts - “Make or Break Execution®: the core of success” and “Make or Break Culture: get extraordinary results from people” has helped thousands of companies throughout the world.

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Dan Barnett has headed companies for some of the world's leading corporations including Nestlé, Pillsbury, Weyerhaeuser, and Constellation Brands as well as running smaller private companies. He is currently the CEO and owner of The Primavera Company, a small real estate and natural gas company with operations in three states. Dan has a global consulting and speaking business and is Chair of two Vistage private advisory boards in Reno Nevada.

Barnett serves on four boards: TrendSource, a leader in business intelligence; Ziegenfelder Company, the maker of Twin Pops ice-pops; California Fruit Wine Company; and the DRI Foundation, a global leader in environmental research and part of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Dan earned his B.S. from the University of Nevada and his MBA from the University of Maryland.



Engage your audience in a stunning hands-on experience that delivers practical value participants can use right away. 

Dan’s Keynotes engage no matter what the size of the audience or the length of the talk. He speaks from real experience: gained from running highly successful companies, large and small, for many years.  He has presented his talk to over 10,000 CEO's, executives and business owners.





The best leaders have both a clear vision and an eye for the operating detail that will “Make or Break” their vision. The big struggle for most leaders is how to do both. How do you actively lead your organization to insure superb execution without being consumed by the details and the urgent "alligators" you face daily?  Make or Break Execution presents a highly effective approach for keeping your company’s performance on track to your vision. You learn how to focus your company on the things that matter most – your “Make or Break”.  And you learn how to be in the middle of it all - actively linking together people, strategy, and operating detail - doing the real job of an effective leader.


Dan delivers amazing value with street-proven tools gained from running highly successful companies, large and small, for many years.  His action oriented presentation includes hands-on participation to create a valuable learning experience.  Participants leave with clarity on their vision, their strategy and more importantly on what matters most to achieve it – their Make or Break.  They learn about Forward Facing Metrics, new processes for accountability and new ways to generate constant innovation and fresh thinking throughout their organization.  In other words, they leave with the “Core of Success”.

MAKE OR BREAK CULTURE - Get Extraordinary Results from People

People create your success.  The longer we lead an organization – the more we understand this at the gut level.  In this session Dan shows you how your culture is the key to attracting the right people, keeping the right people and getting your people to put their full talent, passion and energy into making your Vision happen.  You will learn what really drives your culture and how your culture can give you a competitive advantage.  The key is the way the human mind works.  Dan will take you on a fascinating journey into human behavior.  You will learn the way to get the behavior – the culture – you want in your company.


In this powerful session you will learn how to define your culture. You will learn how culture is not “soft” – it is about performance and is hard. You will learn how to use culture to attract the right people.  You will learn about behaviors, rituals and language as powerful tools to drive your culture. You will learn how to define your management philosophy to create consistency in your company.  In effect you will learn how to "Get Extraordinary Results from People".  This talk includes useful notes to create a valuable learning experience so everyone leaves with ready-to-implement ideas.

Strategic Planning

Dan's Strategic planning process is customized to deliver the outcome you want. The whole effort is designed to create alignment in organizations and to bring fresh thinking to you management approach.  Dan uses a unique approach that gets to decisions without creating "group think" - the downfall of many planning processes.  All participants will be fully engaged in an effort that taps into the "Super Intelligence" of the team.

In Dan’s planning process you and your team will learn to describe your organization’s future in a way that is clear and compelling to all. Often your culture will be addressed to be sure it is providing what your customers want. You will identify what matters most to achieving your vision – your Make or Break.  You will prioritize your strategies using quadrants that show the Impact and the Difficulty of each major strategy.  Your team will learn about Forward Facing Metrics and ways to hold people accountable for the results you want.  And your leadership will learn new ways to be in the middle of it all - actively linking together people, strategy, and operating detail - doing the real job of effective leaders.


Dan provides half day and full day workshops where participants go “in depth” into either "The Make or Break Execution" or "The Make or Break Culture" concepts.  Your team will leave with the ability to bring these concepts into the leadership of your organization. 


Dan provides personalized coaching for you.  Learn from someone who has been there and done that.  Dan has successfully run companies large and small in numerous industries for 25 years.  He knows how to listen and brings true coaching value to his clients.

Dan’s Reading List (60 books I love)

  • Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis
  • Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love by Dava Sobel
  • Mornings on Horseback: Story of an Extraordinary Family, Vanished Way of Life & the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt by David G. McCullough
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
  • The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder
  • Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose
  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 by William Manchester
  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940 by William Manchester
  • A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 (P.S.) by Simon Winchester John Adam
  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  • American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Cold Mountain: A Novel by Charles Frazier
  • Treasure Island (still a thrill to read even as an adult) by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
  • His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis
  • The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
  • Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure by Donald Kladstrup and Petie Kladstrup
  • Everyman byPhilip Rot
  • The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
  • Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by H.W. Brands
  • Vince: A Personal Biography of Vince Lombardi by Michael O'brien
  • The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future by Riane Eisler
  • American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham
  • Life by Keith Richards and James Foxhy
  • The Soccer War by Ryszard Kapuscinski
  • Grant and Twain: The Story of a Friendship That Changed America by Mark Perry
  • Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need by Dave Barry
  • Naked by David Sedaris
  • Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  • Swimming Across: A Memoir by Andrew S. Grove
  • Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson
  • The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
  • Treasure Island (read it as an adult: it is still awesome).
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham
  • Loving Frank: A Novel about Frank LLoyd Wright by Nancy Horan
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  • Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose
  • Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel
  • The Great Gatsby
  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
  • 1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered America by Gavin Menzies
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley and Ron Powers
  • Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869 by Stephen Ambrose
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest by Stephen Ambrose
  • Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition by Jared Diamond
  • Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth by Richard Fortey
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
  • The Burning Land (an idea of what it was like to live in the 800’ds in England) by Bernard Cornwell
  • Earth: An Intimate History by Richard Fortey
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - Lessons from the "old soul" of a dog
  • Empire of the Summer Moon: The Rise and Fall of the Comanches by SC Gwynne