For years, I have made apple pie for Thanksgiving with a recipe I have perfected. I like Granny Smith apples with lots of lemon, cream and cinnamon – light on the sugar. Every year it is different based on the sourness of the apples.

This year rather than buying the crust for the pie, I decided to make it myself. I’m not great at making crusts so I pored through recipes and picked out one that professed to be foolproof. I read all the comments to see if they agreed that the recipe was fool proof (me being the fool).

Monday passed, Tuesday passed, Wednesday passed. Hmm. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to attempt this. When my friend Pamela McGarvey arrived Thursday morning I casually asked if she was good at making pie crusts. She enthusiastically responded “yes!”

Oh good. She could supervise my efforts. With baking, the measurements have to be precise, so we weighed the ingredients to the gram. I was making a slab pie so I needed 1 1/2 times the recipe. When we rolled out the dough she edged me aside and took the process over. This is where I needed help. I suggested that she supervise my attempt so I could learn by doing. She laughed and handed me the rolling pin. The top crust did not roll out perfectly but she taught me how to fix it. Wonderful.

Here is the business comparison: in making an apple pie the crust must be precise. Exactness matters. How you roll it out matters. This is the execution side of business that must be precise and repeatable so you can make profit.

The filling is like the sales/growth side of the business. You must have a product or service that people want or delight in. Sometimes you have to throw in one more apple or a little more sugar to get the deal you want. While customization infuriates the execution team sometimes, it can be what makes your pie unique among all the holiday desserts.

It is possible to get better at both sides of the business if you work at it. So often, it is in identifying one bottleneck or pain point that gets in your way. This week ask yourself and your team members one pain point you/they would like to address. Ask someone with more skills in that area to help solve it. Aren’t we all in this together?

If you are not a subscriber to BIZPIE blog, you can subscribe here. If you want to learn more about Vistage, click here.