The Wal-Mart Way

The inside Story of the Success of the World’s Largest Company

by Don Soderquist

Number of pages: 210

Publisher: Nelson Business

BBB Library: Corporate Success, Operations Management

ISBN: 9780785261193

About the Author

Don Soderquist joined Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., in 1980 where he served as executive vice president, vice chairman and chief operating officer, and finally senior vice chairman. Don received his B.A. degree in Business Administration from Wheaton College in Illinois. In 1996 Don was inducted into the Retailing Hall of Fame, and in 1998, John Brown University created the Soderquist Center for Business Leadership and Ethics in his honor.


Editorial Review

The Wal-Mart story is full of simple, but important truths. It's a story that has mystified some, frustrated others, and been admired by many. It's a story about principled, focused leadership that has been able to effectively and consistently balance values and the bottom line in a way that has seldom occurred. It's a story about the power of a free-enterprise system and how that system is the engine that drives democracy. It's a story about trust, the basis of all successful relationships. It's a story about a special man, a special group of people, and a special organization. It's a story that has positive applications for millions of people and organizations.

Book Reviews

"InThe Wal-Mart Way: The Inside Story of the Success of the World’s Largest Company, former Wal-Mart Vice-Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Don Soderquist offers his unique insight on the 12 main principles handed down by the late Walton patriarch that have led to his brainchild s seemingly unstoppable growth. Using examples taken directly from his tenure working alongside of Walton, Soderquist looks to inspire leaders of all retail companies, from managers of local grocery stores to top executives at multi-national corporations. Mixing in some of the more unique aspects of Wal-Mart s business model with the more tried and true standards of corporate management, THE WAL-MART WAY is a guide that will become the instant standard for building a strong, successful organization, while maintaining high ethical standards."

"And in this book, The Wal-Mart Way: The Inside Story Of The Success Of The World’s Largest Company, Don Soderquist unveils the actual principles and strategies that took Wal-Mart farther from being the largest retailer in the world to the world’s largest company." Success Principles Online

"Working alongside Walton and advancing from executive vice president, to vice chairman and chief operating officer, to senior vice-chairman, Don Soderquist has a unique perspective on Walmart's success. From this privileged position and for the first time ever, The Walmart Way offers the blueprint. The formula is simple but not simplistic, and the results have been astounding." Soderquist Leadership

"I believe “The Wal-Mart Way” is a great book for anyone seeking information on management. Not only does it entail much detail about the company itself, but also what more successful business can we learn from than the Wal-Mart Company? The most amazing things about Sam Walton and Donald Soderquist were that they were willing to work hard and were committed to keeping this global company alive.Soderquist helped to turn a $43 billion company into one that would eventually exceed $200 billion. The qualities and principles of this man are what have led the store to great success." Management Book Reviews

"The best thing about the book is that it shows how one very, very big and successful company has managed to maintain an entrepreneurial energy true to the spirit of its founder. The worst thing about this book is that the author is too proud of that to discuss Wal-Mart's flaws, failures or shortcomings and, it seems unwilling to give outsiders much credit for getting anything right." Supervisory Leadership

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Wisdom to Share

By selling products for less, the firm makes less profit per product, but is able to sell more products and keep inventories low.

A vision is much more than a statement on a piece of paper that is posted on the bulletin board or highlighted in the annual report. It is, in essence, your reason for being.

A vision must be the passion of the leader. A leader must be driven by his or her strong desire to make it become a reality.

A vision must be exciting, if you want your people to be motivated about achieving it.

Culture can literally determine whether a company has a future.

Treating everyone with respect and dignity means everyone. Start with your associates. Don't call them "employees"; they are associates in the true sense of the word, because there's no doubt that your people make the difference in your success.

Treat your customer as the truly important people they are. And know that they are the real "Boss."

All employees need to know that they are doing something important and significant. They want to know that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves, that they have a place in a winning team, and that their efforts are meaningful.

You can serve people without satisfying them, but it's impossible to satisfy them without serving them. Satisfaction is the goal.

You must find a way to remain close to your associates and customers, making sure that you're available and not living in an ivory tower.

If you want to be an effective leader, you need to cultivate one-on-one feedback from trusted individuals throughout your organization, touching all the different levels.

Technology is only a tool and is not as important as people, but it's a powerful resource that is available to every business, regardless of size, and can have a major impact on a company's sales, profitability, and overall success.

Wal-Mart's secret to success is well-known: by selling products for less, the firm makes less profit per product, but is able to sell more products and keep inventories low.

Listen to everyone in the company; Walton believed that the people who best know what's going on in the company were those on the front lines, the employees.