The Making of a Legacy

June 26th, 2012  | 

Published in Leadership, Reputation

The Walmart Legacy

On July 2, 1962, Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas.

He was 44 years old.

Five years later, Walton had expanded to 24 stores across Arkansas.

Fifty years later, Wal-Mart is the world’s biggest retailer with 8,500 stores and more than two million employees in 15 countries.

On the occasion of the store’s 50th anniversary, consider this timeless perspective from founder Sam Walton:

  • There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
  • It’s a proven fact – it costs five times more to gain a new customer than to retain a current one.
  • Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.
  • You can make a positive out of the most negative if you work at it hard enough.
  • Many of our best opportunities were created out of necessity.
  • If you take someone who lacks the experience and the know-how but has the real desire and the willingness to work his tail off to get the job done, he’ll make up for what he lacks. And that proved true nine times out of ten.
  • If I had to single out one element in my life that has made a difference for me, it would be a passion to compete.
  • To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time.
  • Capital isn’t scarce. Vision is.
  • High expectations are the key to everything.

Walton said that he always pursued everything he was interested in with a true passion – some would say obsession – to win. “I’ve always held the bar pretty high for myself.”

What are you passionate about? Fifty years from now, what legacy will you have left?

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises leaders of some of the world’s most admired companies, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, and he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. His fifth leadership book—How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices—examines 52 of history’s greatest triumphs and tragedies and debuted in April as the #1 new historical reference book on Amazon.

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