“With the possible exception of Henry Ford, Sam Walton is the entrepreneur of the century.”- TOM PETERS, co-author of In Search of Excellence

One of my favorite entrepreneurs of all time is Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. Sam was a visionary, cheerleader, great salesman, serial borrower, tough competitor, relentless entrepreneur who built a retail empire without losing his common touch. One of the most interesting things about Sam Walton was his vision for Walmart and his focus on generational wealth. As long have observed the Forbes list of the richest people globally, his offsprings have always been in the top 20 Forbes richest list, which is very impressive.

The Walton family held five spots in the top ten richest people in the United States until 2005. Two daughters of Sam’s brother Bud Walton—Ann Kroenke and Nancy Laurie—hold smaller shares in the company. The Walton family is an American family whose collective fortune makes them the richest family in the United States of America and the richest family in the world.

Samuel Moore Walton (March 29, 1918 – April 5, 1992) was an American businessman and entrepreneur best known for founding the retailers Walmart and Sam’s Club. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. grew to be the world’s largest corporation by revenue as well as the biggest private employer in the world. For a period of time, Walton was the richest man in America.

Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, one of the world’s largest business enterprises in terms of annual revenue, and with just over 2.2 million employees, the world’s largest private employer.
As of December 2014, the Waltons collectively owned 50.8 percent of Walmart. In 2018, the family sold some of their company’s stock and now owns just under 50%. In July 2020, the annual Sunday Times Rich List reported that the Walton family’s net worth was $US225.2 billion.

Sam Walton’s Autobiography: Made in America is one of my favorite business biographies as it contains lots of wisdom, insights, anecdotes, in the trenches advice, a very good read. The book chronicles his starting out, major tough early business lessons, borrowing ideas from others, customer obsession, Small Town Strategy, battling cancer, raising kids, understanding the value of a dollar among other insights.

“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there.

You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.” 

John William Gardner was the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) under President Lyndon Johnson. He was recipient of the 1964 Presidential Medal of Freedom and became known as “the father of campaign finance reform”. John delivered the “Personal Renewal” Speech at McKinsey & Company on November 10, 1990. 

Life is an endless unfolding, and if we wish it to be, an endless process of self-discovery, an endless and unpredictable dialogue between our own potentialities and the life situations in which we find ourselves.

“Personal Renewal” Speech Transcript

I’m going to talk about “Self-Renewal.” One of your most fundamental tasks is the renewal of the organizations you serve, and that usually includes persuading the top officers to accomplish a certain amount of self-renewal. But to help you think about others is not my primary mission this morning. I want to help you think about yourselves. 

Leadership is unveiled by vision, driven by passion, activated by planning, engineered by sacrifice, and actualized by tireless pursuit.

It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times as Charles Dicken once quipped, that is the life of a leader. A leader is a dealer in hope, positivity, and optimism in trying times, and in crisis, the leader charts a course for recovery. A leader’s job is to create an enabling environment where your people can do their best work and become a better version of themselves.

Here are some great quotes on Leadership:

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.Bill Gates

Staying Hungry when you are achieving success is very hard as Bill Gates once quipped: “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Successful people and teams always have to deal with this issue at some point in their life/career; the ability to still stay hungry when you are achieving success and not get content/complacent is a great skill needed to stay at the top.

Staying grounded in the midst of success and not getting carried away with the praise, awards, recognition and all the rewards of succeeding can be very tempting. We all want to be recognized for our initiative and success but it can get into our heads which invariably leads to complacency and laziness among other self-defeating behaviors

Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart.

Darren Hardy, Author and Former publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, in his great book: The Compound Effect noted that:

“The truth is, complacency has impacted all great empires, including, but not limited to, the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English. Why? Because nothing fails like success. Once-dominant empires have failed for this very reason. People get to a certain level of success and get too comfortable.”

People get to a certain level of success and get too comfortable.

“With the possible exception of Henry Ford, Sam Walton is the entrepreneur of the century.”- TOM PETERS, co-author of In Search of Excellence

Made In America is the story of how Sam Walton built a retailing empire, “Walmart” from a humble upbringing. He started it from a single dime store in a hardscrabble cotton town (Arkansas) into the largest retailer in the world. In a story rich with anecdotes and the “rules of the road” of both Main Street and Wall Street, Sam Walton chronicles the inspiration, heart, and optimism that propelled him to lasso the American Dream.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. grew to be the world’s largest corporation by revenue and the biggest private employer in the world. For a while, Walton was the richest man in America. As of July 31, 2020, Walmart has 11,496 stores and clubs in 27 countries, operating under 56 different names.

I think it must be human nature that when somebody homegrown gets on to something, the folks around them sometimes are the last to recognize it.

The company which Sam built Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenue, with US$514.405 billion, according to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2019. It is also the largest private employer in the world, with 2.2 million employees. It is a publicly-traded family-owned business, as the Walton family controls the company. Sam Walton’s heirs own over 50 percent of Walmart by holding company Walton Enterprises and their holdings.

Sam Walton was a relentless, hands on entrepreneur who led by example. In his own words:

I don’t know that anybody else has ever done it quite like me: started out as a pure neophyte, learned his trade, swept the floor, kept the books, trimmed the windows, weighed the candy, rung the cash register, installed the fixtures, remodeled the stores, built an organization of this size and quality, and kept on doing it right up to the end because they enjoyed it so much. No one that I know of has done it that way.

Here are my favourite take aways from reading,Made In America by Sam Walton: