Restudy “Good to Great”: Is Wal-Mart still a Great Company?

Monday, December 13, 2010 | comments

The More Organization Grows, The More Individuals Could Grow
Peter Drucker

Last week, Wal-Mart’s lawsuit (1.5 million female employees claim that female Wal-Mart employees receive fewer promotion and pay less) phenomena make us pondering again about the corporate culture and purpose, as the biggest company in the world, Wal-Mart is a success story in Mr. Jim Colin’s book :Build to Last.

However, in this post recession era, new decade of 21st century, is Wal-Mart still a great company to inspire the others? let’s restudy Mr. Jim Colin’s Good to Great and Build to Last to diagnose the symptom.

1.A Cult Like Culture
“Now I want you to raise your right hand, and remember what we say at Wal-Mart,
that promise we made is a promise we keep –and I want you to repeat after me, From this day forward, I solemnly promise and declare that every time a customer comes within ten feet of me, I will smile, look him in the eyes and greet him. So help me!" Sam

The visionary entrepreneur Mr. Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart in early 20th century, it became a legendary story in American history, it’s also a symbol of corporate of America, the great fit for the “the Bigger is Better” American culture.

However, if Wal-Mart even can not hear their own employees voice, not just a few, it’s 1.5 million female employees, their majority of workforce, a few diagnostic questions:

--how can they expect their employees to mange a smile at their face, but cry in their heart?

--How do they expect their employees to carry Sam’s legacy, since their female employees are also their most influential customers, can they smile when they shop in their own stores, can they feel happy even they could purchase a few cheaper items, in this case, cheaper is not necessary better.

No matter customer first or employee first culture, the truly great company should gain both their employees and customers heart, beyond the smile on the surface, shape the future with women’s voice, that’s essential of great company in the 21st century.

2.Core Value and Purpose
Wal-Mart’s core ideology:
--We exist to provide value to our customers
--Be in partnership with employees
--Work with passion, commitment and enthusiasm

Definitely the lawsuit would expedite the change process to review their core value and purpose, to remember “the voice of people is the voice of God”, to rebuild female employees’ heart and trust, and to reshape itself as a great company beyond a big company again.

3.Technology Accelerators
Technically Wal-Mart is still a great company with cost-efficient business model, advanced technology infrastructure, lean supply chain and fair web portal, however, as “Good to Great” clarified, technology is a subservient to core value, not the other way around.

The action point for Wal-Mart is to take advantage of Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 technology to get their female employee voice heard, and nurture the new generation of female leadership to represent the modern consumers in the new decade of 21st century, make them smile from bottom of their heart.

4.From Good to Great to Build to Last

Enduring great companies don’t exist merely to deliver returns to shareholders, indeed, in a truly great company, profit and cash flow become like blood and water to a health body, they are absolutely essential for life, but they are not the very point of life.
----From Good to Great

So what’s the very point of life: it’s the spirit, the purpose and the value, and those very point of life stimulate the progress to adapt to the changing world. And the fundamental progress for every company in the post recession era is to empower the female workforce and leadership, since they are the mainstream diver in the worldwide economy in the 21st century.

The great companies will still deliver the same core democratic values: Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, justice, equality, diversity, truth., etc. , they are delivering and inspiring the American dreams!!!
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