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The Wal-Mart Way
The Inside Story of the Success of the World's Largest Company

by Don Soderquist

      Have you heard the story of a man who simply wanted to have his own store? He had no other goals beyond the one store or how he would get there. Many have heard this story about Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. In The Wal-Mart Way, author Don Soderquist takes the reader through Wal-Mart's values and how one man's dream grew beyond anyone's expectations.

The Wal-Mart Way enlightens how basic principles can provide a company's vision, business plan, and growth. Wal-Mart started with the basic values of integrity, respect, teamwork, communication, excellence, accountability, and trust. These values, within management and associates, lead the direction of the company. Management brainstorms new products or gains new vendors with these values as the backbone. Wal-Mart shows respect to their employees by encouraging them to express their ideas, observations, and difficulties. Do you know who came up with the idea of a "people-greeter" for Wal-Mart stores? Customer satisfaction rose after the people-greeter made customers feel safe and welcomed. Do you know the difference between customer satisfaction and customer service? Soderquist explains the importance in the difference. Supplying products that customers want, and at lower prices, helps Wal-Mart stay a sales leader. Soderquist reports that management makes a conscience effort to stock products consistent with family values. Technology makes businesses more efficient; Wal-Mart managers receive daily reports with action plans at the start of their day. Wal-Mart wants to be known as a "good neighbor": contributing to local charities, reporting missing children, implementing 'Code Adam', and respecting the environment.

Author Don Soderquist, a previous CEO of Wal-Mart, presents more than a history lesson of Wal-Mart. He acknowledges problems in the organization while showing the trend line of a successful business. I enjoyed The Wal-Mart Way for the little-known facts about the company as well as its guiding vision in managing a business. Each chapter includes questions for personal reflection and action. The Wal-Mart Way is a wonderful book for those wanting to glean insight from Wal-Mart's management and those who want to utilize similar strategies for their own business.

The Book

Nelsen Business
April 19, 2005
Non-fiction, business
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The Reviewer

Jennifer Akers
Reviewed 2005
© 2005