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What Would Sam Walton Do #2 – BUILD BENCH STRENGTH


Written by Michael Bergdahl

My role has been to pick good people and give them maximum authority and responsibility.” Sam Walton


Promote Your Own Employees From Within


Sam Walton was a big proponent of promoting his own employees to fill open management positions, every time it was possible. He actually viewed hiring talented people from the outside as an indication Walmart wasn’t building bench strength fast enough. By growing his own talented leaders from within, Mr. Sam was able to reinforce “The Walmart Way” of doing things in his stores and distribution centers across the world. He felt it was critical for Walmart Managers, both experienced and new, to understand the company’s unique and radically different company culture. Amazingly, Sam Walton often promoted employees who weren’t ready into leadership positions for which they had little or no prerequisite experience . . . and more often than not they would succeed! As a testament to his belief in his own people, seventy five percent of Walmart’s managers around the world were promoted from within into their current leadership positions.
How strong is the quality of your team? Do you have the people ready today to assume higher levels of responsibility when you need them tomorrow? It’s a question that CEO’s, HR executives and every other business leader should be asking and answering afirmatively. The fact is that most companies do not have the bench strength necessary to fill key leadership positions with high caliber, well trained people. Sam Walton was able to proactively, proliferate the Walmart culture by constantly growing his own future leaders internally. The question is: What you are doing today, to proliferate your company’s culture by growing your next batch of talented leaders? Sam Walton focused on building his bench strength each and every day and by doing so he turned “leadership of people” into a sustainable competitive advantage at Walmart. You too can turn your company’s leadership team into a competitive advantage by consistently developing and then promoting your own employees from within as well!


What Would Sam Walton Do #2 – BUILD BENCH STRENGTH: Sam Walton would recommend that you hire great people and then promote your own employees from within.


Your team can learn more about “Building Bench Strength at Walmart” from Michael Bergdahl’s book and speech titled: What I Learned from Sam Walton.


Michael Bergdahl is the author of 5 books and he is an international keynote speaker and master class leader. He worked with Sam Walton and he is an expert on Walmart’s Best Leadership Practices.

2 comments for “What Would Sam Walton Do #2 – BUILD BENCH STRENGTH”

  1. I was one of the recipients of Sam’s philosophy of hiring from within and have loved being able to serve. His concept of “servant leadership” is what has been my guiding principle. He was definitely a great leader and innovative mentor.

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