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Michael Bergdahl

travels from USA

Expert on Wal-Mart Practices

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About Michael

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Keynote speaker Michael Bergdahl is considered the authority on the best practices of Wal-Mart & Sam Walton. He is a professional international business speaker with substance, who is one part business, one part inspiration, and one part storyteller.  Audience members will learn the “Tactics of the World’s Richest Man”, Sam Walton”, and the “Strategies of Wal-Mart, the World’s Largest Company.”

Professional International Speaker on 6 Continents, Author, and Authority on the Best Practices of Wal-Mart & Sam Walton

His Background:  Michael Bergdahl is a professional international business speaker, author and turnaround specialist. Bergdahl worked in Bentonville, Arkansas for Wal-Mart, as the Director of “People” for the headquarters office, where he worked directly with Wal-Mart’s founder Sam Walton. It was Sam Walton who gave Bergdahl the nickname, “Bird Dawg!”  Previous to Wal-Mart he worked in the FMCG Industry for PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay Division in the sales organization and headquarters staff assignments.  He is also a turnaround specialist who participated in two successful business turnarounds as a VP of HR at American Eagle Outfitters, and Waste Management.  Bergdahl received the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification from SHRM.

Wal-Mart/ Sam Walton Authority:  Michael Bergdahl is considered the authority on the best practices of Wal-Mart & Sam Walton.  He has appeared on CNN, CNBC, CNN FN, MSNBC, CNN International, Univision, CBS National Radio and Bloomberg TV. He has participated in internationally televised news debates on “Power Lunch”, “On the Money”, “Morning Call”, and “Closing Bell”. Articles written by him, and articles written by others about him, have appeared in business newspapers and magazines around the world.  Bergdahl is the moderator of a LinkedIn discussion group called, “Wal-Mart’s Best Practices – Super Group” with more than 4500 worldwide members including:  Retailers, FMCG Product Manufacturers/Suppliers, & Supply Chain Professionals.

His Books:  He wrote his first book about “The Strategies of the World’s Largest Company”, entitled:  What I Learned from Sam Walton:  How to Compete and Thrive in a Wal-Mart World (2003).  His second book is written about “The Tactics of the World’s Richest Man”, entitled, The 10 Rules of Sam Walton:  Success Secrets for Remarkable Results (2007).   Note: Rob Walton, the current Chairman of the Board of Wal-Mart, and son of Sam Walton, wrote the Foreword for “The 10 Rules of Sam Walton” book.   Both of these books were published and distributed internationally by John Wiley & Sons, in English, in both hard cover and paperback versions.  Translated versions of his books are available in Russian, Thai, Indonesian, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, and Spanish.  Both of his books have also been published in English, in India.  His third book is a 50th Walmart Anniversary Commemorative Edition published by Brighton Publishers entitled The Sam Walton Way (2011).

Speeches, Master Classes, & Workshops: Michael Bergdahl is a professional international business speaker with substance, who is one part business, one part inspiration, and one part storyteller. He customizes his tallks or workshops to fit the conference theme, and he designs his messages to teach others the Best Practices of Wal-Mart. He presents Keynote Speeches, half day programs, and full day “Master Classes”.  In his speech, “Growing Your Business the Sam Walton and Wal-Mart Way” (a.k.a. Picking Wal-Mart’s POCKETS), Bergdahl unveils the best practices of Wal-Mart, and the success secrets of Sam Walton. Audience members will learn the “Tactics of the World’s Richest Man”, Sam Walton”, and the “Strategies of Wal-Mart, the World’s Largest Company.”

See keynotes with Michael Bergdahl

    Keynote by Speaker Michael Bergdahl

    The Sam Walton Way

    • In this speech, THE SAM WALTON WAY: Innovative Trends in Retailing, based on his first hand observations of Sam Walton’s leadership, and discussions with others who worked with Mr. Sam, Bergdahl will review the most important “What Would Sam Do (WWSD), Best Leadership Practices” other retailers can use to improve their businesses.


    Keynote by Speaker Michael Bergdahl

    Putting Your Employees First

    • Using his trademark humor, storytelling and experience, Bergdahl shares the keys to effective leadership of a Diverse and Multi-Generational Workforce in the 21st century.
    • In this 60 to 90 minute speech or half/full day masterclass Michael discusses Actions, Beliefs, Values and Key Leadership Competencies.
    • Speaker Michael Bergdahl describes why effective leaders need to focus on employees first, customers second and profits third in order to improve top-line sales and customer service and ultimately bottom-line profitability.
    • The Focus of this presentation is on what employees expect from you as a leader, and how you can become a more effective leader of people.


    Keynote by Speaker Michael Bergdahl

    Picking Wal-Mart’s “POCKETS”

    • Based on his first book, What I learned from Sam Walton: How to Compete & Thrive in a Wal-Mart World, this speech reveals “The Wal-Mart Way” through a discussion of the 7 key strategies of Wal-Mart.
    • Using storytelling, humor, inspiration and his real world experience working with Sam Walton as examples, speaker Michael Bergdahl unveils those seven strategies.
    • He uses the acronym, “P.O.C.K.E.T.S.”, which stands for Price, Operations, Culture, Key Item Promotion, Expenses, Talent and Service. Bergdahl believes, “Finding your unique niche in the marketplace or “POCKETS” is the key to success no matter what market or business you are competing in!”


    Keynote by Speaker Michael Bergdahl

    Growing Your Business The Sam Walton & Wal-Mart Way

    • Audience members will learn the success secrets of the world’s most successful merchant, Sam Walton, and the best practices of the world’s largest company, Wal-Mart.
    • The focus of this program is to help audience members transfer the knowledge gained into action to grow their own businesses, through innovation, risk taking, and thinking outside the box “The Sam Walton & Wal-Mart Way.”


    Keynote by Speaker Michael Bergdahl


    • The fact is that competition is more difficult than ever before.
    • Those who are used to simply picking up the fruit of their labors right off the ground or from the branches within closest reach are finding that success today requires that people stretch and even climb up into the branches to gather the highest hanging fruit to succeed.
    • Unfortunately, change is always hard for people, which adds to the challenge faced by organizations forced to make the choice to reinvent their business in order to compete, survive and thrive in this complex and competitive world.


    Keynote by Speaker Michael Bergdahl

    The 10 Rules of Sal Walton

    • In this speech, speaker Michael Bergdahl discusses Sam Walton’s 10 self-professed rules for success, which Walton embraced as he grew Wal-Mart from a single store to a 7000+ store global enterprise.
    • Did you know that when he died Sam Walton was the world’s richest man?
    • He was worth US $100 billion which at the time was almost double the wealth of Bill Gates!
    • Conference participants really want to learn the success secrets followed by the world’s wealthiest man and now they can!
    • Based on his second book, The 10 Rules of Sam Walton, Bergdahl will address “The Sam Walton Way” through a discussion of the tactics behind Sam Walton’s self-professed rules for entrepreneurial success.
    • Sam Walton credited these 10 rules as the reason he became the World’s Richest Man.


    Keynote by Speaker Michael Bergdahl


    • In this speech, speaker Michael Bergdahl describes the ongoing battle between union organizers and Wal-Mart’s leaders, and why after decades of effort not one of the more than 4000 USA Wal-Mart stores has a collective bargaining agreement.
    • This is a remarkable accomplishment given the fact that the company has been under a corporate union campaign for decades.
    • Bergdahl believes Wal-Mart has no choice but to battle unionization, because remaining union-free is not only the key to the company’s continued profitability, it may also be the key to its long term survival!
    • Why are the unions so interested in organizing Wal-Mart’s employees?
    • Why are Wal-Mart’s leaders such adamant antidistablishmentwalmartarians?
    • In this speech he answers these questions as he reviews, “The Wal-Mart Way,” and its employee relations practices that have contributed to maintaining its non-union status.
    • Audience members will learn some of the inside leadership secrets of “The Sam Walton Way” which are utilized to this day by company leaders.
    • Speaker Michael Bergdahl reviews Wal-Mart’s “best people practices” that have contributed to Wal-Mart becoming the world’s largest company, and which have helped keep its stores union-free!


    Keynote by Speaker Michael Bergdahl

    Full Day Master Classes

    • Growing Your Business the Sam Walton Way
    • The Wal-Mart Way
    • Tactics of the World’s Richest Man
    • Wal-Mart and Sam Walton’s Strategies and Tactics for Business Success in Tough Economic Times

Interview with Michael Bergdahl

What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?
I try to make my message inspirational & entertaining while at the same time I am providing solid content. My message to my audiences is: “With the right strategy you can compete, survive, and thrive in competition with your competitors both small and large.

What is the feeling you would like people to take away?
Be proactive by embracing these 13 words: “If it is to be . . . it is up to me . . . to do it!”

How do you prepare for speaking engagements?
It is all about them . . . the meeting planner . . . and their audience members. I’ve found meeting planners expect tailored & customized presentations that fit the theme of their conference and the needs of their audience members (not a boiler plate presentation). I try to speak to representatives of the event in advance and even some attendees to gain insights into the unique challenges they are facing. I then tailor my remarks to meet their needs.

What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?
It is my calling . . . it is what I was put on the earth to do.

How much does humor factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?
Humor is very important. I use lots of humor to break the ice and to keep the program interesting and entertaining.

How do you use Sam Walton as inspiration for your keynotes?
Because his company became the world’s largest (annual sales of US$467 billion), and he himself became the world’s richest man (worth US$100 billion when he died), his story is one of the most inspiring entrepreneurial “rags to richest” stories of all time! Interestingly, his best practices are based on simplicity so audience members can replicate them in their lives and in their businesses.

How are your keynote presentations unique?
I have created a unique niche. Because I have written three books about Walmart and Sam Walton I truly am a subject matter expert. There is no one who can provide the insights I provide on “the strategies of the world’s largest company” and “ the tactics of the world’s richest man.”

Do you have any unique memorable moments in your speaking career?
At one conference I attended a specially catered dinner ON the Great Wall of China! Another not so positive memory was a 42 hour trip from my home in Pennsylvania to the hotel in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia where I was speaking (I made it on time for the event!) The last memory was when I was stopped in Washington DC, and I was not allowed to board a flight to South Africa because my passport had run out of blank pages. (I made it to this event on time also!)

What are your top 3 tips for success in the corporate world?
Strive for excellence, take care of your people, and serve your customers!

See keynotes with Michael Bergdahl
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Keynote topics with Michael Bergdahl