An Example of Successful Change
Why is Wal-Mart so Successful? Is it Good Strategy or Good Strategy Implementation? In 1962, when Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas, no one could have ever predicted the enormous success this small-town merchant would have. Sam Walton's talent for discount retailing not only made Wal-Mart the world's largest retailer, but also the world's number one retailer in sales. Sam Walton has made certain changes that help Wal-Mart to achieve its success today. His change techniques involve changing people, technology, and product. Indeed, Wal-Mart was named "Retailer of the Decade" by Discount Store News in 1989, and on several occasions has been included in Fortune's list of the "10 most admired corporations."
Wal-Mart is successful not only because it makes sound strategic management decisions, but also for its innovative implementation of those strategic decisions. In order to become a superstore, Wal-Mart decided to change the skill level of its workforce.
Walton's greatest accomplishment was his ability to empower, enrich, and train his employees. He believed in listening to employees and challenging them to come up with ideas and suggestions to make the company better. At each of the Wal-Mart stores, signs are displayed which read, "Our People Make the Difference." Associates regularly make suggestions for cutting costs through their "Yes We Can Sam" program. The sum of the savings generated by the associates actually paid for the construction of a new store in Texas. One of Wal-Mart's goals was to provide its employees with the appropriate tools to do their jobs efficiently. The technology was not used as a means of replacing existing employees, but to provide them with a means to succeed in the retail market (Thompson and Strickland 93).
Wal-Mart stores operate...