Episode#10 – Made in America

Made in America

by Sam Walton and John Huey

 

The book in one sentence

“It is a story about entrepreneurship, and risk, and hard work, and knowing where you want to go and being willing to do what it takes to get there. It’s a story about believing in your idea even when some other folks don’t, and about sticking to your guns. But I think more than anything it proves there is absolutely no limit to what plain, ordinary people can accomplish if they’re given the opportunity and the encouragement and incentive to do their best.” – Sam Walton

 

My personal opinion

Life writes the best stories. You just need an interesting personality like Sam Walton!

This is his story about starting in merchandising, building his first store, losing it, starting again and finally founding Wal-Mart. Sam Walton is very honest about his life, even in situations where he made mistakes and learned from them.

The experience he gained during his life is well described in his book. Especially when he talks about his amazing team. I like how he gave his employees authority and responsibility, keeping reporting lines short. In the book he explains how he was inspired by IBM to have no more than four reporting levels between the chairman and the lowest level.

At the end it comes down to one key learning I derived from this book: it is always about the people. Only with the right people, establishing the right attitude and motivation, guiding them to see the bigger picture in their work, then you really can make a difference!

Sam Walton presents a very good summary in the end of his book: the ten rules which made him a successful and happy business man. Sure, more explanation is needed for the single rules to really understand what’s behind.

  1. Commit
  2. Share
  3. Motivate
  4. Communicate
  5. Appreciate
  6. Celebrate
  7. Listen
  8. Exceed
  9. Control
  10. Swim upstream

 

To whom I would recommend this book

Before I read the autobiography of Sam Walton I was not aware of the story behind Wal-Mart. Like Sam Walton says right in the beginning: it’s a story about that everybody can achieve anything! And this book is the motivation you need to start – now!

Furthermore, I think the story of Sam Walton is a great inspiration for managers and team leads. It is unbelievable what he demanded from his people on the one hand, on the other hand it is even more unbelievable how he kept them motivated for their work.

 

What I learned from this book

  • Find your passion and stay true to yourself.
  • Contribute! Do not just be a taker.
  • You do not have to reinvent the wheel all the time. Look around, see what works and what does not work. Sam Walton was famous for spending much time in the stores of his competition.
  • But do not be afraid of being a first-mover. When you are convinced something is right in a specific way, do it. Be creative. During his whole life Sam Walton tried new things at his stores all the time.
  • There is no overnight success. Be continuously innovative, experiment, and expand.
  • Establish a philosophy of “Let’s be out front. Let’s do it right. Let’s get it done now and get on with it.”
  • If you want to hire people, look for the “action-oriented, do-it-now, go type of folks.”
  • Work as a team – with your colleagues, your customers, your partners. Together, establishing transparency, the value you create will be much higher. Be honest with your eco system.
  • “Communicate, communicate, communicate.”
  • “Stay lean. Fight Bureaucracy.”
  • In the end, it is always about the people.

 

Want to read this book?

Check it out on Amazon.com – Made in America by Sam Walton and John Huey

 

Publisher

Thanks to the publisher for printing such a great book!

Bantam Books / Random House Books