Quotees Archive

If you take someone who lacks the experience and the know-how but has the real desire and the willingness to work his tail off to get the job done, he’ll make up for what he lacks. And that proved true nine times out of ten. It was one way we were able to grow so fast.

- Sam Walton

If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you—like a fever.

- Sam Walton

If you had to boil down the Wal-Mart system to one single idea, it would porbably be communication, because it is one of the real keys to our success…Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

- Sam Walton

I probably have traveled and walked into more variety stores than anybody in America.

- Sam Walton

I had to pick myself up and get on with it, do it all over again, only even better this time.

- Sam Walton

I learned this early on in the variety business: You’ve got to give folks responsibility, you’ve got to trust them, and then you’ve got to check on them.

- Sam Walton

I learned early on that one of the secrets of campus leadership was the simplest thing of all: speak to people coming down the sidewalk before they speak to you. I would always look ahead and speak to the person coming toward me. If I knew them I would call them by name, but even if I didn’t I would still speak to them.

- Sam Walton

I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where they’ve been

- Sam Walton

I got into retailing because I wanted a real job.

- Sam Walton

I don’t know what causes a person to be ambitious, but it is a fact that I have been overblessed with drive and ambition from the time I hit the ground.

- Sam Walton

I don’t know what would have happened to Wal-Mart if we had laid low and never stirred up the competition. My guess is that we would have remained a strictly regional operator.

- Sam Walton

High expectations are the key to everything.

- Sam Walton

Give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people.

- Sam Walton

I remember one time I didn’t want to spend any money on motels so we all slept in sleeping bags on the floor of one of our guys’ houses. His furniture hadn’t gotten there yet.

- Sam Walton

If I had to single out one element in my life that has made difference for me, it would be a passion to compete.

- Sam Walton

If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction.

- Sam Walton

I’m a pretty conservative guy. But for some reason in business, I have always been pretty driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where we’ve been. On the one hand, in the community, I really am an establishment kind of guy; on the other hand, in the marketplace, I have always been a maverick who enjoys shaking things up and creating a little anarchy. And sometimes the establishments made me mad…

- Sam Walton

I’d work in the store all day, then take off around closing and drive that windy road over the Mississippi River, and then into Tennessee with an old homemade trailer I had hitched to my car. I’d stuff that car and trailer with whatever I could get good deals on – usually on soft lines, ladies panties and nylons, men’s shirts and I’d bring them back, price them low and just blow that stuff out of the store.

- Sam Walton

I’ve never been one to dwell on reverses.

- Sam Walton

I really believed that I said then, and I still do. But we figured out a way to grow, and stay profitable, and there was no logical place to stop. The way I approached managing the business, I always tried to maintain a sense of hands-on, personal supervision – usually flying around to take a look at our stores on a regular basis. But from the very beginning, even on my paper routes in college, I have also been a delegator, trying to hire the best possible people to manage the stores. That’s been the case since back in Newport….We’re big now. We’re really big. That’s not something I like to focus on. I always wanted to be the best retailer in the world, not necessarily the biggest…(being big poses opportunities), but being big also poses big dangers. It has ruined many a fine company – including some giant retailers – who started out strong and got bloated or out of touch or were slow to react to the needs of their customers. Here’s the point: the biggest Wal-Mart gets, the more essential it is that we think small. Because that is exactly how we have become a big corporation.

- Sam Walton

I usually have my yellow legal pad with me, with a list of ten or fifteen things we need to be working on as a company. My list drives the executives around here crazy, but it’s probably one of my more important contributions.

- Sam Walton

I think our main real estate effort should be directed at getting out in front of expansion and letting the population build out to us.

- Sam Walton

I think it’s fair to say that our distribution system today is the envy certainly of everyone in our industry, and in alot of others as well…We’ve spend almost $700 million builing up the current computer and satellite systems we have….You can’t generate sales unless you have the product there when the customer wants it.The math is pretty simple: if we both sell the same goods for the same price at retail, we’ll earn 2.5 percent more profit than they will right there.

- Sam Walton

“High expectations are the key to everything.”

- Sam Walton

A smart, motivational good manager can work what some outsiders call Wal-Mart magic with folks everywhere. It make take more time. You may have to sift through more people, and you may have to become more skilled with your hiring practices. But I truly believe that people anywhere will eventually respond to the same sorts of motivational techniques we use, if they are treated right and are given the opportunities to be properly trained. If you are good to people, and fair with them, and demanding of them, they will eventually decide you’re on their side.

- Sam Walton

All of us profit from being corrected – if we’re corrected in a positive way.

- Sam Walton

All that hullabaloo about somebody’s net worth is just stupid, and it’s made my life a lot more complex and difficult.

- Sam Walton

Any time a company grows as fast as Wal-Mart has, pockets of duplication are going to build up, and there will be areas of the business which we may no longer need. No boss or employee really likes to dwell on such matters; it’s only human nature not to want to have your job, or the jobs of the people who work for you, eliminated. But it is absolutely the responsibility of a company’s top management to be thinking about this issue all the time – to ensure the sound future for the overall company.

- Sam Walton

Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.

- Sam Walton

As it happened, we did extraordinarily well with our Newport Wal-Mart, and it wasn’t too long before the old Ben Franklin store I had run on Front Street had to close its doors. You can’t say we ran that guy – the landlord’s son – out of business. His customers were the ones who shut him down. They voted with their feet. Quite a few smaller stores have gone out of business during the time of Wal-Mart’s growth. Some people have tried to turn it into this big controversy, sort of a Save the Small-Town Merchants deal, like they were whales or whooping cranes of something that has the right to be protected…If you become a large-scale success it’s Katie bar the door. Suddenly, you make a very convenient villian because everybody seems to love shooting at who’s on top.

- Sam Walton

Capital isn’t scarce, vision is.

- Sam Walton

Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures

- Sam Walton

Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anybody else.

- Sam Walton

Control your expenses better than your competition. This is where you can always find the competitive advantage.

- Sam Walton

Dad never had the kind of ambition or confidence to build much of a business on his own, and he didn’t believe in taking on debt. Sam Walton on the traits that make a great leader. It never occurred to me that I might lose; to me, it was almost as if I had a right to win. Thinking like that often seems to turn into sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

- Sam Walton

Do it. Try it. Fix it.

- Sam Walton

Each Wal-Mart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community.

- Sam Walton

Exceed your customer’s expectations. If you do, they’ll come back over and over. Give them what they want – and a little more.

- Sam Walton

Excepting for reading my numbers on Saturday morning and going to our regular meetings, I don’t have much of a routine for anything else. I always carry my little tape recorder on trips, to record ideas that come up in my conversations with the associates. I usually have my yellow legal pad with me, with a list of ten or fifteen things we need to be working on as a company. My list drives the executives around here crazy, but it’s probably one of my more important contributions.

- Sam Walton

Focus on something the customer wants, and then deliver it. “ 14. “Many of our best opportunities were created out of necessity.

- Sam Walton

“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”

- Sam Walton

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