The legendary Sam Walton was a lifelong retailer with a passion for breaking new ground and being the very best at whatever he did. The first actual Wal-Mart store opened in 1962 and today there are nearly 12,000 stores in 28 countries. It is the world's largest company by revenue and the biggest private employer in the world. Frequently recognized as one of the richest persons in the world, he was listed by Time as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Here is a selection of his top quotes:
Maybe I was born to be a merchant, maybe it was fate. I don't know about that. But I know this for sure: I loved retail from the very beginning.
The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.
There is only one boss – the customer – and he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
You can learn from everybody.
Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.
High expectations are the key to everything.
I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where they've been.
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.
Capital isn't scarce; vision is.
I learned a long time ago that exercising your ego in public is definitely not the way to build an effective organization.
Take the best out of everything and adapt it to your needs.
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.
And once we’ve made that decision on Friday, we expect it to be acted on in all the stores on Saturday. What we guard against around here is people saying, ‘Let’s think about it.’ We make a decision. Then we act on it.
To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time.
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.
We paid absolutely no attention whatsoever to the way things were supposed to be done, you know, the way rules of retail said it had to be done.
Most everything I’ve done I’ve copied from somebody else.
If I had to single out one element in my life that has made a difference for me, it would be a passion to compete.
I did something I would do for the rest of my run in the retail business without any shame or embarrassment whatsoever: nose around other people’s stores searching for good talent.
After a lifetime of swimming up-stream, I am convinced that one of the real secrets to Wal-Mart’s phenomenal success has been that very tendency.
I had to get up every day with my mind set on improving something.
If you want the people in the stores to take care of the customers, you have to make sure you’re taking care of the people in the stores. That’s the most important single ingredient of Wal-Mart’s success.
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.
Most of us don't invent ideas. We take the best ideas from someone else.
I’ll bet I’ve been in more Kmarts than anybody.
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