Made in America
Those of you who have been following my journey and reading the posts on the website should know how I was getting ready for the new adventure. As you might remember, back then I knew barely nothing about the Walmart company, though I wish I had known more. It’s only now do I realize how big a contribution the Fortune team has made into my understanding of business processes when they decided to send me not anywhere else, but to Walmart. They were not discouraged by the fact that the differences between our businesses are colossal: the retail niche occupied by the showroom “More Dash” that I founded 3 years ago – is a brand that produces contemporary women’s clothes, whereas Walmart sells everything. And I mean it – literally everything. The only difference being the price – the average cost of an item of clothing in Walmart equals to something around $7.
The scale of Walmart is truly impressive. It’s a kingdom inside of a kingdom, with its strict rules and laws – that are actually outlined in the book of Sam Walton, the founder of the company. It’s called “Made In America” and some of the employees even keep it on their desks. The legend has it that there’s even an employee that knows the whole book by heart. And I won’t be too surprised if such a person does exist.
All of these rules are written on the walls of the offices, and the most important “commandment” of Walmart – “Saving people money so they can live better” – I keep hearing a dozen times a day from almost every single person I meet here. That is the major goal of Sam Walton that shaped the philosophy of the biggest company in the world. Yes, you heard me right, the biggest company in the world – as Walmart is the biggest private company based on the number of employees (more than 2 million), it operates thousands of shops inside USA and the rest of the world, sells the biggest amount of food, small-size diamonds and purchases more military equipment than the American army itself. And these are just a few numbers provided by James Cameron, Vice-President of the Global Leader
Development at Walmart.
The Walmart leadership also includes a number of women that made it to Fortune’s list of the most successful entrepreneurs. Every single one of them will be my mentor and will set up my schedule for the days when I’m assigned to her. My mentor for the first two days will be the native of India Prathibha Rajashekhar. Our relationship – is something special. Prathibha – is the Vice-President of Data & Analytics. She is in charge of everything related to the analysis of the behavior of the employees of the company.
In Walmart, they pay special attention to individuals and their talents – both at the highest level and at the level of ordinary shop assistants, thus the areas of HR, leadership, employees’ behavior analytics have their own separate departments. The army of 2,2 million people is not an easy thing to control, but these guys manage to do it perfectly, constantly inventing new ways of motivating and training the employees. Based on my observations, now I understand that employees here often switch their positions, get promoted or transferred to different departments. Moreover, they are constantly taught new skills and motivated to make the company bigger, better and stronger.
As a result, the majority of the management (not only on the highest level) are motivated by the fact that together with the company they are capable of changing the world – of course, for the better. It’s simple: if Walmart raises the price for meat – it means that the rest of the American companies have to do the same thing which, in turn, will affect the whole industry of the country. If Walmart decides to raise the standards for contractors – then all the factories in Bangladesh that cooperate with the American giant will be forced to rebuild their facilities in order to meet the new standards which, once again, will influence the economy of an entire country.
My personal challenge is, within 12 days, to get an insight into the structure of the biggest company in the world, to understand how it adapts to the transition from “offline” to “online” markets, and, lastly, irrespective of the scale of this retail giant, learn the lessons that will help me to build my own business.