What I Learned From Sam Walton: How To Compete and Thrive in a Wal-Mart World
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"Michael Bergdahl's book presents unique insights into the staggering international success of Wal-Mart. Throughout the pages of this book, you can almost hear Sam Walton himself coaching and inspiring his legion of employees to greatness."
-Tracy Mullin, President and CEO, National Retail Federation

"Retailers, non-retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers will enjoy Bergdahl's insights into Wal-Mart's service culture and its leadership icon, Sam Walton."
-Roger J. Dow, Senior Vice President Global and Field SalesMarriott International, Inc.

Bergdahl outlines his competitive strategy with the acronym P.O.C.K.E.T.S.

P-Price: Don't try to compete on price; differentiate your product selection.

O-Operations: Break the retail "ready, shoot, aim" tactical orientation bydeveloping an actual strategy to compete.

C-Culture: Build a can-do culture with a strong sense of urgency. Communicate your values and beliefs over and over again to your employees.

K-Key Item Promotion/Product: Determine who you are and uniformly communicate your brand message to your entire team.

E-Expenses: Become obsessed about controlling costs.

T-Talent: Recruit constantly and hire people who have both experience and high potential.

S-Service: Never take your customer for granted. Empower your employees to make decisions involving customer concerns.


MICHAEL BERGDAHL worked with Sam Walton as Wal-Mart's director of the Home Office People Division. He has also worked as a turnaround specialist for American Eagle Outfitters, and prior to that, he was on the supply side of retailing with PepsiCo's Frito-Lay Division. Currently, Bergdahl is a full-time speaker and business coach—drawing on his twenty-seven years of business experience. He is the author of The 10 Rules of Sam Walton: Success Secrets for Remarkable Results, also published by Wiley.


Foreword xi

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xiv

Introduction Picking Wal-Mart’s POCKETS—Strategies and Tactics I Learned From Sam Walton 1

Chapter 1 Pricing Strategies and Tactics 15

Chapter 2 Operational Strategies and Tactics 39

Chapter 3 Cultural Strategies and Tactics 61

Chapter 4 Key Item/Product Strategies and Tactics 87

Chapter 5 Expense Control Strategies and Tactics 113

Chapter 6 Talent Strategies and Tactics 131

Chapter 7 Service Strategies and Tactics 163

Conclusion 187

Appendix Competitive Business Strategies and Tactics; Self-Assessment to Help You Evaluate Your Ability to Compete and Survive Against Wal-Mart 199

Notes 221

About the Author 225

Index 227