top of page


Lean seeks the perfect process through the elimination of waste. Success relies on respect for people … but what does that actually mean? We speak often about creating a culture of an Adult to Adult relationship through-out our organization. In this case it actually means that our personal values are aligned with our organization’s values. Often however, our values are not articulated so that they can be followed.

We recently attended the Ethical Leadership Summit at the Soderquist Center ( ) where Don Soderquist spent considerable time discussing the power of having articulated values present and visible within the organization. During Don’s tenure with Wal-Mart the organization marched to the following values;

• A vision that was more than financial

• A culture based on our values

• A genuine dedication to our people

• A commitment to our customers

• A partnership with our suppliers

• A proactive approach to change

• A passion for excellence

• A continuing strategic focus

• A committed leadership

• Execution

We are aware of the current tag line being used by Wal-Mart “Spend Less … Live Better”, this is really an extension of Sam Walton’s original vision to improve the standard of living for people that shopped at his stores. He viewed the purpose of the organization to be the purchasing agents for their customers. As they negotiated for better prices savings were equally shared with 30% benefiting Wal-Mart, 30% to the benefit of the supplier and 30% applied to roll-back prices.

Don mentioned that he personally felt that he needed to know the name of the janitor, since this person more than others was tagged to preserve the image of the values of the organization. He was also very proud to mention that 70% of current Wal-Mart managers started as hourly managers.

Other snippets of leadership secrets shared included the following;

• Leaders set the course … people do the work

• Progression Planning versus Succession Planning

• If the organization is growing by 30% how is your personal growth growing?

• Dream Big

• Faith sometimes can be more important than data

• As a leader you are always on the clock

• Life is a mosaic not a puzzle

Create non-negotiable values for your organization based on ;

• Integrity

• Respect for individuals

• Communications

Because we are working to create authentic leaders not Karaoke Managers

Related Posts

See All


We do more than just blog. We're active Lean practitioners who would love to help you achieve your productivity goals.

bottom of page