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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

Last updated on: January 17, 2012 09:00 IST

Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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Poverty-stricken, Sam Walton learnt the value of money very early in life. Growing up during the Great Depression Walton has to take up numerous chores to make ends meet.

He had to take up odd jobs to support his family. He milked the cow and sold it to customers. He delivered Columbia Daily Tribune newspapers. He also sold magazine subscriptions.

He was voted the 'Most Versatile Boy', when he passed out of David H. Hickman High School in Columbia.

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Image: Sam, as he appears in David H. Hickman High School's yearbook.


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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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After high school, Walton decided to attend college to support his family.

After graduating in 1940 in economics, Walton joined JC Penney as a management trainee in Des Moines, Iowa at a salary of $75 a month.

Later, Walton joined the military in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps, supervising security at aircraft plants and prisoner of war camps.

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Image: Sam Walton.


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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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In 1945, after leaving the military, Walton took over management of his first variety store at the age of 26.

With the help of a $20,000 loan from his father-in-law, plus $5,000 he had saved from his time in the Army, Walton purchased a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas. The store was a franchise of the Butler Brothers chain.

This was a turning point in Walton's life as introduced many concepts that proved to be very successful.

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Image: Statue of Sam Walton and his dog outside of Wal-mart in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.


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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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The first true Wal-Mart opened on July 2, 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. It was called the Wal-Mart Discount City store.

Later, the Walton brothers teamed up with Stefan Dasbach to open many more stores. Walton strongly promoted American-made products.

The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000 list.

It is also the biggest private employer in the world with over 2 million employees, and is the largest retailer in the world. The company is controlled by Walton family which owns 48% stake in Wal-Mart.

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Image: Sam Walton's original Walton's Five and Dime store in Bentonville, Arkansas, now serving as the Walmart Visitor Center.


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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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"Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise."

"They're absolutely free - and worth a fortune."

"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."

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Image: Wal-mart store.
Photographs: Reuters.

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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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"Money and ownership alone aren't enough. Constantly, day by day, think of new and more interesting ways to motivate and challenge your partners."

"I don't know if you're born with this kind of passion, or if you can learn it. But I do know you need it."

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Image: Wal-mart's a success.
Photographs: Reuters.

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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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"Find some humour in your failures."

"Don't take yourself so seriously. Loosen up, and everybody around you will loosen up. Have fun."

"Show enthusiasm – always"

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Image: Wal-mart store.
Photographs: Reuters.

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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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"The two most important words I ever wrote were on that first Wal-Mart sign, "Satisfaction Guaranteed". They're still up there, and they have made all the difference."

"Information is power, and the gain you get from empowering your associates more than offsets the risk of informing your competitor."

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Image: Sam Walton.


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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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"Keep everybody guessing as to what your next trick is going to be, he said. Don't become too predictable."

"A computer can tell you down the dime what you've sold. But it can never tell you how much you could have sold."

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Image: Sam Walton.


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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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"I think I overcame every single one of my personal shortcomings by the sheer passion I brought to my work. I don't know if you're born with this kind of passion, or if you can learn it. But I do know you need it."

"Money and ownership alone aren't enough. Set high goals, encourage competition, and then keep score."

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Image: Wal-mart store.


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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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"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."

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

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Image: There is only one boss, the customer says Walton.


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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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"Exceed your customer's expectations. If you do, they'll come back over and over. "

"Give them what they want - and a little more. Let them know you appreciate them."

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Image: Wal-Mart store.
Photographs: Reuters.

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Sam Walton's words of wisdom

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"Believe in it more than anybody else. I think I overcame every single one of my personal shortcomings by the sheer passion I brought to my work."

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

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Image: Wal-mart store.
Photographs: Reuters.

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"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."



Image: Wal-mart store.


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