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Sam Walton teaches how to determine the most important person in your company

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During the 1980s there was a fierce debate on when Detroit’s Kmart Corporation would overtake Sears to become the largest retailer in North America. Industry analysts were betting on the fiscal quarter and year the task would be accomplished with virtually everyone feeling the discounter would someday be larger than the department store chain. However a couple of analysts thought Kmart would never be the largest retailer. They believed that honor would go to Bentonville, Ark., based Walmart. The reason, Walmart, they said, was a better run operation.

Sam Walton, Walmart founder, had an interesting concept on who the most important person was in his company. Perhaps this was the basis of why the company was perceived to be run better.

Walton believed that the common stock clerk was as important to the retailer as he was. After all, if the stock clerk did not get the merchandise on the shelf it did not matter what anyone else did. The same was true about the buyer in the home office. If the right merchandise was not purchase for the stock clerk to place on the shelf it did not matter how well he sold his company to investors as CEO.

In fiscal 1990 Kmart finally surpassed Sears in sales. But much to their dismay the same quarter saw Walmart surpass both Kmart and Sears. In a twist of fate Kmart would purchase Sears in 2005 but the combined volume of the two former retail giants was unable to regain the lead.

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