Where do you find happy employees? In businesses where they can learn and grow, where they are given feedback and appreciation, and where they can be a part of something bigger than themselves (a team).
Whatever you think of Wal-Mart, founder Sam Walton has worked to ensure his organization creates this environment. He turned one tiny store in Bentonville, Arkansas into a multi-billion dollar empire based on this approach. He shares his story in the book, “Sam Walton: Made in America.” At heart he is a true merchant, dedicated to giving the best quality for the cheapest price, but he couldn’t have done it without what he calls his ‘Rules for Building a Business’…mainly, “Share, Motivate, Communicate and Appreciate.”
Walton was ahead of his time. Decades before the field of sports psychology and coaching was applied to the business arena, Walton was talking about making business a game, celebrating wins and constantly creating team spirit.
“I believe in always having goals, …in fact sometimes we have real scoreboards in the manager’s meetings”, he says.
And on the topic of teams, “If you want to build an enterprise of any size at all, it almost goes without saying that you absolutely must create a team of people who work together, and give real meaning to that overused word ‘teamwork’.”
On the topic of communication Walton has this to say, “If you had to boil down the Wal-Mart system to one single idea, this would probably be it because it is one of the real keys to our success…Nowadays I see management articles aobut information sharing as a new source of power in corporations. We’ve been doing this from the days when we only had a handful of stores.”
On a local level, Lori, owner of Total Wellness Austin is following Walton’s example of setting goals, creating team spirit, and enforcing ground rules in the office. Her ground rules are posted on the office wall,
“1. Everyone Sells,
2. No Complaining, No Blaming,
3. Light each other up!!!
4. When you are in the ofice you are on the TEAM, and
5. HAVE FUN!!”
Frequent team meetings, coaching and encouraging her staff to initiate projects that bring out their inner drive give her office a spirit of sizzle…which carries over to the clients who come in for treatment. She also is constantly stepping back to get perspective and see if all her team is playing full-out. She is willing to give feedback and make tough decisions if a player is not a good fit for her team.
Both examples of business leadership show that whether you are a team of four or five people…or several hundred thousand, it takes constant awareness, an ability to read the terrain and profound people skills to grow a successful organization.