Sam Walton was Latino!

Who has yet to hear of Sam Walton? The founder of Walmart is an iconic figure in the retail world.

Born in 1918 in Oklahoma, Walton began his career in a discount store during the Great Depression.

In 1962, he opened the first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas, with a vision of offering low prices and excellent customer service.

His legacy is reflected not only in Walmart’s global expansion, which reached global sales of nearly $650 billion this year but also in the core values he established that guide the company today.

After working 16 years for Walmart and Sam’s Club in Bentonville, Arkansas, and studying a lot about this leader and his values, I identified tremendously with the spirit of those principles and my Latino blood. And yes, sometimes I would say, “This Sam Walton was Latino!”

“Mr. Sam,” as they used to call him, knew that the business’s success depended on the development and motivation of his staff. This philosophy is crucial.

Effectively managing a team drives business results and creates a productive work environment, ensuring that our teams are stable, and we don’t lose talent easily.

Sam Walton’s values

I want to share with you Sam Walton’s four values and how to translate them into our culture:

– Respect for the individual

It is true that our Latin idiosyncrasy sometimes manifests itself as rebellious. However, we have a strong sense of respect above all hierarchies.

As a store leader, we must ensure that our teams feel respected, listened to, and valued. For example, having a recognition program for our employees is a first step.

– Customer service

Customer service is the heart of retail. Hispanics are undoubtedly hospitable. But are we just as hospitable in our stores?

As a manager, do you walk the aisles with your employees, focusing on customers and thanking them for their business?

Establishing a customer-first policy is essential. You can start with small actions such as making sure your staff always says “Good morning” and that the word “Thank you” is never missing at checkout.

– Pursuit of excellence

Pursuing excellence is rooted in many Latin traditions, where dedication and effort are highly valued. This means a constant commitment to improvement and innovation for our store managers. A simple way to begin this process is to meet once or twice a week with the entire team and encourage discussion of suggestions on how to improve and empower your people to implement those ideas successfully.

– Acting with integrity

Integrity is part of our essence. Being honest and transparent builds trust with both employees and customers.

Consistency is critical in how we behave about this value. Even when faced with difficult situations, firm and decisive actions make us grow as a company and set a significant example with our teams.

Related Article: The Power of Retail Media for Hispanic Supermarkets

The future of retail: More human experiences

When I think of Sam Walton’s values, I immediately confirm what the future holds: retail that is not only focused on providing quality products and services but also on creating more human experiences for both customers and employees:

1. Human experiences for customers

Respect and customer service enable us to deliver memorable experiences. Customers value feeling listened to and respected. It is time for us to think about how to personalize interactions with customers, remembering their preferences and offering specific recommendations. This not only enhances their shopping experience but also creates an emotional connection with the store.

2. Work experiences for employees

To provide better work experiences for employees, fostering an environment of respect, development and motivation is crucial. We want employees to be ambassadors and invite family and friends to work with us, which is a virtuous circle for growing our business.

So, the next time you visit Walmart or Sam’s Club, I invite you to look at how they operate based on these principles.

Learn from them and implement what makes sense for our organization. We have much to gain and nothing to lose.