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DAVID GLASS: “When Sam feels a certain way, he is relentless. He will just wear you out. He will bring up an idea, we’ll all discuss it and then decide maybe that it’s not something we should be doing right now— or ever. Fine. Case closed. But as long as he is convinced that it is the right thing, it just keeps coming up— week after week after week— until finally everybody capitulates and says, well, it’s easier to do it than to keep fighting this fight. I guess it could be called management by wearing you down.”
If you take someone who lacks the experience and the know-how but has the real desire and the willingness to work his tail off to get the job done, he’ll make up for what he lacks. And that proved true nine times out of ten.
You’ve got to give folks responsibility, you’ve got to trust them, and then you’ve got to check on them.
If you’re good to people, and fair with them, and demanding of them, they will eventually decide you’re on their side.
“I’ve always felt that to Sam, the people in the stores — the managers and the associates — are the kings. He loves them. And there’s no doubt they feel they have an open door to him. He’ll go out on store visits, and when he gets back he’ll call me and say, ‘Give this boy a store to manage. He’s ready.’ Then I’ll express some concern about the person’s experience level or whatever, and he’ll say, ‘Give him one anyway. Let’s see how he does.’
Helen and I picked up several ideas on a trip we took to Korea and Japan in 1975. A lot of the things they do over there are very easy to apply to doing business over here. Culturally, things seem so different — like sitting on the floor eating eels and snails — but people are people, and what motivates one group generally will motivate another.
Whether it’s Saturday morning meetings or stockholders’ meetings or store openings or just normal days, we always have tried to make life as interesting and as unpredictable as we can,
Then there’s the World Championship Moon Pie Eating Contest. I already told you how I pushed Moon Pies as my item one year and sold $6 million worth. But the Moon Pie contest started back in 1985, when John Love, an assistant manager at the time in Oneonta, Alabama, accidentally ordered four or five times more Moon Pies than he intended to and found himself up to his eyeballs in them. Desperate, John came up with the idea of a Moon Pie Eating Contest as a way to move the Moon Pies out before they went bad on him. Who would have thought something like that would catch on? Now it’s an annual event, held every fall— on the second Saturday in October— in the parking lot of our Oneonta store. It draws spectators from several states and has been written up in newspapers and covered by television literally all over the world.
Take our Saturday morning meetings, for example. Without a little entertainment and a sense of the unpredictable, how in the world could we ever have gotten those hundreds of people— most of our managers and some associates from the general offices here in Bentonville— to get up every Saturday morning and actually come in here with smiles on their faces? If they knew all they could expect in that meeting was somebody droning on about comparative numbers, followed by a serious lecture on the problems of our business, could we have kept the meeting alive? No way.
Don’t get me wrong. We don’t get up and go down there just to have fun. That Saturday morning meeting is very much about business. Its purpose is to let everyone know what the rest of the company is up to. If we can, we find heroes among our associates in the stores and bring them in to Bentonville, where we praise them in front of the whole meeting. Everybody likes praise, and we look for every chance we can to heap it on somebody. But I don’t like to go to the meeting and hear about just the good things that are happening. I like to hear what our weaknesses are, where we aren’t doing as well as we should and why. I like to see a problem come up and then hear suggestions as to how it can be corrected. If we decide were doing something wrong, and the solution is obvious, we can order changes right then and carry them out over the weekend, while most everybody else in the retail business is off.
Про совещания субботним утром
Al Miles: ... he uses it for basically three purposes: to share information, to lighten everybody’s load, and to rally the troops. Believe it or not, the majority of our folks wouldn’t miss a Saturday morning meeting for anything.”
For the meeting to work, it has to be something of a show. We don’t ever want to let it become predictable. One day, we might do a few calisthenics. Another day we might sing. Or maybe do the Razorback cheer. We don’t want to plan it all out. We just want it to unfold. It is so unconventional that I don’t think anyone could really duplicate it even if they wanted to. We have lots of guests, and our folks never know who’s going to be there. One day we might have an executive from a company we do business with. It might be somebody they never heard of from some small entrepreneurial outfit with a good idea, or it might be somebody like Jack Welch, the CEO of GE. On the other hand, it might be the comedian Jonathan Winters, who started coming to promote Hefty Bags, one of our vendors’ products, and has returned several times.
“One of the real values of our meeting is its spontaneity. We never really have an agenda. Of course the chairman always has his yellow legal pad with notes scribbled on it of things he wants to discuss, and some of the rest of us do the same thing. But one of the things Sam will do is just call someone up at the start and say, ‘Okay, you conduct the whole meeting today.’ And that meeting will take on the personality of whoever’s running it. That way, there’s always a sense of anticipation. Something unusual may happen, or somebody may pull off something great.”
— Если по сути, то чувак просто очень быстро работал, был нереально нетерпелив и ставил нереалистичные цели. И заражал окружающих тем, что был всегда в курсе всех дел.
— Всем своим сотрудникам он дал возможность после определённого срока работы покупать акции компании. Очень разумная вещь.
— Довольно поучительная история, как Сэм ушёл на пенсию и оставил всё двум менеджерам, но очень скоро выяснилось, что «старая гвардия» любит одно менеджера, а «молодые менеджеры» — другого. Он после этого пишет, что «The truth is, I failed at retirement worse than just about anything else I’ve ever tried».
— Чем больше читаешь, тем очевиднее становится, что они схватились за по сути одну простую идею (дискаунтеры в мелких городах), и упоролись ею настолько, что работали по 60-70 часов в неделю на результат. За счёт этого обогнали всех остальных игроков, кто имел больше стартовый капитал, делал то же самое, но медленно и неповоротливо. Мысль простая как топор — украсть лучшие идеи у конкурентов и просто вбивать в них всё время, которое позволяет здоровье.
— Заставить в субботу утром приходить на совещания — это конечно подвиг. Но единственный способ это реализовать — устраивать из совещаний шоу. Если дать людям шоу, легче потом с ними обсуждать насущные проблемы