Based on my research of Sam Walton and my previous work experience at Wal-Mart I believe that Sam would be classified as a “controller.” Sam was eagerly ambitious and extremely competitive. Competition was what drove him to create many of his innovative retail practices such as discounting. Sam was extremely strong-willed and when faced with an obstacle he would always come up with a way around it. He was quick to respond to his competitors and that helped make him so successful. He was extremely intelligent and used this to reach logical solutions when faced with problems.
Sam’s secondary behavior characteristic is that of a “promoter.” He was able to use enthusiasm to persuade people to invest in his retail dream. He was able to motivate his employees with his friendly manner. As an employee of Wal-Mart I was able to participate in and somewhat enjoy the Wal-Mart cheer. Sam’s “aw shucks” persona made people feel at home and participate in such motivating activities. He used his imagination and creativity to build his retail empire.
The dust bowl caused many people to lose their farms and one of his father’s jobs was to repossess these farms for the bank. As a youngster Sam saw first-hand the devastating effects of being poor; this made him work even harder so he would never have to face poverty. Another major turning point for Sam was when he built up his first successful store and then had to abandon his efforts because the owner of the building would not renew his lease. The owner wanted to give the store to his son. Sam eventually opened another store in that same town and forced the rival store to go out-of-business. Sam always learned from his misfortunes and from that point on he leased all of his properties for 99 years. If Sam would have listened to his first boss who told him that retail was not the business for him, we wouldn’t have Wal-Mart today.
McHenry, S. (1998, December 7). Sam Walton. Time. Retrieved January 30, 2009 from http://www.time.com/time/time100/builder/profile/walton.html
Thompson, M. (Writer), & Cascio, M. (Director/Producer). (1997). A & E Biography-Sam Walton Bargain Billionaire [Television Series Episode]. New York: A&E Television Networks.