Great Expectations Grow Businesses

Expect Great Things

Growth means progress. Stagnation spells the end of any business or organization, and Don Soderquist, retired COO of Walmart, knows this well. In the following video, Don looks at the importance of always improving. Listen as he describes what set Walmart apart from its competition: they dared to do things differently.

As a company, Walmart has always swum up stream. Governed by their culture of values, the leadership sought to pioneer new and effective ways to grow in the retail industry. They alway sought to improve on their success, and were never satisfied with the status quo.

What does the status quo look like in your business? What does dynamic improvement look like?
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What would prevent you as a leader from pushing your company to improve? How has your company shown improvement in the last year? In the last month?
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Despite the wild success Walmart enjoyed when he took the job as COO, Don still pushed his people and his company to do better. He always set high expectations for what his people could accomplish, and sometimes those goals seemed extravagant. He shares a story in this video of what that looked like.

Don points out that leaders often fail to set high enough expectations for their people. He admits that all goals should be realistic, but they should still push the people of the business to strive for improvement. In his story, Don set a goal that seemed unreasonable at first, but when the team achieved it, it inspired them to even greater feats. 

Do you set high expectations for your people? If not, why not? If so, what has happened in response to those expectations?
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What expectations do you set for yourself? How do your personal expectations affect your expectations for your people?
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Don pointed out that the only way high expectations result in excellent work is if the leader commits to empowering his or her people to actually reach those expectations. In his story, he committed the staff, finances, space, computers, and time necessary for his Recovery Team to meet their lofty goal. Because the team knew Don would do what they needed to meet the expectation he set, they felt confident in pursuing a high goal.

Describe a time where you were unable to meet an expectation because the leader refused to help in the process. How did that affect your view of the leader?
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Don stood by his promise to help his people, and it made all the difference. What do you think your teams could accomplish if you committed the resources and energy necessary to equip them to succeed?
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What is one way you can empower your people today to meet the expectations they work toward?
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High expectations push people to grow, to improve, and to innovate. But as a leader, you must be prepared to equip your people to meet those lofty goals. As you look at your own leadership and company, chase opportunities to empower you people to succeed, and celebrate when they do.

For more insights and teaching from Don Soderquist, check out the full course Leadership with a Purpose.  

For more great content from the Soderquist Leadership, visit their website, here

Download two free chapters of Don’s book, Live, Learn, Lead, here