Item description for Wal-Smart: What It Really Takes to Profit in a Wal-Mart World by William H. Marquard...
Wal-Smart is not just a book about Wal-Mart. It's about the principles of leadership in a Wal-Mart economy. Wal-Smart equips leaders, managers, and anyone in the business community with the essential strategies that really work to survive and thrive in this brave, new Wal-Mart world.
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Release Date Dec 25, 2007
Publisher American Media International
ISBN 193330961X ISBN13 9781933309613
Reviews - What do customers think about Wal-Smart: What It Really Takes to Profit in a Wal-Mart World?
An excellent book that attempts to dig beneath the apparent veneer of the organization. Nov 16, 2007
Overall a good book that establishes the groundwork by examining how the world that we live in (the "Wal-Mart world) actually got created. The author attempts to explain that the much talked about stuff like an efficient logistics system, low costs etc. may be "perceived" to be the drivers of success but that the true drivers are behind these factors. These are simply "visible" competitive advantages which are being driven by "hidden" management DNA. Having established that groundwork, the author then attempts to make us understand what the smart choices are in various dimensions of the business world as suppliers, employers, competitors and community members. Each of these four dimensions is explained through stories of winners and losers. An excellent book that attempts to dig beneath the apparent veneer of the organization.
Playing with Big Boxes Nov 8, 2007
If you `play' in the consumer products/retail market - the sandbox of the `big boxes' - this book is for you. In this informative, enjoyable, well written, easy to read and exceptionally well structured (easy to read in numerous sittings without losing the context or flow) book, consultant Bill Marquard offers advice on numerous strategic fronts.
1. He provides advice on strategic decision making - chose what not to do, chose what to do, and chose with intentionality (means commitment to me). 2. He tells us how Wal-Mart transformed our world thru its; pervasive nature, pioneering new rules of the game, redefining customer expectations, and its ability to set the agenda for suppliers. 3. He restates the keys to success for Wal-Mart - focus (the business is running one store at a time), correction of errors (how to do it better tomorrow), constructive paranoia (who is ahead of us), thrift, and a `we can make it better' attitude (reuse others ideas, better) 4. And in Part II he advises on strategic thinking in this new consumer products world. This part is a particularly well constructed discussion, where he links competitor strategy and vendor strategy and employer strategy and community strategy, suggesting what key questions must be answered correctly to win: * A Big Box competitor strategy requires winning decisions on: How to differentiate, What to emulate, Where to dominate. * A Big Box vendor strategy must address: What to leverage, How to invest, Where to diversify. * A Big Box employer strategy should consider: How to reward, How to impassion, How to help them grow. * A Big Box community strategy must include: Where to belong, How to align, How to engage.
Because the consumer marketing world - any business sector world, for that matter - moves at such a rapid pace, specific strategic ideas found in a book, any book, are outdated before the ink is dry. While Marquard does provide specifics, it is the conceptual thinking and his clarity that make this book worth the time to read.
Dennis DeWilde, author of "The Performance Connection"
Find the "And": This Is Not a Zero-Sum Game May 6, 2007
When I began to read this book, I incorrectly assumed that William H. Marquard would focus his attention almost entirely on Wal-Mart when, in fact, his objective is to suggest what lessons can be learned from this extraordinary successful company, lessons that could be of substantial value to almost all other companies, regardless of size or nature. As Marquand observes, the primary message of Wal-Smart is that "we all must make smart choices - intentionally and explicitly - to profit in a global marketplace that is dominated not only by Wal-Mart but also by many [other] giants of industry. The message in short is: Choose or lose."
He carefully organizes his material as follows: Within the first half of the book, he suggests "why we ended up in a Wal-Mart world by explaining the elements of Wal-Mart's success that few people see...it is what's behind the scenes that really makes the difference in creating [various] visible advantages" such as its efficient logistics, low cost structure, and everyday-low-price perception. Then in the second half, Marquard responds to a challenge which all business leaders face: "Now that we are enmeshed in the Wal-Mart world, what are we going to do about it?" he prescribes a number of "compelling strategies" that can guide and inform "smart choices" as competitors, suppliers, employers, and community members. More specifically, Jacquard suggests how to examine options, how to choose the right ones, and how to "win" (if necessary) a second chance to succeed. "Smart choices" must be (as they continue to be within the Wal-Mart organization) explicit and intentional, then executed them consistently to increase the chances of success.
Marquard asserts that the first step in the decision-making process is to choose what not to do -- and that includes (for nearly all organizations) not competing directly with Wal-Mart - before choosing what to do. Once these decisions are made, it is imperative to sustain their implementation throughout the given enterprise with a firm commitment and sufficient resources. Long ago, I decided that strategies are analogous with hammers and that tactics are analogous with nails. The former drive the latter and, if (huge "if") well-chosen, should remain constant whereas the latter may need to be modified or even replaced to accommodate changes within the competitive marketplace.
With all due respect to the importance of what Marquard calls "intentionality" of purpose, decision-makers must also be both willing and able to piece together wisdom from diverse and often disparate places. "Effective strategies come from making connections, from synthesizing, from melding choices in ways that no other company has - or can. When make one choice [begin italics] and [end italics] link it to another [begin italics] and [end italics] link it to another, we eventually craft a mosaic that evokes a more compelling, more complete image than any strategic piece taken individually ever could." When making explicit, intentional choices, therefore, find the "and" which connects all strategies so that they can work effectively together.
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check our Ram Charan's Know-How: The 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform from Those Who Don't, Lynda Gratton's Hot Spots: Why Some Teams, Workplaces, and Organizations Buzz with Energy - And Others Don't, Robert J. Herbold's Seduced by Success: How the Best Companies Survive the 9 Traps of Winning, Jagdish N. Sheth's The Self-Destructive Habits of Good Companies...and How to Break Them, Charles G. Koch's The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World's Largest Private Company, Jack Alexander's Performance Dashboards and Analysis for Value Creation, Michael Useem's The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide--Knowing What to Do and When to Do It, and Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution by Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David Robertson.
Wal-Smart: What It Really Takes to Profit in a Wal-Mart World Mar 9, 2007
Bill provides great insight into the challenges and opportunities for competing in the 21st century. I appreciate the easy-to-read style and practical examples. I recommend the book to all.
WAL-SMART is a worthwhile read! Feb 14, 2007
Bill's brilliantly written book, WAL-SMART, sheds new light on Wal-Mart's business culture DNA and how companies can profit in the Wal-Mart world we live in.
Marquard reasons Wal-Mart has changed the business landscape not just now -- but forever. And if competing businesses fail to recognize how Wal-Mart has changed the rules of doing business, then Marquard says these businesses are choosing to lose. Businesses choose to lose because they fail to address how Wal-Mart has conditioned new expectations from competing businesses, suppliers/distributors, employees, and local communities.
If you are responsible for managing business activities of any retailer or any supplier/distributor, I implore you to read WAL-SMART. It's chock-full of smart strategy musings which will help you better compete against any big dog dominant company in your competitive set. WAL-SMART is a worthwhile read!