Over the past 17 years, thirteen with Walmart and now almost four with the Chamber of Commerce, I have seen many books or articles on “How to be Successful” but I have never written my own thoughts, and today I thought, what the heck, let’s give it a try.
I spent 13 years with Walmart, and retired in 2010, played golf for a couple of months, and then I interviewed for the Chamber of Commerce. Now, I could give you a long explanation of how I was successful at Walmart, but the short answer is this, I knew I had to work harder than other managers, I had to take on more responsibility than anyone else, and I took every opportunity to attend leadership classes at Walmart along with reading every leadership book that was available. I found that the message was always the same, take care of your people, and they will take care of your customers. Be a servant leader, and don’t be afraid of change. So I carried those thoughts throughout my thirteen years with Walmart, and I retired as a store manager of my hometown Walmart.
In July 2010, I became the Executive Director at the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, and I could have probably sat back and ran the office, take care of our members, cut ribbons for grand openings, have business after hours, and probably our board of directors would have been happy. That didn’t happen, after being in the job for about 3 months, I suddenly realized that this was my chance to once again make a difference. So with the help of a fantastic board and staff, we started to change things at the chamber to be more successful. How did we do that? by challenging the status quo, never be afraid to change things, and wow did we change things. Over the past 3 years and 6 months we have increased our membership, changed every one of our events, added events, and added programs that benefited not only our membership but the entire business community.
So my new leadership message was taking care of our membership, and they will take care of our town. Today for the first time in years our unemployment is under 7%, and we do want that number to go lower, and I know it will. Remember that servant leadership message? I still try to do that every day.
Now the last thing that I am going to tell you to be successful isn’t for everyone, you have to be thinking of your job 7/24. I know that probably isn’t for everyone, but over the past three years, I have been complemented for the job I did as a Walmart store manager, and my success was based on that 7/24 rule. You can still devote time to your family, but I did consider Walmart associates my family and our staff at the chamber as my family, so that is how I do things.
I guess I will close with these words, you have to decide what you want out of life, and I wanted more, and I wanted challenges, and thanks to Walmart and the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce I have had plenty of challenges that really gave me a lot of satisfaction. So, to be successful, take care of your people, be a servant leader, don’t be afraid of change and I will leave this optional, be a 7/24 leader.
Have a great day!!