2 Million Smiles

Today was the annual Shareholder’s meeting for Walmart. The event is always a spectacle to behold.

About 20,000 people descend on Northwest Arkansas to attend the Friday Shareholder’s meeting after a week of all kinds of events. The entertainment is first rate and our executives are in top form as they rally the crowd.

Associates travel in from all over the globe and bring a vibrant enthusiasm to the venue. In fact, they are still fired up! I’m sitting here in the airport terminal writing this post and I’ve heard at least 3 loud Walmart cheers in the terminal where they are waiting to depart and return to their homes.

It was in one of the Shareholder Meeting presentations that I heard something that has been rattling around in my head all day.

It was a quick comment. You would have missed it if you weren’t paying attention. Here it is:

“If one person smiles it’s contagious. If 2.1 million people smile, it’s an epidemic.”

They were speaking in reference to our corporate culture and of the 2 million plus people that make up our great company.

What it meant to me was that one person doing something great makes a difference locally. A group of people doing something great has the power to change the world.

As leaders, we should always be cognizant of our actions and strive to positively impact those around us; even with something as simple as a smile.

But as leaders, we should also be building our organizations to make a positive difference. We do this through the culture that we build, the environment we create, the expectation we set, the people we develop, the emphasis we place on what’s important, and the example that we provide.

As leaders, we need to focus closely on both. Be contagious. Start an epidemic. Make a difference. Transform the world. Smile.




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