This exercise will spur discussion concerning who
is the most important person in an organization. It looks at
the levels of leadership from entry to c-suite. Start by
reading the following story.

Sam Walton is one of my heroes. He founded the retail giant
Walmart. Sam was a great leader because he understood
that no one in any organization was less important than
anyone else.

Walton was the founder and CEO of the company yet he
truthfully did not believe he was more important than the
store manager or the stock clerk or the cashier or the person
that swept the floor.

Without a strong buyer locating great products at an
outstanding price why would a customer enter Walmart’s
doors? Where would the store be if the person sweeping the
floor did not do a great job? It is not this person’s efforts that
make the store inviting to the customer? And without the
stock clerk diligently and accurately stocking the shelves
how would the customer find what the buyer had ordered?
And if the cashier did not properly great the customer and
accurately tally the purchase with a smile would the customer
feel welcomed and the efforts of the buyer and stock clerk –
and Walton himself – be successful?

Walton’s accurate point is that each person must see their
contribution to their employer as a value added component
of their company’s success. This is an absolute. It is true
because we must recognize our own contributions and feel
good about them.

Leader: This experiential learning discussion will ask the
questions to personalize this to each participant. In large
groups this can be discussed in small groups for ten
minutes before a 10 minute debrief. In smaller or coaching
sessions allow up to ten minutes for discussion.

After reading the above article open the floor of your
workshop, team meeting, or other developmental event to
discussion. Ask these questions to help participants apply
Walton’s view to their workplace or team.

  1. In your organization is there real or perceived bias that
    supervisors consider themselves more important than
  2. What does an entry level person in your organization
    do that nobody else will do, or even dos not know how
    to do?
  3. What can each participant do to convey the
    importance of all employees that do not think they are
    as important (or their ideas and knowledge is as
    important) as those at other levels?

Related resources:
Importance: Who's
more important?