Leader: 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.
In your organization is there real or perceived bias that supervisors consider themselves more important than others?
What does an entry level person in your organization do that nobody else will do, or even dos not know how to do?
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?