The Sam Walton Way Speech

Leadership, People & Cultural Best Practices of Walmart

Michael Bergdahl addressing the South African Council of Shopping Centers in Durban, SA

Michael Bergdahl addressing the South African Council of Shopping Centers in Durban, SA


This speech is based on the book, The Sam Walton Way. Using storytelling, humor and inspirational verse Bergdahl unveils the actual best practices of the world’s largest company. Today Sam Walton’s company has more than 2.2 million employees making Walmart’s leadership team, people practices and company culture absolutely critical to the execution of the success strategy of the company. Audience members will learn “The Sam Walton Way is still The Walmart Way”. CLICK HERE for a downloadable, printable one-page summary of this speech


Michael Bergdahl's book, The Sam Walton Way

Michael Bergdahl’s book, The Sam Walton Way

Bergdahl was the Home Office Director of People at Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas. In that role he worked with and around Sam Walton. He learned Walmart’s unique leadership and people practices firsthand. One of the towering strengths of Sam Walton was his unique ability to gain the trust and support of the people around him. He called his customers “neighbors” or “guests” and he referred to the managers in his company as “coaches.” He referred to the employees of his company as Associates or business partners.

Sam Walton had three basic beliefs that have remained cultural anchors at Walmart to this day: 1) Respect for People, 2) Service to Customers, 3) Strive for Excellence. These beliefs are practiced daily in interactions with customers, between store, distribution center, and home office  Walmart team members. These three beliefs are also intertwined in all of Sam Walton’s leadership, people and cultural best practices. At the time of his death, Sam Walton was personally worth an estimated $100 billion!



In this speech, Bergdahl explains the leadership, people and cultural best practices of “The Walmart Way” with a focus on Sam Walton’s 3 core values. He discusses specific examples and actionable ideas audience members can take away from “The Sam Walton Way” and replicate to make their businesses even more successful. Conference participants will learn the actual techniques employed by Sam Walton, that are still used today, that propelled Walmart to become the World’s Largest Company! Video link:


The Sam Walton Way:
1) Respect for People
2) Service to Customers
3) Strive for Excellence


Michael Bergdahl, SPHR, is an international business speaker, turnaround specialist, and author of five books. Bergdahl has worked in HR for 25 years at Fortune 1000 companies including Walmart (#1), HQ Director of People, PepsiCo (#44), Group HR Manager, Waste Management (#217), VPHR, and American Eagle Outfitters (#703), VPHR. Early on in his career he also worked as a Plant HR & Safety Manager at J.M. Huber a privately owned $2 billion manufacturing company. He has spoken professionally at conferences in cities on six continents.


“Many thanks for a sensational session; you brought the conference home in a way that only someone of your caliber and experience could.” John Koot, Chemmart Pharmacies, Australia

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