MAKE SURE THAT THE COMPANY HAS A CLEAR VISION STATEMENT, AND THAT IT GETS COMMUNICATED THROUGHOUT THE COMPANY. Walton's vision was known by just about every Wal-Mart associate throughout the company. It is critical that employees and managers know the vision.
ALLOCATE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME EACH AND EVERY WEEK TO STUDY WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING, AS WELL AS STUDY ANY OTHER BUSINESS THAT MIGHT YIELD GOOD IDEAS. Studying competitors was vintage Walton. He never stopped learning from them, and he attributed his best ideas to rivals. Make it a habit to write down the best ideas you glean from the competition and to share those ideas with your colleagues and direct reports. Figure out how those ideas can help your business.
WORKING WITH THE IDEAS YOU HAVE WRITTEN DOWN, FIGURE OUT WAYS IN WHICH YOU CAN BUILD ON THEM TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING FRESH AND NEW. Enlist others in your organization to work with you to build on the knowledge culled from the marketplace. Remember that Walton learned something from every store he walked into—even the "godawful" ones.
MAKE SURE YOUR INFORMATION SYSTEMS ENABLE YOU AND YOUR ORGANIZATION TO OPERATE AT MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY. Even though Walton was not a true believer at first, he eventually realized that the faster he and his managers received good information, the faster they could put it to good use.
HIRE FOR ATTITUDE, NOT NECESSARILY EXPERIENCE. While Walton did not underestimate the importance of experience, he searched for employees who shared his zest for business. If you are given the choice of two job applicants with reasonably similar qualifications, hire the one with the best attitude, even if he or she has less directly relevant experience.