scorecardWalmart's CEO, who started on the company's loading docks, shares 3 tips for how to move up the corporate ladder
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Walmart's CEO, who started on the company's loading docks, shares 3 tips for how to move up the corporate ladder

Dominick Reuter   

Walmart's CEO, who started on the company's loading docks, shares 3 tips for how to move up the corporate ladder
Retail2 min read

Doug McMillon is a rare phenomenon in modern business.

Not only does his career span a remarkable four decades with the same company, he's on the short list of CEOs who started on the very bottom rung of the corporate ladder.

From earning $6.50 an hour unloading Walmart trucks in 1984, McMillon has spent the past decade in the top job of the largest company in the world.

He now earns over $25 million per year overseeing a global operation of 2.1 million employees, more than 10,000 retail stores, and annual sales of $648 billion.

One question McMillon says he's often asked is how to rise through the ranks like he did.

In an interview with the Stratechery Podcast, he offered three tips:

Do your job well

"Don't take your current job for granted," he said. "The next job doesn't come if you don't do the one you've got well."

McMillon said he wrote a memo in the early 1990s asking to work with a division that was exploring how to adapt retail to the internet age.

"The answer that I got back was, 'Go back to work young man. You've got a lot to learn about retail.' So I did and it turned out great," he said.

Help your team

"Be a great teammate — you learn how to lead, you learn how to influence by the way you interact with your peers," he said. "Treat them well, help them, help them do a better job."

McMillon recalled visiting a store in South Dakota during the pandemic in 2020 where the manager had hired 40 bartenders and waiters who had just lost their jobs.

That store manager's decision to hire so many workers in a tough spot ultimately helped the company better fulfill the surge of online orders that followed.

"It was pretty dramatic and I think the team did a fantastic job," McMillon said.

Step up for new challenges

"Volunteer for something extra, volunteer for something hard," McMillon said.

He added that part of why he had opportunities to advance was because he would offer to step in for his boss in meetings while they were traveling or otherwise busy.

"I became a low risk promotion because people had already seen me do the job," he said.

Do you work at Walmart? Contact Dominick Reuter via email or text/call/Signal at 646-768-4750. Responses will be kept confidential, and Business Insider strongly recommends using a personal email and a non-work device when reaching out.




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