Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE

Posted by Orrin Woodward on August 21, 2011

Here is a snippet from the new RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE book coming out November 1. Sam Walton is one of my favorite all-time business men because he endured so many setbacks and criticisms on his way to massive success. Enjoy. Orrin Woodward

Walton, after a decade of being the Butler Brothers top performer, began to chafe under their rigid bureaucracy and mismanagement. The Butler Brothers, who at the time made huge profits with their business model, seemed incapable of recognizing the impending,  competitive threat from discounting stores to their variety store chain. But Walton, not suffering from the myopia, recognized before others that the variety stores chains must adapt or die. The billionaire Butler Brothers, in a hubris induced coma, preferred to play it safe. They may have secured higher margins temporarily, but ultimately, they destroyed their business by not responding to the “creative destruction” inherent in the free enterprise system.

Walton anticipated the future, realizing the days of high margins were following the dinosaur into extinction becoming a fatality of the discount store’s more competitively priced business model. Walton flew up to the Butler Brothers’ office in Chicago, proposing a partnership with them to launch a discount model. He wasn’t far into his presentation when he mentioned the margins would have to be cut from the typical 25% plus to around 12.5% or less of the sale’s price. This terminated the meeting. Walton recalled, “They blew up,” not willing to risk their easy profits; choosing instead, to ride out the variety store model into business oblivion. Exasperated, Walton explained that the profits would be made up on volume; that the high margins were going away regardless, but the Butler Brothers, blinded by the past, rejected the new reality along with Walton.

Not easily dismayed, Walton flew to Texas, hoping to become a franchiser of Herb Gibson, the highly successful discounter at the time. Gibson however, rejected Walton outright, seeing Walton, “as a bush-league variety-store merchant who possessed neither the finances nor the experience necessary to succeed in the Gibson chain.” Not surprisingly, it’s the revolutionary leaders with the largest of visions who must endure endless criticism from those who profit from the past, who stand to lose the most if the leader’s vision is fulfilled.  Walton, with every avenue possible rejected, did what all revolutionary leaders do in this situation – he did it anyway. In fact, 95% of the money for the original Walmart came from Walton himself; simply because no one else believed enough in his vision to invest.

7 Responses to “RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE”

  1. Jason Frega said

    Love the anyway poem, and how it completely fits here and more importantly for the entire concept of LIFE.

    “You wanna become somebody? Do it.”

  2. Richard Kroll Jr. said

    Orrin, congratulations on finishing your book! The Sam Walton story sounds excitingly “familiar”!! I can’t wait until the book comes out to read the rest of it. And for 11-1-11!!!

  3. Robby Palmer said

    There’s a lot of us out here rooting for you. I’m not quite sure how you’ve done it, but you’ve made your character known, even to the little guys like me. I thank you for paving the road, and I don’t know that I dis anything to deserve the blessings that are coming our way, just by following a system you co-created. Crazy….. A system for humans, that works!! God bless you Orrin Woodward!

  4. Charlie Mallios said

    Oh man! Thank God you’re tough enough. We are so proud to be part of big vision.

  5. Great lesson on leadership.

    Thanks Clayton!

  6. Greg Johnson said


    I can’t help but somehow recognize a similar situation as the Butler Brothers rejecting the idea that they need to cut their profit margins to remain competitive in an ever changing market. That is what breeds competition, what one rejects, another embraces. Due to the inspiring efforts of so many brave and visionary leaders of the TEAM, led by a visionary Policy Council, I can see the beginning of a Whole New Industry emerging.

    Let history note the date 11-1-11
    Carpe` Diem

    Greg & Lin Johnson
    TEAM Rhino

  7. Orrin, you are one of the legendary leaders in route. Just like Sam, who took a cut in profits to create something great that everyone knows about, you and the excellent minds you surround yourself with (Jesus Christ, Chris Brady, Tim Marks, etc) are about to create something great, where you take a cut in profit for the vision at hand. And yet. your vision is greater still! For you pave the path for the common man to become uncommon, come to know Jesus, become a leader, make a difference, make some money, and have some fun!

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