So here's the
1. Stop defending and start examining. Begin a transparent process of looking into how the business has grown, in part, on the backs of the people it serves.
2. Fire your consultants. The last thing you want are fiercely partisan media manipulators.
3. Leverage your size to help your 1.6 million employees in unexpected ways. The public views you as resisting health insurance benefits because you are cheap and evil. Turn that around. Imagine the radical impact you could have on the marketplace and your brand optics if you focused your ruthless cost-cutting skills on HMOs, forcing them to crumble under the same margin pressure that you so regularly exert on vendors.
4. Talk to the unions. You've spent years fighting and villainizing them. That's a horrible mistake. It's time to think about the impossible: a solution that would let the unions in. Personally I think this is probably a bad idea as it would spook investors way too much and the stock might tank.
5. Support mom and pops. One of the more dramatic moments of the High Cost documentary is testimony from small-town business people feeling Wal-Mart's grip around their neck. It's part of the anti-Wal-Mart folklore, and guess what, it's accurate. Nobody likes to think about the little guy getting ground into hamburger by corporate entities and Wal-Mart's got a long history of this, it'll take some serious culture shift to stop doing this and figure out a way to support them while still making a buck.
All of these are well elaborated on and I've gotta say, they could do this, it would cut into their earnings per share but they could do it and they'd be a better and stronger company in the long run. I don't see Wal-Mart doing any of these but they could and should.
What do you think Wal-Mart should do to repair its tarnished and dirty image?
Tags: fix, Wal-Mart, Fast Company