Social Media is Doug McMillon’s Yellow Notepad

By Dan Bartlett
July 5, 2016
Sam Walton speaks with a crowd of associates while kneeling

Hearing our long-term associates share stories about Sam Walton is one of my favorite things about working at Walmart.

Almost every week for more than 30 years, he’d put on his trucker cap, grab his yellow notepad and hit the road, stopping at stores, clubs and distribution centers all over the country to recognize the great work our associates were doing and ask them for feedback on how to better serve our customers.

Sam understood the importance of appreciating and listening to our associates, and his yellow notepad became a symbol central to Walmart’s culture. Our CEO Doug McMillon saw it firsthand when he started his career at Walmart, unloading trucks at a warehouse in 1984. He wanted to keep the spirit of these practices alive 30 years later, when he stepped into Sam’s old office to lead this great company.

Like most of us, Doug takes his smartphone wherever he goes. And he has often remarked to me how blown away he is by how technology is enabling people to connect and share ideas like never before, across generations and continents and language barriers. 

Sam would have loved it. It’s one of the big reasons Doug joined Instagram last year.

Since then, Doug has traveled all over the world, visiting stores and meeting associates who are growing their careers with Walmart and doing great things for our customers in the process. And he’s shared many of their stories on Instagram.


Doug met Jeff at Store #564 in Oklahoma City, a true merchant who anticipated the spring seasonal needs of our customers. He met Tori at our Neighborhood Market in Bedford, Texas, who had recently been promoted to assistant manager and was doing a fantastic job. He spent time with the team in our Network Operations Center in Sunnyvale, California, who help make sure our website and apps deliver a great shopping experience for our customers around the globe. He got to share the stage with Purple Heart recipient Staff Sgt. Patrick Shannon from our Fishers, Indiana, store, who has since been promoted to lead a team of more than 1,000 people. He highlights those and many other stories in a new ad.

This May, Doug joined Facebook, too. It’s been awesome to see him connect with our associates and customers there, to get their feedback on what we’re doing right and what we could be doing better.

There’s more than one way to describe Walmart. We're a retailer and we’re a logistics company. We’re buyers and merchants. We’re a people business and a technology firm. Everything is connected, but our associates and customers are at the heart of it all. That’s why I’m excited to see Doug using Instagram and Facebook to share the great work we’re doing and to hear the ideas and feedback of associates and customers alike. We should all embrace innovation. Just like Sam did.

Our notepad may look different today, but what it represents will never change.