Humble Leaders

Choose Humility

In order to effectively challenge people towards excellence, leaders need to earn their respect. According to Brett Biggs, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Walmart, the best way to do that is through leadership that models humility.

Brett Biggs is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Walmart where he is responsible for accounting and control, corporate strategy and development, business planning and analysis, internal auditing, treasury, tax, global shared services and several other key areas of the company.

Brett shared Walmart's four basic beliefs:
  1. Integrity
  2. Strive for excellence
  3. Take care of your customers
  4. Treat people with respect
While these are deeply biblical concepts, they extend universally as true for all people and never force the choice between personal values and those expected in the workplace. 

How do the basic beliefs of your company influence its culture? How do your people respond to them?
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What level of importance do you place on integrity in the workplace? In what ways do you communicate the expectation of integrity among your people? How does integrity or its absence affect the culture of your organization?
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Brett explained that the basic belief's of an organization will only endure through its leadership. As you consider your own leadership, would you say you model well the basic beliefs of your company? Why or why not? What steps could you take towards improving in the coming weeks?
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Creating a culture of integrity requires a personal cultivation of integrity on the part of a leader. People become what they follow so it is crucial for leadership to ensure they are modeling their basic beliefs well. In the same way, it is important for leaders to challenge their people with expectations for excellence. 

Setting expectations helps motivate people towards excellence. Most people desire the challenge and when they achieve something they would not have pursued otherwise, it creates a mutual sense of accomplishment within an organization. 

What are some of the specific expectations you set for your people? How are those expectations communicated on a regular basis? What effects do they have on their work?
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As Brett shared, an important part of managing expectations is being transparent when things aren't going well. In what ways do you model transparency with your people? How open are you with sharing challenging times in your company?
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What does pursuing excellence look like in your organization? In what ways do you strive to model excellency as a leader? What can you take from what Brett shared to grow in your leadership?
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When leaders model the basic beliefs of their companies, they inspire their people towards excellence. Consistency and transparency are key. Consider your own model to determine whether or not there are ways for you to close the gap between your values and those of your organization. Commit to modeling what you expect of your people.

See more from Brett in his course It Starts at the Top: Faith and Work Integrated.