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Focus on People During Your Digital Transformation Says Walmart CEO

2 minutes, 36 seconds read

There’s no denying the world is facing a digital transformation. Diverse industries around the world are moving more systems online and streamlining more processes through automation. However, Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon pointed out on a recent episode of the Tim Ferriss Show that becoming a digital enterprise should only change the way companies work, not what companies do. As McMillon emphasized, it’s important that companies driving a digital transformation not lose sight of their humanity.

“The thing that will cause us to win is our humanity,” McMillon commented during the podcast. “Yes, we need to learn how to become a digital enterprise. But we understand we’re a company made up of 2.2 million associates and that human interaction in the future will matter.”

McMillon acknowledge that automation must play a role in streamlining certain mundane tasks that may not appeal to human workers. However, human workers are part of the appeal for shoppers who are looking for an experience. There’s a reason that people know Walmart as much for its greeters as its low prices. The store creates a human connection with consumers from the first moment shoppers walk through the door.

As McMillon put it, Walmart aims to create “this sense that you can have when you come to a place — and we hope it’s a store sometimes — where you interact with others and [feel] special and warm and safe. If we can do that while delivering good prices and all the other stuff we’ve got to do, we’ve got an advantage.”

The Heart of Every Company

We can relate to that. After all, people are at the heart of our mission at Rever: We believe that humans are governed by rational intellect, driven by emotional passion, and guided by moral character to accomplish great things. We are privileged to work with people committed to making the world a better place, one new idea at a time.

Sure, technology is critical to keeping companies competitive. However, it’s important to keep in mind that people are at the heart of every company. They are not only consumers, but also mission drivers. When companies leverage their digital transformation to support workers, rather than replace them, they gain the insight of the minds that best know the product.

You can’t expect digital solutions to solve a company’s problems on their own. McMillon pointed to digital community-makers like Nextdoor and Facebook as a case in point. While these platforms create a digital sense of community there are clear flaws in relying solely on digital connectedness. You might say the same of purely digital manufacturing experiences — it takes insight from people to drive real digital improvements.

“It’s that personal interaction, that sense of community, that I think people will want in the future,” McMillon said.

We couldn’t agree more.

Want more insight? You can listen to the full conversation from the Tim Ferriss Show, #345 here.

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