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Minding the details at Walmart

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in Leaders & Managers

With a $408 billion business, you would think that Mike Duke, CEO of Walmart, couldn’t possibly keep an eye on the details. Not so.

At a recent Walmart morning meeting for 900, the CEO decided to bring up a problem he had spotted with the ladies’ underwear section.

“Is Anne Marie Kehoe here this morning?” he asked, microphone in hand, turning to look for one of his merchandising executives.

“Anne Marie, how’s our in-stock? Yesterday, I asked about our in-stock in ladies’ underwear, and it wasn’t as good as we wanted. So I was going to see if we had improved any in the last 24 hours.”

Kehoe explained that Duke had been in a few of the chain’s 8,500-plus stores and noticed that the underwear section was not fully stocked. Turns out that Hanes was having difficulty meeting customers’ demand. Kehoe’s team was already on top of it.

Duke said he’d confirmed what Kehoe said was true—he’s a “trust but verify” sort of guy. “And that’s why I’m complimenting her today,” he announced—in front of 900 employees.

— Adapted from “Meet the CEO of the biggest company on earth,” Brian O’Keefe, Fortune.

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