Reading from Vance Trimble’s biography of Sam Walton this morning I found a great description of what keeps great leaders great.
David Glass, who would someday become the CEO of Wal-Mart, had just watched Sam Walton pull off a TERRIBLE store opening in Harrison, Arkansas. After observing the fiasco, he said, “It was the worst retail store I had ever seen”, and walked away from Walton’s offer of employment.
After returning, and ultimately becoming the CEO, he said of Walton,
The thing that I underestimated about Sam is that he has an overriding something in him that causes him to improve every day. That’s not difficult when you have something as bad as he had in Harrison, but sometimes you achieve success and say, “Boy, now I got it like I want it. Now I can lay back a little and enjoy it.” Sam has never done that. As long as I have known him, he has never gotten to the point where he is comfortable with who he is or how we are doing.
Great leaders/people perpetuate greatness by maintaining a constant state of evolution.