The man who thought he was going to be Walmart’s US CEO, but didn’t. and that was ok

The man who thought he was going to be Walmart’s US CEO, but didn’t.  and that was ok

Imagine you think you become the CEO of a multinational retail company, only to realize that you are not right for the job. The same thing happened to Mike Smith, the co-founder and General Partner at Footwork, a venture capital firm targeting early stage startups, when he expected to fill the shoes of Walmart US’ CEO but was turned down for the role. by his then boss. Mike shared about the incident and what he learned from it in a recent LinkedIn post.

Smith wrote, “Being passed over for the CEO role at (Walmart USA) was arguably one of the best things that happened in my career. Here’s why…. It was the summer of 2011 and I was COO of after more than 8 years rising in the ranks, my boss had told me I would probably be the next CEO when he announced his resignation.”

He further noted that his boss asked him to meet him in his office the next morning and act surprised. The Footwork co-founder recalled: “During Tuesday’s meeting, my boss and his boss were both there. My boss started by saying, ‘I’ve decided to leave Look at my Academy Award-worthy performance. But then my boss said, “I’m leaving too. And you won’t be the next CEO.” “I was shocked and didn’t have to act. It was devastating. But it wasn’t heartbreaking.”


He added that this rejection by his outgoing boss was not “soul crushing” as his skills and talents were in high demand at the time. Smith further stated that this event prompted him to take stock of his strengths and weaknesses, sources from which he drew energy, and the situations or type of people that caused him to lose energy.

Smith said that through this incident, he discovered that he is “not a big company person” and that he felt the speed of a hyper-growth company would push him intellectually to the limit. Smith also said he learned that careers are rarely linear and that failures can give you the best opportunities to learn more about yourself.

Towards the end of his post, he wrote, “Crush the next chance you get and hopefully with a healthy chip on your shoulder.”

Users praised Smith for his optimism and the Pity City analogy in his post. One user commented, “Great post and the pitiful city analogy is so perfect. Every so-called setback or missed opportunity I’ve had in my professional career has been nothing but a success in hindsight and the reason why I’m where I am now People often hate self-misery instead of picking themselves up and realizing their own worth, uniqueness and strengths.”

Another user wrote: “I like the perspective. I have a rule that allows a 24 hour stop in Pity City if this sort of thing happens. It’s unreasonable not to be upset right now, but I’m giving myself 24 hour to be upset, angry, disappointed or frustrated then it’s time to decide which way to go to the next city It’s hard to see the destination on a long car ride and some cities suck more than others. The journey can ultimately make the destination much more pleasant.”

Also read: ‘Enthralling stories, fragments from history’: Tata Group employee shares glimpses of Tata Central Archives

Also read: ‘Why I quit my job to study at Harvard’: 5 reasons for the switch from startup founder


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