A lot has happened in the past 35 days, culminating with a recent picture of the President & CEO of the largest company in the world “Sparking” in his office… But what is it? Where did it come from? And who is Surge!?

Early last month (June 8th) fifteen Walmart stores, under the direction of the newly hired Marketing Director of Store Experience, Zach Lones embarked on a 60-day test.  Our mission, reach 6,000 combined followers by August 7th (Currently 5,300+ just over half way through the time) natural/organic growth… No “boosts!” Obviously there are many more goals and objectives but for the purpose of this post, the followers will do.

Many stores saw immediate success hitting the ground running with posts and connecting with their very own associates and customer. But it was just a few days in (June 11th) when Surge and two friends (Taylor & Chris) sat down and began dreaming of ways to make an impact. Nearly one hundred ideas came from that meeting and continue to evolve and be added to… Some we have already seen and many still yet to come! One of the most interesting that night came when discussing past viral trends such as “Floor is Lava” (where one individual yells ‘floor is lava’ and the other participant must jump up and off of the ground as quickly as possible) and “Planking” (laying stiff as a ‘plank’ over or off of objects). Trying to figure out how to make Walmart’s own trend that would not cause problems in our store the idea came out… #Sparking! Immediately the three went to the closest Walmart store and took a very awkward picture with one individual standing with their arms spread wide while another stood behind doing the same but in the opposite direction, creating the Walmart Spark (the company logo and icon).

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Many other variations were tried but only one remained (for now).

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Over the next few weeks Surge began to encourage local associates to partner up and “do Sparking” for pictures and even in the background.

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It was out of desperation, however, that Sparking began to evolve into a single associate jumping in the air with their arms and legs spread making the Spark on their own.

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This of course gave way for the infamous walking up on associates and asking them to “Spark” or “Spark-It!”

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And it was shortly there after when the first official “SparkChallenge” was thrown down from one individual to another.

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As more and more associates began to show their Spark the movement grew until the day a surprise visit from the President of Walmart US Greg Foran and CFO Brett Briggs showed up at Academy Store 4637 where an associate asked for the two to pose “Sparking.”

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These pictures spread like wildfire… It was here Surge asked the question to followers on the store’s instagram page: “Who would you like to see Spark next?” The response was overwhelming and unanimous… Doug McMillon the companies President & CEO. #CanDougSpark was born!

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After only 3 days, Surge received an email: “Can Doug Spark? Yes I Can!” And with that, Monday, July 16th was put on the calendar. Surge arrived to Walmart Home Office at 7am to go live on the air with Walmart Radio DJs Bo & Antonio to spread the news.

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And then at 10am the first official picture went live!

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Many more followed (as Doug was a great sport)…

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With hundreds of views and shares and multiple social networking platforms in only a few hours, the movement has no end in sight.  In fact, NEW #Sparks continue to form

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And associates from all over continue to show their SPARK each and every day!

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Now go find a store near you and get to Sparking… We can’t wait to see it!!

Follow us at instagram.com/Walmart4637



Do you React or Respond…

I originally wrote this post over 5 years ago (2013) about parenting but there’s a lot of good stuff here for managers in any work environment.  Enjoy!

My wife is not only an accomplished volleyball player but she played and coached fieldgoalDivision 1 (Go Golden Hurricane) for many years.  Knowing this about my wife is one thing, but finding out in-person is another.  One day several years ago I made the mistake to go “play” some volleyball with her and a group of old players.  I was not too concerned upon arrival knowing I myself was a college athlete and had picked up a few things from watching friends compete in volleyball at school.  Don’t get too ahead of me here!!!  It only took two solid “blocks” with my face before I really wanted to know the difference in what my wife was shouting: “You have to respond Jeff… You keep reacting!”

To me, the average guy, I saw the hitter go up and I embraced for impact… At best I kept my eyes open and once the ball was hit tried to move my arms high enough to return the hit.  This however, is Not responding but only reacting.  What Courtney was trying to tell me was you have to read what they are wanting to do and adjust accordingly.  From years of preparation and practice she was able to determine not just who was going to hit the ball but where it would be hit once it came off the hitters hand!  She took into consideration: who was on the court, how many blockers were at the net, which way her hips were facing, what she had done several plays earlier, etc.  And so in responding she was able to “dig” or return virtually every hit by our opponents… As long as I got my face out of the way!!

In parenting I see a perfect parallel for us think on…

Let me paint a quick picture for you:  It’s 12:27am and you’ve called and texted a half a dozen times but have heard nothing.  You have your spouse call your phone to make sure it is working properly.  You check the news to see if there was any big accidents and are just getting ready to text their best friend when… “I’m so sorry!!  I didn’t see that you called until just now when I was walking in!!  Can I just have a second, okay third, chance”

How many times have you had this conversation?  Are you being that strict!?  All you are asking for is a simple phone call or even text if you’re going to be running late, is that too much to ask!?  What if…

Do you React or Respond?

Are you prepared to respond?  I bet when you think about it you can see some common behaviors that have surfaced.  I bet you can probably guess that at some point the boundaries will be tested (and probably already have).  I bet you can even predict that some choices change depending on who they are with and what they went out to do.

“Reacting is based on emotion, which we all know is rampant when dealing with a teenager.  

We Respond to the situation when we step back from the emotion and take a moment to think through what is really going on.  It’s not easy!  Parents, the secret is out. The map to your “buttons” has been published, and your teen will push them…Repeatedly!!  But we do our own share of pushing, don’t we?  You know what makes your teenager crazy and sometimes, just sometimes, it feels really good to give them a good share of their own medicine.  At least for a moment, until we realize we have done exactly what we are trying to teach them NOT to do!” (by ParentMinistry.net)

Three quick things to consider when rewiring ourselves to Respond:

  • Discipline is about Training not about Punishment… It’s not just to remember the ouch but the why.  Know why you said no. If it doesn’t make sense, have the courage to retract it.  Second chances are always necessary when it comes to our teens.  Grace always gives a redo. Give yourself grace too.
  • Breathing… it gives you a moment to lower your blood pressure.  The part of our teen’s brain that controls reasoning is still underdeveloped at this point.  They use a different part of the brain geared towards instinctual decisions or risk taking.  Peer pressure is a large influence in our teen’s decisions.  At this point of our teen’s development, they are trying to become independent of us.
  • Develop Contracts for the major occasions (Cell Phone, Driving, etc.)  Clearly communicate the expectations and consequences, as well as, the desires of both the parent and the teenager.  Make a plan for when trust is broken, so that it can be restored allowing the relationship between parent and teenager to grow.  Agree together ahead of time how to handle the unexpected events. 

08-parenting.jpg.pagespeed.ce.9aVnbZn-At“Your teen’s personality can play a large part of how they respond to certain situations. Some are sensitive and appear not to react outwardly.  But that doesn’t mean a thing. Inwardly they could be screaming at you.  Some teens are passionately vocal.  They are very certain you know exactly how they feel.  They all deserve our respect and guidance.  Reacting is easy, responding isn’t.  Responding shows your teen that you love them enough to stop for a moment and make sure what you are saying or doing is based on truth and not emotion.  Reacting can be a really selfish act.  We want to get our point across at all costs.  Sometimes the cost is just a little too high.  It can cost the trust our teens have in us.  Can your teen trust that you will respond and not react to any given situation.  Have the courage to ask your teen if you respond or react and then give them permission to tell you how they wish you would handle these situations.  It takes a brave and humble parent to realize that before we can teach our teens this concept maybe we should learn it for ourselves!” (by ParentMinistry.net)

For some of us resolving conflict in a healthy way is difficult because of our own baggage growing up.  Perhaps you were raised in a home that had a “take no prisoners” mentality when it came to conflict.  Win at all costs was the name of the game.  You learned early on that your job was to watch your own back, defend yourself, and never back down… But if you are willing to develop new habits and value loving more than being declared right, then your whole family wins!!

**If you are interested in my personal four-hour training of the ‘10 Things YOU Should Know About Teens & Tweens‘ please e-mail me for a FREE copy of the manuel and video link!!

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