High Expectations Are The Key To Everything (HEATKTE)

High Expectations Are The Key To Everything (HEATKTE), pronounced “Het-Ka-Tee,” is a Walmart-only acronym that has been popularized by motivational speaker Michael Bergdahl, who wrote a book using the full phrase as a title.

Bergdahl claims that HEATKTE was originally presented in the guise of a generic Native American word (no language was specified) and accompanied by a dance and a drumbeat. Obviously, that’s not how it’s done now, but HEATKTE is still a basic part of the Walmart Way.

HEATKTE also means that high expectations apply to everything. Every step along the supply chain is an opportunity for improvement, and nothing is too small to focus on. This attitude is a big part of the reason Walmart has managed to create a super-efficient ecosystem and a big part of why Walmart is the #1 retailer in the world.

It’s not just systems, either. People are not exempt from HEATKTE. Walmart has a tradition of setting high expectations for associates, and that idea was reinforced at the 2015 Shareholders Meeting.

Walmart also has a tradition of setting high expectations for suppliers, and even for suppliers’ vendors. Retail Link and the Sustainability Index allow suppliers to see how they’re doing at all times, and to increase their chances of meeting those high expectations by having the data needed to track and tweak their performance.

Embracing this attitude can be motivating and even inspiring. Treating it as a burden can be exhausting. Which approach are you going to take? If you work with Walmart, that’s the only decision you need to make about HEATKTE.