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Reuters filed a fascinating report noting that when Wal-Mart executives leave the company for what they believe will be greener pastures, things don’t always work out the way they expect.

Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott is quoted as saying, "Once in a while, one person will pop up and believe that all of this is because of them. And they'll leave and go somewhere else and not do nearly as well as they hoped."

Among the executives that have found this to be true: Mark Schwartz, former president of discount chain Kmart Corp., and Mark Hansen, former chief executive of food distributor Fleming Cos.
KC's View:
With emphasis, in both cases, on the word "former."

Part of the reason, according to analysts, is that Wal-Mart has such a unique culture that the people who thrive there simply don’t find the same nurturing and encouragement elsewhere. In addition, the innovation that makes Wal-Mart special is very much a result of a kind of cultural collaboration that doesn’t happen elsewhere.

Maybe it’s just that the water and air in Bentonville are different. (Actually, that’s probably true, even if it has nothing to do with Wal-Mart’s success.)

But in the case of Hansen and Schwartz, it is instructive that not only didn’t their leadership of their individual companies work out, but that both companies ended up in bankruptcy because of an inability to read the market.