Wal-Mart Manages the Company Crisis in Japan

The Story

The life of a CEO is particularly challenging during a crisis such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Wall Street Journal has published the experience of Toru Noda, the chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Japan Holdings.  Below is a timeline of the company's activities.

Wal-Mart Japanese crisis

Discussion Starters

  • What are Wal-Mart's major business challenges at this time?
  • What are the company's major communication challenges? 
  • Looking at Wal-Mart's reaction (the timeline above), what surprises you?

 Assignment Ideas

  • Imagine that you are Toru Noda, the chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Japan Holdings, and need to prepare for your first meeting with the two dozen team leaders mentioned in the article. Write an outline for your meeting.
  • In groups of 3 or 4, have one person, playing the role of Noda, practice the opening to this meeting. 
  • Write an open letter from Noda to the public about the lack of product on Wal-Mart shelves. How will you address this bad news and inspire consumers' confidence for the future?