development: not a joke!

It’s not what you would expect to hear in this setting…

“Did you ever hear about Corduroy pillow cases? They’re making headlines!”

“What’s brown and sticky?  A stick!”

(or my favorite)

“What do cats eat for breakfast?  Mice Krispies!”

Where would you guess I am?  An elementary school?  A children’s birthday party?  You would be (quite) wrong, as these jokes were told at the front of an actual Target store by my DTL and STL during a visit on a talent development day!  I know, I know—you have multiple questions at this point.  Why such bad jokes?  What is a talent development day?  What’s with all of the acronyms?!

Allow me to explain it like this:  Bad jokes are about as funny as watching a stranger walk into a spider web – you feel so guilty, but it’s so hard not to laugh!  Because of that, they’re an outstanding icebreaker for any new group of people to begin a conversation.  All meetings and visits throughout my district start with bad jokes, mandating that I keep a personal arsenal at my beck and call.

More importantly (and to answer the question I obligated you to ask), talent development days are a monthly opportunity for a number of ETLs (Executive Team Leaders) to join the DTL and hosting STLs (I know—the acronyms are spiraling out of control. See my notes below!) in a day of developmental activities geared at teaching, training and developing each leader through activities such as:

–Store visits to neighboring Target stores to assess wins, opportunities and fresh perspectives.

–Roundtable discussions surrounding leadership tools and new company/store initiatives.

–Mock interviews.

Talent development days are an excellent opportunity to meet and develop relationships with peers and leaders across a wide geographic area, as well as develop your current skill set to realize greater potential.  On a more broad level, they serve as a testament to Target’s dedication to my development and future potential.

As I revisit the equivalent of what would have been a talent development activity at my most recent employer before Target, I’m able to conjure a number of memories.  I’m sorry.  I made that up.  I can’t actually remember any!  That’s one of the most exciting parts of my current job though—continuous feedback and development to make me a better leader and to keep me challenged!  Talent development days are just one way that Target does that!

What about you?  Are you being developed to realize your full potential as a leader?  If your answer is ”no,” I’ll leave you with a positive thought:

What washes up on tiny beaches?  MICROWAVES!


It’s time to break down some more of those acronyms!

STL = Store Team Leader.  Leads the entire store team, beginning with ETLs (see below!)

DTL = District Team Leader.  The DTL leads all STLs within a given district (see below!)

District = A geographic area in which Target stores are grouped and led by the DTL.  Districts vary in size based the volume of the stores within it—my district has ten stores!

ETL = Executive Team Leader (my role).  Manages a portion of the business within a store (Assets Protection, Logistics, Human Resources) and reports directly to the STL.

Visit = A walkthrough of a store from District/Group/Regional leadership to assess store wins and opportunities, as well as valuable takeaways and lessons to share with peer stores.

Development = The act of developing or being developed to expand knowledge and skill sets beyond current levels to broaden an individual’s impact as a leader and capacity to lead in the future.

Interested in a store management role at Target? Learn more and apply for openings here.

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