sharpening the saw…

I think most working Americans can attest that Mondays are inherently tough.  Something about taking two days off makes it slightly challenging to wake up bright-eyed + bushy-tailed. I mean, maybe it’s just a buyer thing that the amount of emails and phone calls just seem to be slightly Monday-heavy in the scope of a week (although something tells me it’s NOT just a buyer thing).  Desk time is suddenly sacred and not to be wasted. So it was a pleasant surprise to see a hundred or so buyers take an hour out of a busy Monday to do what business gurus call “sharpening the saw.”

The occasion was the third Buyer Speaker Series: a buyers-only guest speaker event hosted by TGT’s very own Buyer Committee (a buyer-led group focused on helping buyers gain career development + networking opportunities beyond the realm of normal job duties). I love the concept since it allows buyers to take a break from the normal grind and take time to “sharpen the saw” –  i.e., take the time to listen | reflect | learn | actively rejuvenate.  Three for three, each speaker series has been motivating + engaging, memorable + inspiring.

This past event featured Keri Jones, SVP of Merchandise Planning  (i.e., SVP of everything inventory related).  Remember my post about my loving my business analyst?  Keri leads ALL the BAs, the BAs’ bosses, the BAs’ bosses’ bosses, and so forth.  Basically, a lot of smart people.

The theme was “Insights/Advice on Personal + Team Development.”  A perfect topic for someone who’s been with Target for 23 years ( No really, 23 years…) and navigated a career through lots of different merchandising roles and walked the shoes of many of the buyers in the listening audience.  She left us with 10 points of Leadership @ TGT. Since sharing is caring, I will share her wisdom with you:

  1. Be Intentional : Be purposeful.  Take pause.  Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve.
  2. Be Authentic : Manage your emotions or they will manage you.  Oh, and don’t forget to listen.
  3. Develop an Intellectual Curiosity :: It’s an ambiguous world out there.  Discover it.
  4. Be Courageous : It’s not always about being the best or the expert.  Sometimes it’s about forming an opinion and standing for it.  Don’t be afraid to go against the grain.
  5. Network outside of TGT : Being insular is dangerous.  Work it.  Outside the red + khaki circle.
  6. Make talent acquisition + development a priority :  This one should really be #1. ‘Nuff said.
  7. Balance Innovation + Strategy : (with disciplined execution).  It’s a yin + yang.  A peanut butter + jelly.  You can’t have one without the other.
  8. Unleash the power of TGT : know your resources {TGT has A LOT of them!}.  Leverage them. Know + learn total Target
  9. Keep it Simple.  Communicate Often : Sometimes the hardest thing is to decide what NOT to do. So don’t do it all.  Be intentional.
  10. HAVE FUN : Or leave.  Fo’ reals.  The buyer role is tough stuff… but it’s also a blast.  So if you’re not having fun then something’s not right.

Okay okay, in full disclosure… I left some Jess commentary in there.  But Keri’s talk was just what I needed on a busy, hectic Monday afternoon.  It was only an hour of the day and yes, of course… my inbox gained a few LBS while I was away… but taking some time to soak in some wisdom was just what my week, month, TGT journey needed.

Namaste 🙂


Interested in a career in buying, planning and brand management? Search and apply for jobs here.

2 Replies to “sharpening the saw…”

  1. A fun read per usual and good for me to think about on a Monday. Thanks for writing Jess!

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