Lessons from South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW)

I believe that education is the cornerstone of progress. It has the ability to propel us forward with intention and precision. Undoubtedly, we are all lifelong students.  Although, the way we process and use information may differ. For me, immersive educational experiences result in critical thinking and a higher propensity for retention. I’m fortunate that my leadership team at Target recognizes and appreciates this.

Last week I had the privilege to attend the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference in Austin, TX [insert yee-haw here]. If you’ve ever attended, you can attest to the fact that SXSW is the epitome of an immersive educational experience. I attended the conference to fuel my professional development and digital acumen along with over 20 other Target team members. Over the five day festival I attended several sessions ranging from topics centered on leadership lessons from a jazz band to real-time marketing in social media. Now, I pass on to you 3 thought-provoking lessons I picked up at SXSW:

1. Be an active learner. Engage in experimentation and learning while simultaneously seeking reliable performance. This will allow you to grow and innovate more rapidly.

2. Master the art of spontaneity. Explore the edge of your comfort zone and create situations that demand action, where passivity is not an option. Learn to act without a plan. (As a hardcore planner, the thought scares me but I appreciate how it could create the structure to spur an elevated end product.)

3. Better is the enemy of done. Sometimes good is good enough. You can always make something better but the key to success is knowing when to stop. (As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, hearing this was an ah-ha moment for me and something I will need to continually remind myself.)

The intent of sharing my takeaways from SXSW is that it may make you pause, even if for a brief moment, to reflect on what you are doing to fill your knowledge library and how you are creating opportunities to drive innovation.

I returned full of insights and inspiration that I look forward spreading within my team and throughout the organization. Not only did I learn a lot about leadership and digital innovation but I had the pleasure of learning more about my fellow team members. We are now bonded by this crazy experience called SXSW and have formed even closer relationships that will continue to enhance our collaborative culture.

Target is committed to the development of our team members and my personal experience at SXSW is just one of the many examples of how this is coming to fruition behind the bullseye.

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  • tish cloninger

    March 29th, 2013

    Through HR you are capable of opening opportunities to the lives of employees and every life they touch. Your greatest challenge is to redefine human as something other than a resource. Perhaps you have gone deeper to try to define the human essence in each person. I encourage you to consider the human and not the resource. Each is unique and infinite. However, unlike retail outcomes, the work does continue from spirit, to heart, to others. ah-ha . . .

    Thank you for your article. It seems you are already on the right track.

  • George

    May 25th, 2013

    I just applied to the warehouse in Amsterdam NY. Can someone tell me who I can speak to to get some feedback on that subject?

  • elisa


    May 28th, 2013

    Hi George-

    The best way to check the status of your application is to contact the HR manager at the distribution center directly at (518) 226-6300.

    Thank you!
    Elisa & the Target Careers team