Helping Leaders Act with Empathy, Clarity and Compassion in a Crisis

This year, the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic have been intensified by a national outcry for racial justice and equity. Facing these societal challenges can come with grief and anxiety—all while doing our best to be productive and stay engaged at work.

Target has more than 300,000 team members globally, a vast majority of whom work in our stores and supply chain

Now more than ever, Store Leaders play a critical role in supporting their teams by adapting to uncertain times with clear communication and compassionate guidance. Many are turning to an internal website for Adaptive Leadership, available to store leaders and above, to receive ongoing development and equip themselves with new skills or a fresh way to lean into those they already have.

“With COVID-19, we’re navigating a world that’s rapidly changing, so Adaptive Leadership puts the focus on the things that matter right now—like resilience, inclusion and empathy,” said Layne Greer, Director, Leadership Development. “While these simple and practical tools and resources are an evergreen and permanent part of Target’s professional development portfolio, they’re curated for this moment, and designed to help leaders address their team’s most pressing needs.”

 

 

Users can read, watch or listen based on the time they have to invest, and can choose “micro-learning” modules that take just a few minutes—an especially effective option for time-constrained leaders in store and supply chain roles. And Adaptive Leadership content offers more variety than ever before for leaders at the store level; it lets users explore topics that match their personal needs, as well as what their team needs from them.

The topics strike a balance between personal aspects— physical, mental and emotional health—with the professional aspects of managing both the business and people. The site delivers a personalized, self-service user experience that gives leaders actionable insights and critical support during the pandemic and beyond.

With COVID-19 and the recent events in Minneapolis, Adaptive Leadership helps leaders connect with members of their teams who are emotionally impacted. A consistently evolving platform based on user feedback about what’s valuable and what’s still needed, the Adaptive Leadership site provides guidance for how to show up compassionately, while widening perspectives and helping team members prioritize and balance both work and life.

Mining for Local Tech Talent with an Intern Program that Works for Them

Target recognizes that many of tomorrow’s best and brightest technology professionals are headed for non-traditional engineering education paths including community and commuter colleges–many of which are right in our own back yard. So we set out to design a flexible spring internship program—but this was no typical program.

In order to cast a wider net into tech talent sources we hadn’t previously considered, this internship had to offer part-time schedules and tailored training and onboarding to fit busy lives with competing priorities like jobs and family commitments.

The goal of the internship is to close the experience gap with exposure to a real-world corporate environment while building technical skills and providing the professional development and mentorship that prepares students for positions in Target’s Technology Leadership Program.

In the quest for a pilot partner, Target considered local colleges based on curriculum content, courses of study, student demographics, success rates and faculty interactions. As a result, Metropolitan State University (Metro State) emerged as an ideal choice as our initial partner, with a goal of expanding to additional talent sources in the future.

Half of Metro State’s students are people of color, 62% are from lower income households and 61% are the first generation in their families to attend college. Further, the average Metro State student is 31 years old with a household, a job and other obligations. The school achieves comparable success rates while maintaining academic rigor, and has the lowest-cost bachelor degrees of any university in Minnesota.

 

For more on the program, we sat down with Metro State alum and Campus Champion, Dan, and program sponsor, Kraig, to understand what makes this internship so uniquely promising in a time of unprecedented demand for top tech talent.

How is Target’s internship program with Metro State different from others?

Dan: First, this internship takes place in the spring. Second, we prioritize accommodating students’ time. Since most students are still attending class, we are flexible with hour requirements so students can maintain their studies. We create a set of core days for interns to be on site, and then leave the remaining schedule to them and their manager.

Competition for talent in technology is fierce. Why is Target taking the opportunity to foster home-grown talent?

Dan: This program provided us an opportunity to explore new avenues for untapped talent. Before this partnership, local students may not have immediately thought of Target as a place they could start their career in technology, and Target didn’t realize the caliber of students we already had access to in our local market. Through the program, we’ve unlocked a mutual benefit to both these amazing students and Target. We value the diverse perspectives they bring to Target and the great contributions they make to their teams.

What do you find most exciting or rewarding about seeing the first class of Metro State interns grow at Target?

Dan: I am excited that we’re recognizing the talent coming out of this school. The student body is very motivated and ready to jump in and contribute. I look forward to growing this partnership.

Kraig: I have loved seeing the passion this group of interns brought to Target. They all jumped into their experience on day one just like they were full-time team members and never looked back. I believe we are at the start of a very good relationship here.

 

For the intern point of view, we chatted with Polly and Jack – two engineers who participated in the Metro State internship and are now members of our Technology Leadership Program.

What has surprised you most about this unique internship program?

Polly: The amount of support I received during my internship was phenomenal. I was surprised by how easily I was able to network with members of my team, as well as upper management and senior leaders. And I felt encouraged to take on challenging problems and improve my confidence as a young professional.

Jack: The focus and emphasis on learning and professional growth over productivity was most surprising. There were no expectations of me other than to learn and demonstrate growth in the topics I chose. I also had a say in the technologies I wanted to focus on.

Why was the structure of this program particularly beneficial or rewarding to you?

Jack: Taking time to focus on a specific area of the business, gaining hands-on development and operations experience, and deepening my understanding of Target’s infrastructure was incredibly rewarding. In my first few weeks in the Technology Leadership Program, I was already making connections and using tools that I had learned about during my internship. This program has done a lot to prepare me to be an even more successful engineer than I otherwise would have been.

Polly: Working by day and attending classes by night, I found that what I was learning during my internship was directly applicable to my school projects. This parallel correlation of events allowed for an easier transition from student life to being a full-time engineer.

What opportunities did Target provide for learning, growth and development?

Polly: Participating in groups like Target Women in Science and Technology (TWIST) and attending events such as Demo Day and begINNER Con have been great learning opportunities. It is inspiring to meet other engineers or product owners who are passionate about their work, and they offer a great way to network with others in technology at Target.

Jack: Even as an intern, I had access to the same learning resources as regular team members (Safari Books and Pluralsight) and as many internal talks and conferences as possible. From begINNER Con to the Lunch ‘n Learn events, there are a ton of avenues for developing your skills.

How have you developed your skills as a result of your internship experience?

Polly: I’ve become better at organizing my time and managing my projects. I have also improved my communication skills to ensure team expectations and objectives are met.

Jack: In the 15 years leading up to my new career at Target, I worked as a hairstylist with no background in tech aside from my undergrad and summer internship. I was indeed a novice. Right away, I challenged myself to ask a lot of questions. Even when I struggled to find the right one to ask, I still put my lack of knowledge out there and allowed myself to be vulnerable. I branched out and learned new languages like C#, Python and PowerShell. I became more familiar with Git and CI/CD, and conquered my fear of unit testing thanks to the amazing efforts of my team.

What was the highlight of the internship program experience for you?

Jack: The team I worked with and learned from. I was placed in a role that balanced learning both the development and operations-side of the business. Creating automation to support our operations and minimize downtime on POS systems in stores was quite fun, largely thanks to my team. My manager was also incredibly supportive throughout the process; giving me space and freedom to work on what interested me while also checking in often to make sure things were going well. And in the end I even walked away with some new friends that I’ve been able to hang out with outside of work.

How would you describe the culture at target?

Jack: Laid back. It’s one thing to tell your employees to bring their authentic selves to work. It’s another thing to actually mean it. I feel like I can be myself at work and ultimately, I’m judged on my performance and ability to grow in my role. Additionally, I feel like the growth mindset and “better every day” mentality is thoroughly embraced. You’re not expected to know everything, but you are expected to see those gaps as opportunities and show some willingness to learn.

Polly: Driven. Whether it be an individual or a team, it is clear that every employee is driven to define their own meaning of success and how to achieve their personal goals. I also love the work-life balance!

What would you tell someone considering a career in technology at Target?

Polly: Technology at Target is innovative, creative and progressive with a strong learning culture. As an employee within Target Technology Services (TTS), you will be able to develop your hard and soft skills while contributing to projects that support the company’s business ventures.

Jack: What are you waiting for? Target is such a large company, there is something here for everyone. You could spend an entire career here and never run out of things to learn.

 

Interested in learning, developing and contributing to our tech team? Learn more about our Software Engineering Internship – Spring Program, or explore all Technology & Data Sciences roles and apply today.

 

 

Demonstrating the Art of the Possible: Innovation, Technology and Experimentation at Target

Innovation has become as important to consumers as quality and value. Delivering consumer-relevant innovation requires getting into the consumer mindset and experiencing their journey firsthand.

Experimentation is the name of the game, according to Malyn Wrobel, Target’s Director of Technology Services, Infrastructure and Operations. We recently sat down with her to talk about Demo Day, the Guest eXperience Center (GXC) and how innovation and experimentation are at the heart of Target’s learning culture in technology.

First, describe your role at Target.

Malyn: I play multiple roles within the technology organization at Target. As Chief of Staff to the Senior Vice President of Infrastructure and Operations (I&O), my team manages key functions across I&O, including financial and resource planning, performance tracking, developing the global I&O brand and culture in both the U.S. and India, and internal and external marketing and communications efforts. My responsibilities also include organizing a quarterly Demo Day for Target Technology Services (TTS) and Product teams, as well as being accountable for the Guest eXperience Center (GXC).

How does Target foster innovation?

Malyn: Innovation doesn’t just sit with one team at Target—it’s everyone’s goal and part of our culture. The second piece is experimentation. Target creates a safe space to bring ideas to life, even if they don’t pan out. Here at Target, we like to say “tried and learned.” Experimentation helps us quickly say retrospectively what was good or what needs improvement.

What are some accomplishments that your team is particularly proud of?

Malyn: Two accomplishments stand out: the introduction of Demo Day at Target and launching our Guest eXperience Center (GXC). Teams across the company leverage these two resources to articulate the value of the products they’re developing, promote pride in our work and cultivate innovation daily. In fact, the GXC has been so successful that we are planning to launch a GXC in our India offices.

What is Demo Day like at Target?

Malyn: Demo Day began in November 2016 as an informal quarterly showcase of new and emerging innovations. It’s like a Target-only science fair—by team members, for team members—of the most valuable and exciting work delivered by Target Technology Services (TTS). Teams conduct quarterly retrospectives and choose which projects best educate fellow teams on new products and services either available now or in development.

The energy on Demo Day is very exciting. The participants pull back the curtain on projects they’ve poured their hearts into. It’s very much their time to shine—a celebration of their success.

Demo Day has become a wildly popular event. All on-campus corporate Target team members are invited, and all pyramids and solution portfolios are represented. About 1,500 team members attended the most recent Demo Day which had more than 65 booths. Sixty percent were new participants over the previous cycle, and it’s always new innovations on display—nothing anyone has seen before.

Maybe someone goes to Demo Day and gets a great idea for a complementary innovation. They see something in the works they wouldn’t otherwise be aware of, and now they’re able to iterate on the prototype and push the innovation to deliver even more value to the Target guest. This is how Demo Day builds collaboration from the inside out.

What is the GXC? How does the experimentation you do there help Target innovate meaningfully for guests?

Malyn: The Guest eXperience Center (GXC)  is a first-of-its-kind proving ground for innovation. We like to call it “the smallest Target store,” and it even has its own store number. The GXC is the “center” where we bring team members together with product and vendor partners to rally around real-world business challenges and build innovative solutions. Its mission is: Accelerate experimentation. Learn quickly. Dream boldly.

The GXC enables hands-on experimentation. It combines store fixture interaction, back room functionality, retail product and point-of-sale equipment with current store infrastructure and device technology. There are maker spaces and collaboration areas with everything you’d ever need to build something new and start testing it immediately. Then, the results of a given experiment inform the next set of prototypes. The thinking in the GXC is always stretching beyond the current construct. How do we bring our vision to life? We want inspiration and we want to engage our guest while solving some pretty difficult business challenges, like a frictionless checkout experience, for example.

What future opportunities do you see for the GXC?

Malyn: We picked a couple of key focus areas for 2019: inventory and shortage. I see that continuing because it’s driving innovation with a very positive business impact. We also want to continue building relationships like our partnership with universities like Stanford, and joint development with some strategic tech vendors.

What has been your favorite project or opportunity to see come to life as a result of the GXC?  

Malyn: We had an executive challenge: Fitting Room Experience. Within three weeks of an initial ideation session, we had a physical fitting room built in the GXC with some new technology to address the key touchpoints in the guest journey. These included requesting a different size or color, getting inspiration from seeing other options in our assortment or insights from guest reviews, and the ability to request help from a team member at any time. The resounding feedback we hear when we demonstrate this prototype is that people love it and want to see it in Target stores.

What would you tell someone considering a career in Technology or Data Sciences at Target?

Malyn: We are leading the industry. Our vibrant software engineering team is built on a culture where learning, creativity and innovation are part of our DNA. Join us.

For more on Target’s learning culture, read about our commitment to ‘50 Days of Learning.’ Interested in a role in Technology & Data Sciences at Target? Explore openings at target.com/careers.

Meet our Data Sciences Team

EDABI team converses.

Target’s Data Sciences team employs a uniquely capable and brilliant team of engineers, data scientists and analysts. They’re responsible for creating the tools and data products that enable business partners to make sound, data-based decisions, and they help develop the technology that personalizes the guest experience—from product recommendations to relevant ad content.

The Pulse team sat down with three Data Sciences pros to find out what’s interesting and exciting about working with data at Target. Hear from Brindha, Senior Manager, Business Intelligence Engineering, Janet, Director, Data Sciences and Kristina, Principal Data Scientist on what it’s like to work on Target’s Data Sciences team.

What’s the most exciting or innovative project you’ve worked on recently? 

Janet: For the last year, we’ve been moving into computer vision, which is algorithms to understand images. Why is that important? We use it to algorithmically understand the images of our products, which in turn allows us to help guest find visually similar or complementary items as they shop. A lot of our products are very style based and since a picture is a worth a thousand words, if we understand what style a guest is interested in, we can create a far more customized, intuitive and relevant experience for them.

Brindha: Closed-loop reporting tells us about impressions and how much our ads are driving sales. We provide Marketing with the data points that help the company make sure their campaigns are planned properly, and which platforms to launch to reach the most number of guests. We help close the loop to report on campaign effectiveness to inform future campaigns. It’s pretty exciting and I can see an immediate impact on the business.

Kristina: We are working on our internal A/B testing tool. I’m giving UX feedback, taking what I do on a day-to-day basis, and turning it into a user interface. It’s almost three years in the making. We used to use a third party, and then we built our own tool which integrates with Target.com and apps. It’s exciting because when we started, we’d only use vendors for something this complex. With our own, custom-built tool we can run more tests and be more effective.          

What has surprised you most about your career with Target? 

Kristina: I’ve spent most of my career at Target, and the most surprising thing is the scope of the role, the opportunities and the different teams to support. During the first ten years, I was supporting two or three teams with different functions, never really doing the same thing twice, solving tons of different problems—and holistic problems versus an online only company. From Marketing, Merchandising to Finance, there are big financial decisions to make, and there are lots of areas where data plays an important role.

Brindha: I’m a data enthusiast, so the one thing that’s amazed me is the scale of the data that we’re working with—and it comes with an equally big responsibility. I want to build optimized products. Making sure that my team has a high-performing solution—this is part of the responsibility. We are a very fast paced retailer so we need to build high-performing optimal solutions for our business teams.

Janet: The importance of company culture and how that can fuel success. The culture of support, collaboration and team work has been a strong influence through my time at Target, and I’ve learned so much from it. While I’ve gained technical skills, I’ve also become a better team player. People really work together.

Speaking of culture, what do you enjoy most about the culture within data and technology teams at Target?

Brindha: The people are the best thing about Target. It feels very much like a family. We are very focused on our work, but we make our everyday life as fun as possible. For new projects, we always try to understand through the eyes of a guest: What do we want to see? What do we want to be served? Culture is especially important to me as a leader, and it’s so important to me at Target. We always work as a team, not in silos. We are one team at Target. That’s our mantra.

Janet: There is a real culture of curiosity and exploration so when you pair that with collaboration you have it going both ways—learning and teaching—and I think that’s really powerful. People are encouraged to explore and innovate. You’re encouraged to try stuff and to take smart risks. You’re not expected to necessarily do the same thing the same way over and over again.

Kristina: Generally, the culture is one where everyone wants to move fast. It’s a whole bunch of people interested in getting things done, but it’s not super hierarchical in terms of who responds to what—there’s always someone monitoring when you’ve got a question. It’s a lot of people who are excited about their work and what they bring to the table, and they openly share it rather than withholding. They’re driven to get the answers to the business teams faster. We’re moving fast in a good way. It’s about agility.

How does Target motivate and retain team members in your space?

Kristina: First of all, it’s just exciting work. We are invited to use creativity and build our skill set. For a lot of people, that’s important—you want to feel like you’re gaining skills rather than working repetitively. Target really does care about data and analytics as crucial to our success and believes that it’s an important investment in the company.

Janet: One big way we retain talent is the breadth of problems that team members get to work on. When a team member comes in, there are many different problems and projects to work on. After a team member has been here for a while, they can switch tracks and dig in on something else. There’s a lot of variety and opportunity to solve big problems. There are also opportunities for learning and new growth in terms of hopping onto new projects, but team members are also encouraged to learn and develop their skills.

Interested in a career in data and technology with Target? Explore opportunities at target.com/careers and apply today.

Get to know Laura, Store Leadership Team

What is the best thing about being a leader at Target?
I enjoy the ability to mold great leaders. Target embraces inclusivity and diversity which makes it incredibly rewarding to be able to help guide people in their career. Target has created a culture of strong values and delivers a great experience for the team and most importantly the guest. I love being a part of this.

What was the most exciting thing that happened this month?
Right now, I oversee the Specialty Department and have a some incredible direct reports. It has been very exciting to see how they have grown and the level of talent that we have created. I have a Visual Merchandise Team Member who has been taking initiative and heading the training of our new Team Members. It is a rewarding sight when the Visual Merchandiser can not only create buy in, but be able to implement true leadership in the department.

What should every leader be reading right now?
I have always been passionate about putting people first. One of my favorite inspirational websites is InspireYourPeople.com as it goes through important soft skills that you have to possess to create followers as a leader. The 212 has a message that can relay to any team. It is about putting in that extra effort into everything you do. Whether it be people development, task completion or even something as simple as creating a schedule, that extra effort can make a big difference.

What’s your greatest accomplishment in your career at Target so far?
The biggest accomplishment I have a achieved at Target was being able to influence and give feedback to our corporate partners about a new operating model. The company truly values feedback and encourages ideas.

What is your favorite thing about working at Target?
I came from a retail company that valued a people first mentality. It was a culture that kept me engaged and challenged for nearly 14 years. I wanted to ensure that the next journey in my career embraced this practice. I was very selective about where I wanted to invest my time and talent and was able to find a home in Target as it aligned with the culture that I value.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher and a fashion designer. Throughout my career, I have always been in a position of teaching and training. I believe this comes from my core values as a child and of course my keen sense of fashion. 😉

What is the hardest thing about being a leader?
I think the hardest thing about any leadership role is ensuring that you have provided all the necessary resources and provided consistent feedback to guide your team to success. Your success as a team depends on it. Training and teaching should always come first- it is a hard balance when there are deadlines and tasks so we must remember that the investment we make in our people will pay off in the end.

Best career advice that you’ve received?
When I was a District Manager, I had to ensure that I was creating stores and teams that could operate at the highest possible level. At times, it may be difficult to understand that progress is actually a win and to not expect perfection all the time. My Regional Director would always challenge me to ensure that I recognize progress and not expect perfection because it is progress that will get us to where we need to be. I carry that with me in all aspects of my life and career.

Dogs or cats?
Dogs! I have 2 incredible rescues who love my kids and are the sweetest animals you would ever meet.

What is your superpower/unicorn flavor?
If I had a superpower it would be to read people’s minds. But my current superpower is people development. 🙂

Think you have what it takes to become a leadership team member? Explore opportunities at jobs.target.com/teamleader and apply today.

Get to know Danny, Store Leadership Team

What is the best thing about being a leader at Target?
This is such an amazing company to work for! For me, the company’s appreciation for the team was evident even during the interview process. I don’t know about everyone else, but when it comes to me, going to interview for a role you really want can be extremely scary. However, while I was going through Target’s process, before I was even hired, I was overwhelmed by the warm welcoming environment, inclusivity, and positivity from the team. Being able to bring this feeling alive for our current team and potential team members is the best thing about a Target Leader.

What was the most exciting thing that happened this month/year?
This month, being able to be 100% staffed with leaders and team members going into the holiday season AKA the busiest time of the year. We’re staffed with a pretty amazing team too! This year, 9/1/2018 was an extremely exciting life changing day – I asked my best friend to marry me!

What should every leader be reading or following right now?
Your dreams! Dare to dream and always follow your dreams. On top of your dreams, you should follow the advice of your mom or mother figure. Your mom will always have your back and your best intentions as their top priority. Hate to say, but as an adult I realized it’s true, moms are always right. My mom has always been my biggest supporter and one of my best friends. She has always been the one encouraging me to follow my dreams and ensuring those dreams were BIG.

What’s your greatest accomplishment in your career at Target so far?
Umm, this! Being chosen to appear on pulse blog is pretty awesome!!

What is your favorite thing about working at Target?
Having the opportunity to work with and influence such a diverse dynamic team. We have a huge team. Being able to teach and learn from them every day makes work enjoyable and so rewarding.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A Judge! I always wanted to use a gavel.

What is the hardest thing about being a leader?
Having to let your team fail sometimes. If we are always there as a safety net we will never develop our teams. It’s important to encourage everyone to try new things. They can’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes we have to fall before we can figure out how to fly!

Best career advice that you’ve received?
Keep it simple! Don’t over complicate matters and always use your common sense.

Dogs or cats?
Dogs- 100% dogs! I have Charlie, a 4 year old Yorkshire Terrier. At times he’s annoying– sometimes the reason I say I won’t have kids, but I love him all the time. I guess cats are cool too. I’m allergic so I always stay away, never gave them a chance. The jury is still out on if I want kids too. I’ll be the judge of that!

What is your superpower/unicorn flavor?
My laugh. I’ve been told numerous times my laugh is the best and that it’s super contagious. It’s very distinct. Once you hear it you’ll laugh and then you won’t forget it.

Think you have what it takes to become a leadership team member? Explore opportunities at jobs.target.com/teamleader and apply today.

Get to know Taeler, Store Leadership Team

What is the best thing about being a leader at Target?
This is SUCH an exciting time to be a Target Team Member!! We are laser focused on the FUTURE and investing in the most important part of what we do- our people! I am so proud to say that I work for Target!

What was the most exciting thing that happened this year?
Starting week 1 in my first Store Assignment!!!!!

Who should every leader be following right now?
#1 Get on LinkedIN!! #2 Simon Sinek, Sophia Amuroso and as MANY Instagram influencers / Blogs as you can!!! Love it or hate it social media is how we connect with each other in 2018 and life is moving faster each day… this is how I know whats cool before it’s cool!

What’s your greatest accomplishment in your career at Target so far?
Being a part of all of the exciting progress at Target- from our update to our Logistics process, to our huge investment in Teams with our Selling training.. getting to LEAD our Teams through this time is the most rewarding part of what we do!!

What is your favorite thing about working at Target?
Working for a Brand and Team with a clear purpose that I believe in!

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer- I still am obsessed with all iterations of Law and Order. 🙂

What is the hardest thing about being an leader?
Understanding that perfection is impossible. As leaders, we make mistakes (Gasp!) and fall short sometimes- the mark of a great leader isn’t perfection.. it’s willingness to accept the failures as a challenge rather than defeat!

Best career advice that you’ve received?
Saying ‘Thank You’ when receiving a compliment as well as when you receive feedback- constructive or positive. Being humble enough and gracious enough to accept BOTH interchangeably. That… and “It’s not that serious”- don’t get worked up unless it’s REALLY something to get worked up about. Choose your battles wisely! C’est La Vie!

Dogs or cats?
CATS- I have 3! Bijoux- a Tiger Tabby, Coco- a Russian Blue, and Magick- a fluffy Persian!

What is your superpower/unicorn flavor?
I am an EXTREME morning person! I pretty much jump out of bed at 5am everyday, and I am my best most productive self in the AM. I like to think of it as a superpower!!

Anything else?
I LOVE to sing karaoke!!!! My husband (Dylan) and I are SERIOUS- we practice and keep a playlist on our phones of potential songs.

Living My Calling

Ten years at Target!  As I reflect on that milestone, one thought pushes itself to the forefront:  Target to me will always be a place that lets me bring my passions and interests to work.

My current role leading Corporate Social Responsibility at Target India is the one closest to my heart.  This is what brings me to the office each morning, knowing that I get to work on my passion: to make a difference. I have always been passionate about volunteering. Call it good luck, but during my very first week of my employment at Target I participated in a volunteering event and I was hooked for the next 10 years.

The best thing about my job is that no two days are ever the same and every day my experiences teach me something new. The leadership team has always been supportive and open to new ideas. For instance, recently, I decided we could get some Target team members to crochet/knit hats for children undergoing treatment at a local cancer hospital.  I was not sure how this idea would be received, as crochet/knitting is not something everyone would call cool and we would need volunteers to support the initiative.

I was in for a pleasant surprise when the leadership team was supportive and we received an overwhelming response from volunteers.  Some team members even took the trouble to learn to crochet and involve family members, so they could contribute to the cause.  We reached our target number of hats way before the deadline.  And the smiles of the children when they received those colorful caps brought tears to the eyes of all the volunteers. They thanked me for giving them the opportunity to make a difference.  It made me realize that my job enables me to see a very emotional and vulnerable side of people.

As I think about the journey that brought me to this point, I reflect on my first job at Target on the pharmacy team.  My educational training and my passion for health and healing made this a natural fit.  As I started looking for additional responsibilities, my leaders were supportive in finding me additional opportunities.  One such opportunity was in the field of technology. It was poles apart from my current field, and I was unsure that I would fit in.  However, with my leader’s encouragement I took the plunge and it opened up a whole new world.  It was a humbling experience to be taught the intricacies of software development from scratch, not to mention learning a whole new lexicon just to be able to understand and to be understood.

Through my journey, I have realized that the right attitude and a willingness to learn is all that is needed to achieve one’s aspirations.  Target is a company that will go the extra mile to help build one’s skillsets and ensure that team members bring their passion and interests to work. Most importantly, Target respects the multifaceted personality that is you and helps provide the balance that all of us strive to achieve.

My Target Internship: Michael

Target offers Store Executive, Distribution, HQ Undergrad and HQ Graduate internship opportunities.  Want to learn more?  Michael, a Store Executive Intern, shares his experience below.

• Name: Michael S.
• Lives in: Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh), PA
• College year: Penn State University, Class of December 2017

• Why did you decide to do an internship at Target? I decided to do this internship with Target because it seemed like it would be a great experience with an even better company that would help me to build essential business and leadership skills.

• Which Target team(s) will you be working with this summer? What is your role? My role as an executive intern means I will be working with all the different teams throughout the Target store to gain insight and experience with each over the 10 week program. This will hopefully prepare me to lead the store and different teams throughout the final couple weeks of my internship.

• What do you hope to learn & what skills do you hope to build? I hope to learn more about what goes into being a great leader while learning what it takes to successfully run a business. I hope to take these observations and experiences from other leaders in the store to build upon my leadership and business skills to improve myself for the future.

• Tell us about your new Target team. What are your first impressions? My target team has been awesome to me since day one. Everyone has been kind, welcoming, and great to work with. The team has a very positive attitude that impacts both their work and the guests of the store. The members of the team are always willing to help me when I need it, and I was thankful for that the first couple weeks I was in role.

• What was your favorite moment from your first few weeks on the job? What surprised you most? My favorite moment from my first few weeks on the job was receiving positive feedback from my mentor and store team leader so that I knew what I was doing well, where I stood with the other team members, and what I needed to focus on moving forward. What has surprised me the most is how much certain areas of the store flow into others and how eager team members are to do well and help the guests.

• What’s your favorite part about shopping Target as a guest? My favorite part about shopping as a Target guest is the great deals you can find here, while feeling comfortable shopping in the store. I think every time I shop at Target I come expecting to buy one thing, and leave with more than I expected.

 

The Power of Strategy

The path of my 15 year leadership journey with Target is a tale of two stories. The first story began with my first position as a team leader, and I was young and hungry to be successful. I worked really hard and thought that it would translate to success. It did: I was promoted Executive Team Leader after just a couple of years. What I quickly realized in my new role was that the same hard work which gave me that opportunity would not grant me success in my new position.  Still, I continued to do what I knew best and that was to put my head down and work hard.  I was a reactive leader, but because I worked hard I still got decent results and my team viewed me as a decent leader.

I had my aha moment in the second half of my Target career.  I was inspired by a great leader.  She played such a crucial part in my development over the years, but what really inspired me was the confidence she instilled in me regarding my ability to lead others and make great decisions.  Her empowerment came with more responsibility, and I started to think strategically to solve problems and make decisions.  I developed what I think is such a crucial aspect of leadership: strategizing to solve problems.

The importance of strategizing:
In the competitive retail world, there is always so much change.  It is easy to get overwhelmed with the details. This may become detrimental to keeping your eye on the prize so to speak.  By far the most intriguing and important aspects of leadership are strategic and critical thinking to solve problems. Solving problems will determine your ability to get results and ultimately set you up for success in achieving your personal goals as well as the opportunity to promote at Target.

How to keep strategizing simple and where to start:
Start with the big problem first.  Ask yourself what is the main goal you are trying to achieve with your team? Next, create an action plan. I utilize a very simple approach to solving every problem standing in the way of accomplishing my goals. First, do I have the right person in place to be successful? Second, did I set the expectations and gain commitment? Finally, what are the consequences?

With leadership, your team is the most important aspect of winning.  Without the right person in place, you will not set yourself up for success. I am always looking for team members to have a great attitude, to show a sense of urgency, and to be able to adapt to change.  Once you’ve found a team member with these qualities, you can easily gain admiration from them once you show them success and help them with personal growth and development.

Once you have the right person in place, the expectations must be clear and pertain to your roadmap to success. At Target, we utilize a lot of tools, reports, and statuses to get the most out of this process. Clear communication of the goals, plans for achieving success, and the method of measuring the results are key to leaving the team member feeling inspired, supported, and committed to meeting or beating expectations. Without clear communication, the team member has little chance of reaching these expectations as they will be only striving to reach their own.

Lastly, what are the consequences? It is important that there are mutually understood consequences between you and your team member. This can be either recognition or accountability. As a leader, I wish the consequence was recognition and sharing success, however in reality the accountability piece also plays a huge role in leading the team to success. Recognizing success validates the team member’s efforts. It will inspire the individual team member and the surrounding team to continue to work hard. On the opposite side, holding team members accountable drives them to improve their performance.

My personal development around thinking strategically and critically has been such a key factor in achieving both company and personal goals. During the second half of my Target career I have been able to get amazing results, help others grow, develop and promote, and most importantly I have achieved my personal goal of becoming a Store Team Leader.

Utilizing these simple strategies you will be able to solve and lead your team through problems big and small. Once you’ve honed these skills, the sky’s the limit for opportunity at Target. So if you love leading and working with great people, a competitive culture, solving problems, opportunity, and winning, come see what you’ve got.

And I’m Back!

My name is Maryam Becker and I work as a Campus Recruiter in Headquarters Talent Acquisition in Minneapolis. I’ve been with Target for 5 years with my time doing staffing and recruiting for Target Headquarters. It’s a pretty fun gig to meet all the talented individuals that I do and help make their day when I offer the job. I pretty much yell, ‘YAY!’ every time a candidate accepts an offer from me. It may sound unprofessional, but I personally believe that it’s important to be real and who I am with the candidates I interact with. I love that I can have such a positive impact on people’s lives as they plan their career and walk them through what they want out of their career to help make an important decision for them in their life.

Two of my biggest values are balance along with personal growth and development. Which is also part of the reason I chose Target to start my career in. I have so much pride in the fact that I knew leaders I would work with would continuously invest their time in helping with my personal growth and development and instilling that balance for me to participate in activities outside of my work-life if I asked for it. Not to mention that they show interest in what I do outside of work is something I appreciate because it allows me to bring myself to work every day. My colleagues know that I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a student, a president of an alumni organization and a peer to some pretty outstanding professionals if I must say so myself.

If you haven’t heard of the author Tom Rath, I’d highly recommend looking into him. He’s written Strengthsfinder, Well-Being, and Eat.Move.Sleep. Target has a high focus on well-being in the five pillars that Tom Rath discusses in this book: Financial, Community, Social, Health and Career. This is such a great example of how this can ground you and help strive for balance. It’s reassuring to know that there are some times where certain pillars will take up more time than others, but again it’s not all the time and a reminder to everyone is you control that. Definitely an art, not a science and something I work to strive for everyday and I can’t say how thankful I am to have an employer to support this not only at work, but in my entire lifestyle.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it ” -Yogi Berra

When I started at Target 3 years ago, I was so excited to have landed an amazing job working in the health promotion field, just like my MA degree granted me the authority to do. My resume was solidly health focused—Corporate Fitness Center specialist, Public Health grant coordinator, and now an entry proudly baring Target’s name.

What most people didn’t know though was how much I thought about one single line on my resume: BA, English.

I couldn’t shake the feeling, yet again, that I was heading down a path that had nothing to do with English. I love health (like, I really dig it) but my first love of writing and communication was never far from my heart.

Even after I had started at Target and got the initial “so, what do you want to do next?” question, I felt like I couldn’t look back. The thought of doing something else caught me pretty off guard. Because, seriously, I had JUST started this super-great health job. And if getting the swing of things at Target wasn’t difficult enough, to also take on planning for what was next? Woof.

During that first year, even while I was working on really cool projects that I could have only dreamed about (like opening a Fitness Center, increasing café healthy food options, and biometric screenings) the nagging question of “is this really what you want to do?” didn’t go away. But the more times I asked myself that question and others asked me “what’s next?” the more I felt like it really was up to me to define my place at Target.

Then it hit me: even though health was why I was here, maybe the reason I would stay would be because somehow, maybe, just maybe I could find a way to rekindle my first love.

The more I started to tell people that I’d be happy to edit their anything-document, or draft their talking points, the more kudos (and confidence!) I got. It was clear to my peers and leaders that I really like that “English-stuff”.

And what do you know? Pretty quickly a fork appeared in the health-road I was on.

A little over a year ago I got my new gig working with my “old” team who still does all the super cool health stuff. AND I work with the communications team to write stories and the marketing team to design things like brochures, posters and giveaways. I write narrative responses to health-related award applications on behalf of Target and sometimes spend days editing communications all about health and benefits for our team members.

It’s like the absolute perfect job was created just for me. And though I’m not quite ready to think about “what I want to do next”, it is pretty cool to think that the road at Target can go nearly any direction I want it to.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

Making the Bullseye – The Executive Intern’s Guide

Here are the main lessons I have taken away from my experience as an Executive Intern for Target:

Know your team, know your business.
Your first week as an Intern at Target feels like learning a new language; there are hundreds of business concepts, terms, and especially acronyms to take in. This is just one reason why building relationships with your team is crucial as they will teach you the language of Target and help you become a successful leader. It is a matter of weeks before you will be leading your team of 100+ people in order to operate a multi-million dollar store (with full support from your store mentor of course!). Knowing your team is dually critical when giving directions and when asking for help. You’ll also find that the team has some pretty amazing people on it!

Embrace uncertainty and be courageous.
Much of the executive internship is unstructured because no two days at Target are exactly alike. After a few weeks of training in all areas of the store, I began acting as Leader on Duty (LOD), making me the highest point of contact in the store for the day. An LOD supervises every process in the store and ensures that things are running smoothly. Being LOD requires problem solving for guests, team members, vendors, and corporate. To take on this role, interns must embrace uncertainty and show courage and confidence when taking action.

Understand the big picture.
The executive internship is a thorough learning experience. Beyond my store leadership I have had the opportunity to tour a Target Distribution Center, shadow a Store Team Leader, District Team Leader, Human Resources Business Partner and Sales Market Leader, as well as chat with some of Target’s Group Vice Presidents. During each experience, I made a point to understand not only the “how” but also the “why” of what I was learning in order to bring context to my leadership and to support the best interest of Target.

A quick tip: Target’s CEO, Brian Cornell and his executive team make bold, strategic decisions for our company. Read about Target’s latest news using your resources in the store and reputable news sources to stay on top of initiatives affecting your business.

Say “thank you” to feedback.
Coming from a background in consulting and non-profits, I was surprised when I entered into the feedback oriented culture at Target. In my previous experiences, co-workers had feedback regarding each other’s performance but often would not share it. All team members at Target, especially interns, partake in formal statuses with their mentors to help identify their strengths and opportunities for growth. I have found these statuses to be an excellent tool for my personal development. Knowing what my opportunities are, I partner with my mentors to take action to improve. My best piece of advice is to say “thank you” and give recognition each step of the way to those who push you to become a great leader.

Add value.
As an intern it can be easy to feel obligated to spend all of your time learning Target’s best practices and executing them. This is true, but don’t sell yourself short! You can add value to Target. Since beginning my internship, I have helped improve our stores performance by doing everything from coming up with new initiatives to recognize team members who save our guests 5% with the Target Red Card to creating a new system to restock batteries (yes batteries!) throughout the store. Your contribution doesn’t have to be big in order to have influence. You bring a fresh, unique perspective that should be shared.

Have a blast!
Target is a fun place to work. Every day, our store leadership works to bring the team together in small ways through games, contests, fun traditions, and especially food. Some days, we have fun in big ways too. So far, I have helped throw an all-day barbeque for Team Member Appreciation Day, championed calendar events like “Fresh Toast Friday”, tagged along to a leadership-building trip to Six Flags, and spent a morning making breakfast for families at a the Ronald McDonald House. My very best advice is to make the most of it because ten weeks will fly!

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

Believe in yourself. You will hit the Target!

Senior year in college is a scary and exciting year for everyone. You are finishing up another chapter in your life, you may or may not have to go back home, and now all of your hard work must result in a job! I worked so hard throughout college to maintain a great GPA, but being a mother of 2 did not make me into the traditional college student who had a lot of time for extracurricular activities to show for.

I went to my school’s Career Fair, and Target was there recruiting interns. I spoke to the recruiters about who I am and what motivates me. Listening to other students speak to the recruiters about the leadership program they joined for 4 years, or the 2 years studying abroad made me second guess myself. I asked myself, why would Target want a person with a psychology major? I put my resume on the pile with everyone else’s and walked away.

To my surprise my school Career Center called me and told me that Target requested me for an interview for the internship program. As you already imagine, I got the internship. During an intern event I saw my recruiter and asked him why did he call me back? He said “I knew you would be perfect for Target; you are passionate about what you love, you know hard work pays off, and that not everything is black and white”.

After my internship, I was offered a position to be the Executive Team Leader of Guest Experience. I was in that position for 18 months, and during that time I was able to help people, and use what motivates them to shape them into better professionals while at the same time driving results for Target. Now I am training to be a Human Resource Executive where I believe I can make more of an impact, and continue to find those who need someone to believe in them.

A leader at Target is not necessarily the one with the longest resume. It is the one with the most passion, who knows who to believe in, and how to motivate them to achieve their best. That’s how Target achieves results.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

A Few of Many Lessons Learned at Target

I am halfway through my second summer with Target and I cannot believe how fast time is going. I’m a senior, but I will be graduating in December, so I have just six short months to prepare for my next step with this great company. Originally, I found Target through a career fair at my university. Of course I had shopped at Target plenty of times, but I never knew about all of the career opportunities Target offers.

My first summer in the program I was placed in Human Resources, a field I wasn’t familiar with at the time. That was my first lesson here: trust your leaders. They had taken into account my strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, personality traits and more then decided that work center was a good place to start developing my leadership skills. About halfway through I developed a passion for HR. I had already dove into ETL-HR responsibilities and tasks and was starting to explore the different ways I could advance at Target. Would I want to work store-side? Should I try to advance to a district level? Could I pursue a job at corporate? The possibilities continue to grow. It became my goal to become a Recruiter. I set my sights on learning the Target brand inside out and figuring out how I can impact the business with smart team member choices and business planning.

This summer I am partnered with my store’s ETL Sales Floor, an extremely unique position. Coming back after a long break, I spent a couple weeks re-familiarizing myself with the business and, most importantly, the team. Working on the sales floor, my interest in store-side leadership has been sparked, and I am considering working towards becoming a Store Team Leader (the manager of a Target store) in the future. That being said, I often think about how my experiences can be applied to HR, and I am also interested in pursuing a position called Human Resources Business Partner. The great thing: I don’t have to choose. For now, I’m focusing on developing myself as a leader in my store. I still have some time left in my internship and opportunities I continue to work on with my mentors. For all I know, there is an even better opportunity for me that I haven’t even heard of yet. Another big lesson: the only thing that can hold you back at Target is not keeping an open mind.

What Z-Racks Taught Me About Life

“Oh my goodness,” I thought to myself as I stared at the dauntingly full z-rack of bathing suits in the fitting room. I was tasked with completing the re-shop at the start of the day and was utterly overwhelmed. “All right, you can do this” I said to myself, pushing the rack onto the floor. Forty minutes and an empty z-rack later I walked back to the fitting room, proud of myself and my quick work, only to find another full z-rack waiting for me.

After three z-racks, I began to realize that the work load would never be truly “done.” Finished, over, box-checked does not actually exist with re-shop. How could these team members deal with this phenomenon? What must it be like to know that fully completing a task is an impossibility? When I finally got home after that first Saturday on duty I came to the conclusion that z-racks and re-shop are a lot like life.

Bear with me here. I promise this is going somewhere and has deep meaning. In life, we are on the quest to better ourselves, our relationships, our work, etc. Yet, despite our best efforts we will constantly be evolving and as great as we may be, we can always get better.

This is an idea and reality that I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. I am the type of person who makes to-do lists and adds tasks I’ve already done just so I can check them off. As a problem solver and one who drives for results, my mentality has always been that I can break any goal into action steps and once those are complete I can consider myself successful. Working with those z-racks were an “ah ha” moment, though. I came to understand that not only can’t we be done, but it is ok that we are never finished. The moment you stop developing is actually the moment that you have failed.

Of course, having this epiphany is all well and good. I now comprehend one of life’s mysteries! But this does not actually do me any good until I can accept it. Through interning at Target I have learned that it is not enough to solicit feedback or focus on your opportunities or build meaningful relationships unless you are able and willing to accept the situation you are in and look to leverage your strengths.

Since I now know (and you know too, because you are reading this) that in life we will be on a continuous path of improvement and that is both natural and ok, we must make the conscious effort to accept and embrace this. Through challenging ourselves and our ideas (shout out to my mentor for always helping me to do this!) we are taking the necessary steps to move closer to our ideal selves. We will never be complete (and that would be boring anyway. I mean, what would you even do with yourself if you checked off all of the boxes?), but we will always be moving forward, one z-rack at a time.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

Targeting My Future

It’s always a scary thought when people ask me, “What are your plans when you graduate from college? Where do you want to work? Where do you want to live?” For a college student unsure of where the future might take them, these sounded like daunting questions that remained unanswered. That is until I spoke to Target at my university’s career fair.

Of course through the years as an avid shopper, I fell in love with the Target brand and the culture you hear about within the community. This love grew deeper as I began the interview process while looking for an internship. Every person I spoke to had so much experience with the company and provided great feedback and advice. Not only did the company loyalty shine through when speaking to team members in all departments and at all levels, but the feedback from previous interns was amazing. A company so invested in their interns and the time spent in developing these individuals was something I strived to find in an internship.

I happily accepted the offer as Logistics Intern for the summer of 2015. Little did I know I would meet some pretty amazing people with years of experience with Target that would help grow and mold me within the company. It was a whole new ballgame of retail that I had never experienced, and never did a day pass that I went home without learning another piece to the Target puzzle.

Now halfway through my internship, I can not only see how I’ve grown as a leader, but I can see how I’ve grown as a person. It’s hard to find a company that cares so much about their employee’s growth and potential, but I’m pretty sure I’ve found one that does. Now when asked “Where do you want to work?” I can say without a doubt that I’m excited to see where my future lies with Target.

Where can Target Take You?

I wanted to share with you all an awesome story about where Target has taken me in my career. I was recruited as a Pharmacy Technician around 8 years ago and immediately felt at home. In this environment I grew to understand my worth and what having great developmental support can do for a person. I credit this support and encouragement for helping me pursue my dream of becoming a Pharmacist.

After being accepted into Pharmacy School, I transferred to a Target store in Savannah, GA. I worked as an intern while I attended South University. I was able to really focus in on my studies because I knew that I wanted to stay with Target as a Pharmacist. Again, Target’s support and development helped me graduate number 1 in my class! After school I returned home to Pensacola, Fl. and began my pharmacy career with Target as a floater. Although I loved floating and helping multiple stores provide genuine healthcare and services to our guests, I accepted a position as an Executive Pharmacist and shortly after became an ETL-RX Pharmacy Manager. During my time in Pensacola as a Pharmacy Manager I lead my store through many changes and worked to develop a resilient, driven, and happy team.  When first arriving to this team I quickly realized that change management would be an important part of my role. I really worked on bringing out the positives and explaining why we are an ever evolving company and what benefits it brings our team and guests. This really helped my team see the value in challenging themselves and becoming more resilient and adaptable. With this renewed outlook we rose to the top of our group in results and team engagement.

Some other things I’m proud of are assisting my peers and Business Partner as a district resource and working with our entire group of 65 pharmacies as our vaccination captain.  These challenges helped me prepare for my next role with Target, a Healthcare Business Partner in Louisiana. In this role, I will help lead 18 stores to excellence and give that same developmental support that has been given to me.

Lessons of the Bullseye

As I sit and reflect on this past year of my life, I can only think how appreciative I am to have been part of such a hard-working, charismatic team of people.

This past summer I started the Executive Internship in stores, hoping to develop some real world experience, when in reality I would come away with so much more.

My Target journey has not only taught me a lot about myself as a leader, but also how to work in a team. Almost immediately, I fell in love with the positivity that radiated from each Team Member, and I yearned for more. This yearning led me to my current position, Target Campus Liaison at the University of Georgia.

Here are five lessons that I’ve learned throughout my career with Target.

1) It’s okay not to have all the answers. When I began my role as a Campus Liaison, I found myself overwhelmed and feeling a bit lost. Where do I even begin? Who do I reach out to? I soon realized, that I had a team of people at my arm’s reach that would be more than happy to help me. I began asking my supervisor and my peers for help. I learned that it’s okay not to have all the answers. Better yet, I actually would gain more insight from using the various people and resources around me.

2) Embrace feedback. Feedback can be difficult to hear, and it can sometimes be an awkward experience. During my internship, I quickly learned that Target embraces giving feedback, through discussing each individual’s strengths and opportunities. Rather than viewing feedback as a negative, Target taught me to use it to my advantage to improve myself as a leader. My supervisors were giving me constant feedback, because they cared for my growth and development.

3) Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. This goes hand in hand with embracing feedback. After having a discussion with my advisor and mentor, I was slightly alarmed that my biggest opportunity was demonstrates courage. As my internship was coming to an end, a great opportunity presented itself, the Campus Liaison position at my university. This was a huge step in my career, and although frightening, I knew it would help me broaden my experience. I set up my first campus presentation, and I was nervous, terrified, imagining the million reasons why I could fail…but I did it. I survived and faced a crowd of 300 people. Now, giving presentations is a routine part of my everyday job.

4) Don’t let a few bumps in the road discourage you. As a Campus Liaison, I had high hopes of targeting the Greek life at UGA. I used all my resources, sent numerous emails, and wasn’t getting the response I had hoped for. It was challenging to feel as though my hard work wasn’t translating to the direct results I had planned for. Although frustrating and exhausting, this bump in the road actually allowed me to refocus and target another area on campus that would eventually be a big success…the Terry College of Business school. I dove headfirst by setting up classroom presentations, Employer of the Day, and reaching out to the Business organizations.

5) Every mentor has something to teach you. A big part of entering the work force, that they don’t prepare you for in school, is working with a vast number of very diverse individuals. Throughout both my internship, and my current position, I have been enormously fortunate to work with some inspiring and conscientious people. My District Team Leader has really highlighted work-life balance. Her secret is keeping good routines and schedules, so that she has time to enjoy family and interests outside of work. My current supervisor has exemplified an optimistic demeanor, even in a time of vast transition and change. My Recruitment Captain has reiterated to always know your business, and be able to explain that to those you are working with. Lastly, my local Store Team Leader has been able to share through his Target story, that if you perform, Target will assist you in whatever career path you choose. I have been able to really learn that each mentor I come in contact with throughout my career has something to teach me.

I am in no way an expert or even faintly close to having it all figured out, but I will say I have learned countless, invaluable lessons throughout my career with Target, and I look forward to joining the team full-time come July as an Executive Team Leader!

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

Adventures of a Dummy

Confession: I am a dummy. A whopper. And, let’s be honest, so are you. Every human being on the planet is a dummy just by the sheer fact that we can never know everything that there is to know. The pool of possible knowledge today is like something infinite expanding infinitely at a speed increasing to the power of infinity. OK. So this is a bit of an embellishment. And if I could recover any of my deep mathematic skills I learned proving the existence of things like zero, I couldn’t prove it. But it’s not far off. No matter what we do, we all are and will forever be dummies.

So let’s embrace it!

The last couple months, I have been doing just that. And it has been by far the BEST part of my job.

I am a technical architect and one of my awesome opportunities recently is to start us on a journey to service enable business intelligence owned data just like we would any other data in the company. Not only do I get to learn new services technologies, but we are also jumping into the automation tool deep end of the pool, and we’re swimming. Granted, it’s an awkward little doggy paddle at the moment, but we’re getting our form and finding our rhythm.

I cannot not tell you how much I am enjoying this! Spending hours digging into Chef with its cookbooks, recipes and knife commands, learning how to create my own virtual machines on Openstack, reusing components in our enterprise Github to construct a complete app server in minutes, … OK, in reality, it took me days, hours of agonizing frustration, and several cries for help (thank you online Communities and automation lab!) to get to the point where I can do these things in minutes. But that was part of the adventure and the ultimate achievement is so much sweeter because of it.

Every day, I am striving to learn and try something new, take a step forward, and granted, some days, 2 steps back. But I am always moving on my crooked wiggly path towards success of something or another.

I leave you with a few things I learned on this journey should they help you on your own travels down a crooked wiggly path.

1. Always be learning
2. Work through the fear (it is often worse than any likely reality)
4. See the big picture, but don’t try to boil the entire ocean your first go
5. Get your hands dirty, like filthy
5. Break a sweat moving out of your comfort zone
6. Know who can help you (don’t spend too long alone in the pit of despair)
7. Share what you learned (don’t just be a taker, be a giver)
8. Celebrate openly…you are a dummy, forever and always. This is a beautiful thing.

You know, I am going to retract the first sentence of my post and replace it with this:

DECLARATION: I am dummy, and I am always learning, and it is simply awesome.

A confession gives a connotation of being ashamed, like I did something wrong, or want to hide something about myself. This is definitely not the case.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

what i’ve learned

Over the past two years, I have learned more than I can possibly put into words. I have learned the critical business analyst tasks—how to forecast ads, troubleshoot instocks, and write purchase orders—but I have also learned how to carry myself professionally, communicate effectively, and create a work/life balance.

The business analyst role has truly laid the foundation for me to have a successful career, and for that I could not be more grateful. But after two years, it’s time to move on. I am passing the ice cream torch to one of the former interns that I’ve worked with who has returned full time and I am moving on to a new challenge within Target’s Community Relations department.

This time of transition has been a whirlwind, and as I am about to move on I’ve been taking the time to reflect on the biggest things I’ve learned throughout my time as a business analyst. When you’ve learned as much as I have (phew…it’s been a lot), it’s definitely hard to identify just a few things, but these four learnings definitely stick out the most in my mind:

*It’s not worth crying over spilled milk melted ice cream

  • When you are a BA, some not-so-great things are going to happen. Trucks are going to melt, vendors are going to not ship you, and orders are going to arrive with pallets completely tipped over. It happens. The reality is that this is the nature of any business, and there are some things that we just can’t control. It’s not worth crying over (even when it really feels like it is), and what’s most important is your ability to adapt and react when bad things happen.

*Nobody wants to screw up

  • This is a big one, and it’s all about perspective. When vendors and other partners you work with disappoint you, human nature is to assume the worst about their intentions. As a BA, you put out fires constantly (it’s actually a big part of what makes the job really exciting), but in order to maintain relationships with key partners you have to approach every issue with a solution-oriented focus that never emphasizes blame. The reality is that you’re going to screw up eventually too—so give a little grace to others and it will most definitely come back to you.

*Perception is reality

  • At the end of the day, you are who people think you are. This may seem a bit blunt or unfair, but it’s a reality. It is of key importance that you always think through how your actions are being perceived by both your internal and external partners. As a BA, you are the face of Target to our vendors and to anyone you work with. This is a lot of responsibility, so set yourself up for success by keeping this in mind from day one.

*The only constant is change

  • There will always be new best methods, new systems, and new faces that you will have to adapt to and work with—especially in this new retail day and age where our guest is changing how they are choosing to shop at Target. Being resilient, adaptable, and open to change is one of the biggest keys to success. If you show that you are an individual who cannot simply just survive during change but thrive during change you will be unstoppable.

This last learning is especially resonating with me as I am packing up my desk and moving on to a new building, a new team, and a new role. This change is scary, but it’s also exhilarating. I wholeheartedly believe that you grow the most when you’re “uncomfortable” or when you’re being challenged in a new way. And that’s the great thing about Target: you will always get challenged with new opportunities and roles, which means you will never stop growing in your career or in your personal development.

So I’m ready to grow and I’m ready to go—but I’ll never forget my time as the Ice Cream BA. I’ve learned a ton, I’ve worked with some of the best people in the world, and I’ve eaten more ice cream than you could ever imagine.

The BA role set me up for huge success—where could it take you?

Interested in joining Target a business analyst? We’re hiring! Learn more here.

Target Attends ROMBA 2014

ROMBA (Reaching Out MBA) is one of those unique experiences that reminds you why you LOVE working for Target. This October I had the incredible opportunity to attend my very first ROMBA Annual Conference in San Francisco with Target leaders and team members from across the organization. ROMBA promotes the education, visibility, and networking capabilities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender business leaders in the United States and around the globe.

I recently took on the responsibility of creating Target’s first-ever LGBT guest-facing marketing strategy last month, so the ROMBA conference holds a very special place in my heart. My journey at Target began when I was recruited by Target at a similar conference. I’ve now been working for Target for 9+ years and been deeply involved with advocating for our LGBT team members.

Our Target team was involved with the entire conference. They led workshops teaching future business leaders important skills such as “Holding Others Accountable” & “Establishing Yourself as an LGBTQ Woman.” The team partnered with our friends at Unilever to host a case study competition on “How to Market to Men.” We even hosted a charity party that benefited the San Francisco LGBT Center.  Most importantly, we met and interviewed some remarkable top talent that I hope will eventually be a part of the Target team.

The true meaning of how Target was making a difference at this conference arrived in my inbox the following week post conference. I remember talking with this young man who was advised by some people to “go back in the closet” and hide his LGBT experiences on his resume when applying to post MBA jobs. We had a very emotional conversation where I shared my experiences working at Target as an openly gay man. This young man wrote me to say after our conversation, telling me that after hearing I could be openly gay at work and the support I get from my colleagues he decided to put his past work with the LGBT community back on his resume. He was simply writing to say thank you.

I’ve never been so proud to work for such an inclusive company.

Post by Michael, Manager, LGBT Marketing Strategy at Target Headquarters

Want to know more about diversity at Target? Click here.

Skyway Software Symposium

I recently had the privilege to speak at a Target-hosted Meetup through our Skyway Software Symposium group. If you’re not familiar with the Meetup site, take a look. Meetup is a great place to find other people and groups interested in various topics – not just technical. The Skyway Software Symposium has a technology focus around software and is a forum for discussion around new technologies, trends in various industries, and sharing experiences.

First things first: We hosted our Meetup at Target Plaza Commons (TPC,  our team member collaboration space that is as un-office as it gets. This space has tons of open seating, outdoor spaces, and team-oriented activities that include lawn bowling, basketball, air hockey, arcade games, multiple game consoles, and a weekly outdoor BBQ. This space is perfect for Meetups!

My topic was on “IT Assets in Code” to Enable Service Management but that’s secondary to the real theme of this post… The openness and surge of public participation my company that has taken shape in recent months from Target is tremendous when I look back on my almost 14 years employment with the company. I’m thrilled at the new outlook, perspective and approach to sharing and open-mindedness in growing the community, in both technical and social forums. This goes beyond the internal focus of improving our technical prowess and acumen towards new tech and trends – we’re getting more and more momentum around public venues to share our story. There’s loads of excitement across different domains within our various organizations: business and technology alike.

Target’s historical approach to sharing information has been to keep things close to the vest, which in the past had merit and value. There will always be a review process, to a degree, in what gets shared but the thickly guarded approach to protect every molecule of detail on “all of the things” we do at Target is being met with some new thought leadership. There’s more and more opportunity to share back to the community things that we’re doing in the technical space that simply needs to be, well, communal … and Target gets it. That’s one of the reasons for the Skyway Software Symposium: to connect with other technically like-minded individuals and groups and expand the conversation beyond our four walls.

There are other themes in the more public and community oriented technology leadership these days. At the recent Minneapolis DevOps Days (http://devopsdays.org/events/2014-minneapolis/) not only was Target a Gold Medal sponsor but we also had a joint keynote presentation about Devops at Target from team members Heather (@hmmickman) and Ross (@rossclanton) that detailed the story of our journey in embracing DevOps. We’re still very much on that journey but the swell of enthusiasm is exhilarating to see internally – more and more folks see a different path. Venues like DevOps Days and the Skyway Software Symposium are two ways Target is doing more in sharing the story of how we’re #making_awesome_happen. The keynote is about 33 minutes long and can be found here, including the presentation on Speaker Deck: http://devopsdays.org/events/2014-minneapolis/proposals/DevOps%20at%20Target/

Another new community oriented venture is the first public Target tech blog. Target has shared stories in the past through Target Pulse but this new blog is specific to highlighting the technology story. This is where the technologists have an opportunity to show some of the cool stuff we’re working through around infrastructure-as-code, application performance engineering, automated testing, and cloud-friendly implementations. The tech blog is headed up by our own Dan (@pmotch) with tons of work from the Target Enterprise Services team – like Aaron (@strey203).

There are more and more opportunities evolving daily in how Target approaches technology, collaboration (internal and external), and our engagement into the communities that we participate in – including technical arenas. Those opportunities continue to unfold and show brighter days for our Target technologists. I can’t wait for what the future holds.

P.S. I’d like to thank all the attendees that came out. I coordinated a mixer of two different meet-ups that I wanted to attend and, thankfully, we were able to get both groups in the same space – the DevOps Minneapolis meet-up was on the same night. The conversation on my presentation topic was great which always adds value to the investment people make in these types of meet-ups.

Post by Jason (@Thedesktophero), Engineer Consultant – Target Technology Services
Jason is currently focused on automation and performance management at Target. These two practices can sometimes be seen as two courses of differing streams of consciousness but Jason strives for “crossing the streams”.

Interested in a digital career with Target? Search and apply for current openings here.

ALPFA Who?

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For the third year in a row I had the privilege to attend ALPFA’s National Convention in Orlando, Florida with Target’s Talent Acquisition team as a brand ambassador. ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America) is the largest Latino organization for business professionals and students with chapters nationwide, and over 18,000 members. ALPFA’s main mission is to build business Latino leaders for America, and ALPFA is also a key partner for Target. I am especially proud to be a part of a company that supports ALPFA and here’s why:

As a sophomore in college I attended ALPFA’s Annual National Convention with one goal in mind: to find an internship for the following summer as it was a prerequisite for the McCombs School of Business (“Hook ‘Em”!).  I was on a mission the day of the career fair, determined to talk to Target recruiters and get an internship.  Fast-forward two months and I was an intern for the leadership development program in Target’s Financial & Retail Services department.  At the end of the internship I was offered a full-time position with Target. This was an exceptionally big decision for me but I ultimately chose to relocate to Minneapolis from Texas – sacrificing all of the everyday special moments with my family and friends back at home.

Because of Target and their partnership with ALPFA I was able to continue to stay involved with the organization and get connected with the ALPFA Twin Cities chapter.  I currently serve as the Vice President of Student Affairs and my goal is to create a student chapter in the Twin Cities to provide Minnesotan students with the same opportunities I had when I was a part of the ALPFA student chapter in Texas. It is through this organization that I was able to make friends who I now consider my little family in Minneapolis; they are my support and the ones who encourage me during difficult times.

I want to thank Target for it continued partnership with ALPFA- because of this partnership I have been able to continue to give back to my community and inspire others by sharing my own story with students whose shoes I was in not too long ago. I have been with Target for over two years now; if it wasn’t for this unique partnership that Target has with ALPFA I honestly do not know where I would be at today in my career.

Post by Claudia,  Associate Analyst –  Target Information Protection

Interested in a career with Target? Search for current opening here.

Target at Fort Hood

I recently had the opportunity to join  Target’s talent acquisition team in partnership with the Fort Hood’s Soldier for Life: Transition Assistance Program to host Target’s first-ever recruiting event at Fort Hood in Texas.  The goal of the events was to link transitioning soldiers with Target leaders who have been through the military transition process themselves.  The onsite Target group consisted of leaders from talent acquisition, human resources, organizational effectiveness, stores, and distribution. As a team we offered military personal the opportunity to network and learn about how to make their next career move.  In addition, those that attended the event were able to participate in a professional development session to learn more about the interviewing skills necessary to prepare them for the road ahead. I was easy to see through the relationship building and the planning of the event  Target’s passion for supporting our troops.

I think this event is a great example of what we should keep doing as a company – genuinely connecting with our guests and candidates.  Fort Hood was less about recruiting and more about offering a great service to our military veterans to truly help them make a successful transition from a military career to the civilian workforce.  The extra benefit was that we were able to educate them on Target and potential careers that could be a great fit for them.  To me, this approach makes Target appealing, authentic and sends the right message of what we are all about.  More importantly, I think we have opened the doors to Fort Hood and possibly other military institutions.  As a result, we now have some great military talent in the pipeline!

Post by Eric, Senior Group Leader – Engineering & Facilities Management

Are you a veteran with an interest in Target? Learn more about opportunities at Target.com/military.

Reaching and Teaching Our Veterans

I was really excited to be a part of the Target team that piloted our first ever Fort Hood Base event. This event allowed us to reach out to some of our nation’s veterans and connect them to career opportunities at Target. But what really impressed me was how we used this event to also teach by providing professional leadership development to the participants along with first-hand testimonials from current Target leaders that made the transition from military to civilian life. Just like in our stores, we focused on providing our guests (our veterans in this case) with an amazing experience to keep them coming back to Target.

The participants really got involved in the professional development- coming up with ideas on how to connect with our guests and transform our business in the Stores. And I heard rave reviews from them on the afternoon session where they had the chance to meet with both human resources and stores leadership to discuss resume writing, interview skills and transition tips. It was encouraging to hear from several of the participants that they had never attended an event like this before where an employer focused on really connecting with prospective talent versus just selling their company as a place to work.

The potential for an event like this is huge! As our nation’s military reorganizes after returning from over 10 years of war, there will be very talented, motivated and agile leaders who are looking to continue their career in leadership. And there’s no doubt that we provide this opportunity here at Target. We started with the largest active duty post in the country first- just like Target to start big! I look forward to us expanding this pilot to other installations as we look to bring great leaders into our organization to join the best team ever!

Post by Tyler, Human Resources Manager – Distribution
Tyler is a former US Army Military Intelligence Officer with over six years of experience at Target within distribution and supply chain leadership.

Are you a veteran with an interest in Target? Learn more about opportunities at Target.com/military.

Experience is the Best Teacher

Author Paulo Coelho said, “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” In the world we live in today, opportunities for college students to get quality work experience before graduation are few and far between. Luckily for me, the Target internship landed in my lap without my ever realizing how truly valuable it would be. In the past 7 weeks I have learned more about leadership, managing a business, and working with a team than any amount of time in school could have ever taught me.

I have been included and incorporated into the Target fabric and nothing fosters growth better than inclusion. My mentor has challenged me to own my development and encourages me to always ask questions and continue to learn. She has pushed me out of my comfort zone because she knows what I am capable of doing, but has stayed close enough to let me know she’s here if I need her. I have been given opportunities to participate in things that most jobs don’t let interns do, including running the sales floor on my own and interviewing new applicants. Not many college students can say they’ve done either of those things. I am trusted and cared for, and I don’t think any other business invests as much time and energy into their interns as Target has invested in me. It has made me a better student, leader, and the experience I’ve gained will make me a much more valuable employee. And as Coelho said, nothing can substitute experience.

Post by Francesca, Target stores executive intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

Building Confidence

Being a senior and attending Louisiana’s flagship school, I was always taught to be prideful and confident in my university. I have never been too shy to scream “GEAUX Tigers,” and I have always made it a point to say “Love Purple and Live GOLD”. However, it has always bothered me that I could be so confident in a school or even our football team, but I have myself lacked self-confidence. While I attending LSU I have taken classes that allowed me to conduct some self-evaluations and dive into my personality type. Sure enough, all my results from my instructors and classmates were along the lines of “Take Risks” or “Be Confident”. I began to realize that if I was always afraid or nervous that I would not be able to excel.

Once I began my executive food internship at Target I was very excited; yet, the feeling of excitement soon vanished when I received my schedule.  As I reviewed the course of the program, there were dates marked “Lead Food Department” or “Be LOD (leader on duty)”. I was so nervous! However, over the course of the internship, I was able to prove to myself how much responsibility I could handle. I noticed I was becoming more comfortable not only in my department, but in the greater store as well. It was definitely time to do something out of my comfort zone.

Recently, our district team leader (or DTL as Target calls it) and human resources business partner (or HRBP), took us interns on two store visits.  Our district team leader wanted us to get the feel for what it was like to be on both ends of a DTL visit. We were able to witness how he actually conducted the walk to observe a Target store. I was pretty sure that this was an assessment of how much we were learning over the last few weeks.

I was rushing with emotions as we walked the store  assessing their wins and opportunities. It hit home for me that all of the training and development I received during my internship came to fruition. Then, the time came to recap our experience with our DTL. This really took me out of my element. I am not typically a reserved or shy person when it pertains to my personal life, but I was now lacking professional confidence. But in that moment I felt a sense of confidence build up inside me. I began to explain my assessment of each store calmly, yet confidently, which resulted in me receiving amazing feedback from my HRBP.

I owe a great deal of recognition to my mentor for being such a huge impact in my development. He has always supported me by instilling the confidence in me to lead at the next level. With his encouragement, I was not only able to successfully complete my DTL walk, but I gained the experience in such a value-added session to not only take back to the store team but to continue with the tools given to enhance the communication style and leadership capabilities that I have always desired!

Post by Kristen, Target stores executive intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

Real life?

College, internships, careers; sounds stressful, huh? This is because from the moment we begin elementary school we expect the next year to be so much harder. In middle school we are told, “You kids better be ready for high school, you need to pay attention and have a good GPA for college applications”. In high school we hear, “Start preparing for college; the work is harder and this is where ‘real life’ begins”. I was always the type that didn’t want to think ahead. Yeah, I filled out college applications, but not until the last day possible. Yeah, I went to the career fair, but it was after my parents and teachers told me numerous times how important it is and how “it won’t be that bad”.

After my sophomore year at Purdue I realized that life is actually a whole lot different than college. The amount of free time changes when you have a full time job and you can’t head over to the dining court for meals prepared by someone else anymore. When I went to the career fair at Purdue last year I was so nervous. I walked in with my sweaty hands and black portfolio that I didn’t really know what to do with. I talked to several companies but never felt super welcomed or very excited about the positions. I thought to myself, “so this is what the real world is going to feel like; I don’t fit in here.” The last company I spoke to was Target.  I immediately felt welcomed and everyone seemed happy I stopped by the booth. I asked lots of questions and finally began taking notes in that black portfolio.

The rest of that story is history. This is now the 6th week of my internship and I can’t believe how much I have learned and how many new friends I have made already. If this internship is a look into what a career at Target is like, then I do belong in this kind of ‘real life’. I want to love what I do every day and Target has provided me that. There is always a new challenge to overcome and great mentors to help guide you in the right direction.

I am not saying this because I now work for Target; I am saying this because hard work pays off.  And when you work hard enough you will find a place that ‘fits’ you.  The feeling of not knowing what to say or how to act is temporary, so don’t settle.  Search for culture… and the rest will fall into place.

Post by Sophia, stores intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

Putting the S in Progress

Image: Headquarters interns participate in the annual Tomato Royale Food Fight in the Twin Cities.

I identify myself as a writer. Whether I am organizing a technical document or unleashing my creative spirit on paper, I try to review each word for elegance and sentence for style. My philosophy was that one spelling mistake could ruin a reputation.

When I started at Target I immediately jumped into a project documenting how Target team members would use a new application and how Target Technology Services would support it.  Making technology easier and more accessible is one of my biggest passions. I spent the first week reviewing material and condensing it into a guide that could be universally understood. One of the lessons I learned from technical writing was how to make a large impact with the fewest words possible.

Once I was finished, I prepared for feedback. As I hit SEND I was confident the team would be impressed with my document. A few days later I received an email from a team member highlighting a glaring spelling mistake. Right there on the front page, I had left one critical “s” off of the word “assess.” This document was shared with not just my team, but people all across Target.  I was mortified.

Hanging my head low, I went to tell my manager. The minute the words left my mouth he bent over with laughter and I could not help but join in. He said, “This will be a great story to tell the interns when you start working here. Life is about progress, not perfection.” This was a philosophy he embodied and I realized that part of creating a successful document meant making a few mistakes and seeking feedback from your peers. This was not the end of my career with Target; it was just something that happened.

My embarrassing story became a topic of conversation. Other members of my team opened up about their first mistakes and we all joked about lessons learned. Looking back it seems more embarrassing that I felt like one outrageous spelling error was such a big deal. Since then I have taken more risks, voiced more of my ideas and shared my set-backs with others. I have progressed in my internship through this experience and have realized in order to make a good impression it is about handling challenges with grace instead of precision.

Post by Leah, headquarters Target Technology Services intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

Boarding Call for Success

At Target, we talk about professional development using the terms “strengths” and “opportunities”-the latter being a euphemism for “weakness”. During my first weekly mentor meeting my store team leader, Rony, shared an insightful metaphor. He compared strengths and opportunities to the parts of a plane. He described that we fly with our strengths; propelled by our innate and instinctive strengths as the fuel of the plane. However, our flight will always be weighed down by our opportunities, essentially our baggage (excuse the pun). To get to our destination the quickest we must lead with our strengths and control our opportunities.

My plane, now shining with the bright red Target bullseye symbol, has swiftly ascended into clear skies. Truthfully, what makes this flight so smooth and pleasant is my team. On my first day in the store I was embraced by smiles and even a hug! My cheeks actually hurt from smiling. I am grateful to say that this warm welcome has not faded. What truly differentiates this internship from any other is summed up in two simple words: “I matter”.  I am seen, heard, and understood. Most importantly, I am held accountable. The Target culture and environment challenges my talent, responsibility, and leadership. My professional and personal growth is aided through hands-on involvement. Not only am I shadowing my mentor but I am given the chance to manage and execute with the same expectations as an executive team leader. I am held accountable for running the sales floor, managing my team and exceeding guest expectations. An ideal example of jumping in when I am interested occurred today: I had the opportunity to lead an interview with an applicant and have a say in the next steps. I felt important that I had a say in the future of Target.

As my fourth week comes to a close I can already share my advice for future interns: crave curiosity. Curiosity compels and drives our development. Taking initiative and interest in an area or simply clarifying a topic for full understanding not only demonstrates a thirst for knowledge, but a thirst for success. To me, success is flying your own plane. Target has provided me with this plane but it is my responsibility to choose the path.

Post by Jasmin, stores intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

Amazing Nurse Practitioners at Target Clinic

Last month I shared how much I love my profession and recognition. Well, I would be completely remiss if I did not share my love and recognition for another medical profession that staffs Target Clinic in Minnesota– Nurse Practitioners (NP). And since National Nurse Practitioner Week is celebrated this month I thought this would be perfect timing.  I asked one of our fabulous NPs, Kristen, to share more about the profession and what she enjoys about working at Target Clinic.

Lexie: What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Kristen: A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has expanded his or her education and passed a national certification exam. Some nurse practitioners are known as “Advanced Practice Registered Nurses”. As an NP, I am trained to diagnose and treat most medical conditions. I can also write prescriptions for medications and order lab tests and x-rays. I have also been trained to preform minor office procedures such as: casting, suturing, and mole/wart/skin tag removal- just to name a few. Though, I don’t do all of these things at Target Clinic, they are all within the scope of my training.

L: Last month I talked about PA education and training. How does this differ from a NP’s?

K: There are a number of differences ranging from the clinician’s background to practice guidelines. Nurse practitioners are required to have a bachelor’s degree as a registered nurse and to practice as a registered nurse for at least 1000 hours prior to beginning an NP program. Nurse Practitioner programs can be either a masters or doctoral program and generally take 3-4 years to complete. After completion of a NP program, NPs must pass a national certification exam in order to become certified. In order to maintain that status a NP must practice at least 1000 hours and maintain a specified number of continuing education credits every five years.

L: So with NPs able to work in a variety of settings, what brought you to Target Clinic?

K:  Prior to coming to Target, I worked as a registered nurse for seven years. My cohorts frequently ask me why I work for Target Clinics; the answer is simple- I LOVE my job! As an NP I am driven by the ability to help patients meet their healthcare needs through innovative, quality and convenient service which Target Clinic offers all of their guests. I have also always been very passionate about development, leadership, and leading amazing teams to be successful. These are all opportunities that I have been presented while working for Target Clinics. Additionally, I am fortunate to work with amazing leaders who are invested in my future and who support my personal development every step of the way.

L: Anything else you’d like to share?

K: I am proud to be one of more than 171,000 certified nurse practitioners in the US. I truly have a sincere appreciation and passion for the profession, which is why I am an NP. As National Nurse Practitioner Week was November 10-16, I would like to recognize all of the fabulous nurse practitioners that I work with at Target Clinics for all of their hard work, dedication and professionalism. The patients that we serve deserve the best and that’s exactly what they get when they are seen at Target Clinic!

Interested in a career with Target Clinic? Click here to learn more. 

a time of transition

In my mind, there are two definitions of “transition”:

  • General Definition: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another
  • Target Definition: a semi-annual/annual process where product is changing in an assortment

For the ice cream team, it’s recently been a time of transition–in both the general and Target sense. As noted in my last blog post, we have a new buyer (Jon…but we call him Jim), and we also have a business analyst in training (Tia) that is training on the ice cream desk. They’re both wonderful additions to the team, and they’ve been spending the past few weeks getting up to speed on all things ice cream-related.

On top of this transition, we’ve also been knee-deep prepping for Target’s definition of a transition–which our category will be going through in early February. We’ve been planning item changes, envisioning what the aisle is going to look like, as well as figuring out how we can optimize our inventory flow to create the best ice cream assortment for our guest.

As you can imagine, when two of the four ice cream team members are still new to the category during this crucial time of year, this “time of transition” has the potential to be overwhelming, stressful, and tiring…but, you know what?

It’s not.

Here at Target, change and times of transition aren’t the exception–they’re the rule. Our company is built on consistently bringing new minds and new ideas to categories in order to strengthen and keep fresh what we are offering to our guest. Due to this, Target team members adapt easily, and we are given tools and resources that make these times of transition much more exciting than they are scary.

Jim and Tia have both been great thought partners from the moment they joined our team, and their need for guidance on everything ice cream has only solidified my personal confidence in what I know about our business. This transition has been an amazing opportunity for both myself and our merchandise specialist (Hannah) to show leadership and be a distinct voice in making decisions for what the future of ice cream at Target will look like in February and beyond.

In the meantime, while this time of transition is definitely keeping me busy, I am finding that I am becoming energized by the new challenges my role is presenting me. The BA role is never boring–and that is just one of many, many things I adore about my job.

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

b.a.l – be a leader

B.A.L is a simple acronym that stands for “Be a Leader!” Target loves acronyms so, I thought it was fitting to use one from my personal life to show case what leadership means to me and how I apply it to my career. The term stems from way back when I played high school football in New Jersey. It was my first game starting at quarterback and to ease my nerves, and my coach wrote “BAL” on my wrist tape. He said if I focus on leading and making sure the team is all pulling for a common goal, I’ll get the outcome I wanted. [Then he ripped up some end zone grass and made me eat it. He said you need to want to score so bad you can taste it.] I tell you this not so you can know my life story, but so you can see how something so simple can shape your passion and drive towards leadership.

Taking the BAL mentality to Target, I took advantage of any and all developmental opportunities offered. We use the term “own your development,” meaning use all the amazing chances you get to build your leadership brand and mold your personal style of leadership through a number of activities. The level of transparency in the company allows me the contact and open communication with leaders of all levels who are always ready and willing to share knowledge and feedback. The great variety of classroom and on the job lessons provided during my 6 week training period really set me up for success in my first role and gave me a better understanding of responsibilities as an executive team leader (ETL). [Being open about my goals and where I want to be with the company (tasting the end zone grass, if you will) has given me the opportunity to take the path and build the relationships necessary to get there.]

These tools, plus a passion for leadership, provides endless growth potential with Target. I came in with no retail experience at all, but had the ability to learn and the desire to lead. Target gave me the tools to build my style of leadership and grow as a manager. Every day I go to work, I get to be the quarterback of my team again. Motivating and training my team, empower my team leaders, mentoring my peers and inspiring others to all pull towards a common goal is how I use leadership every day. As ETLs, we manage a diverse team, a growing business and one of the most recognizable brands there is. All you have to do is BAL and the sky is the limit with Target.

“b.a.l – be a leader.”   -Coach M

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

a letter to my buyer

At Target, we believe in development and growth –  and this is most evident in the pace in which team members move roles and consistently take on new challenges. Being resilient and adaptable is key to being successful at Target, and this is especially important when there is movement in your business unit, or BU.

As you learned in my last post, I truly feel that I have the best BU in the company. My buyer, merchandise specialist, and I are a close unit that acts and thinks more like one person than three. But  things change and people move on. It’s no different in the ice cream BU.

My buyer recently got promoted to being a buyer in Fan Central, or sports division (he’s a huge sports fan…it’s a perfect fit!). While it may seem like a big jump, there’s always been a lot of ice cream promotions with sports-related themes (Popsicle wiffle ball, anyone?)…so at least he’ll have some fun ice cream/sports memorabilia to take with him to his new gig! I am beyond excited for him and his new opportunity to bring the joy he’s brought to our team to another area of the company, but, before he does, there are a few things I’d like to say:

Joe,

There are some things I need to thank you for. I honestly think you are LITERALLY (yes, literally) the best buyer in the entire company. I am extremely biased, but I want to make sure I let you know why—because I think that other buyers in the company could learn so much from your wisdom, experience, and knowledge.

Thank you for…

• Being patient with my never-ending questions

• Teaching me everything I know about ice cream

• Challenging me to make decisions for the business—and trusting my judgment when I did

• Understanding that I need to hear words of affirmation

• Caring about my mental health when things get overwhelming—and then showing me cute pictures of your kids that always make everything better

• Standing up for me when  and backing me up on my decisions when they were questioned

• Helping me realize the Minnesotan trait of being passive aggressive is not great for business

• Making my insight feel valued and truly caring about my perspective

• Calling every mistake I made a “learning opportunity” and not getting upset EVER—even when there was an completely empty door of ice cream last January (sorry again about that…)

• Being my sounding board and helping me be the best BA and mentor I can be

And, finally, thank you for giving me the best advice I’ve received at Target: “Be confident in what you know”.

Well, Joe, I’m taking your advice, and there’s definitely one thing I know for sure: You are the best buyer and mentor a BA could ask for. I will miss you more than words could ever describe.

Good luck, JJ. And remember to come back and visit. We’ll always have some ice cream for you 🙂

I’m so lucky that Joe was my first buyer here at Target, but I know that the next buyer who takes his place will also have great strategies and ideas for our category. Until then, my merchandise specialist and I are the resident experts on ice cream and we have the opportunity to step up and teach our new buyer everything we know about the business.

That’s what’s so great about Target–due to the development & speed mentality and amount of change, everyone gets a chance to be a mentor and a mentee. I’m ready for the challenge and to be a mentor for our new buyer–stay tuned to see how it goes!

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

Everything’s Bigger in Texas

I was given the honor of attending the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Conference in Houston, TX to do some recruiting and networking for Target this fall. Target’s commitment to diversity was ever-present and the event outstanding. I’ve been doing campus recruiting for a couple years now, but this was on a whole other level. This year’s theme was “Courageous Leadership” which was echoed throughout the conference. The NBMBAA is a non-profit organization in existence for over 40 years whose aim is to lead in the creation of economical and intellectual wealth through providing knowledge, access and resources to professionals. They boast 45 chapters and 27 collegiate chapters nationwide.

The conference was broken down by day. Day 1 began with breakfast and a moving keynote address from Judy Smith, author and Co-Executive Producer for ABC’s Scandal. Not watching the show before the speech, I was really intrigued by her story which loosely parallels the storyline of the show (I’ve watched all of Season 1 and half of Season 2 in 2 days since I’ve been home … it’s THAT good). The amazing kick-off was followed by a professional development class focused on building savvy leaders in the corporate world taught by author and HR specialist Jovita Thomas-Williams. Her message on how to navigate your corporation through networking and building relationships was truly eye opening and gave me some great leadership tools to take back to work with me.

Days 2 and 3 consisted of the career fair and interviews. I don’t know if career fair can really do it justice; it was more like career EXPO. As you can tell by the picture, the scale was on a level I have never seen at any campus career fair I’ve attended. We were definitely there in true Target form with tons of RED and BULLSEYES so large and high our booth couldn’t be missed. If you couldn’t see us, you definitely heard us and our booming “T-A-R-G-E-T … TARGET IS THE PLACE TO BE” chant. I met a ton of candidates who were really interested in a career with Target and I got to share MY PATH to Target with them. We got some great candidates who will hopefully be joining our Target team very soon.

It was really an amazing week. I got the opportunity to travel to the great state of Texas for the first time, meet some incredible Target leaders from across the country, share my story and experiences with some talented candidates and hopefully spread the word about all the wonderful opportunities there are with Target. The phrase “everything’s bigger in Texas” holds true, even when referring to their career fairs! Overall I think this year’s NBMBAA was a Texas-sized success.

T-A-R-G-E-T … TARGET IS THE PLACE TO BE!”

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

Happy Anniversary to Me

This month I will celebrate my fourth anniversary with Target Clinic. While this may not be a milestone anniversary like 5, 10 or even 20 years,  it still has caused me to reflect on the last four years- what brought me to Target Clinic, what I love about working at Target Clinic, and what my future here holds.

After graduating from PA school I took a job in family medicine. I liked my job- I had great colleagues and wonderful patients. However, after a few years I found myself feeling a little less engaged. I had great ideas for improving patient care, for helping the business grow, and making the transition from student to provide easier for our team but there was no avenue for me to share these ideas. I was no longer challenged and invigorated by my work. I had a former colleague who was working for Target Clinic and she loved it. Knowing what an amazing provider she was I thought if she loved it, then chances are I would too! And I do!

Lots of people come to Target this way; as a referral from a trusted friend or colleague. It turns out great people love working with (and for!) other great people. Once I was here, I saw the opportunity to do all those things that I was not doing in my last job.  I was able to share ideas for improve patient care through my role on the clinic safety and quality team. I was also able to help the business grow by generating ideas for our new clinic services committee.  Both of these opportunities, as well as many others, helped me to develop not only as a healthcare provider but also as leader.

Development is one of the things I love most about working for Target Clinics.  My leaders’ investment in my development helped me grow from being a healthcare provider in one of our clinics to now being an area clinic manager supporting many clinics. I now have the ability to help develop other providers both as clinicians and as future healthcare leaders. Helping others to develop as leaders and achieve career goals is one of the most rewarding things I do in my current role.

As for what my future at Target Clinic holds? While I’m not entirely certain, what I do know is that I have leaders who are passionate about helping me continue to develop my leadership skills and achieve my personal and professional goals. With their amazing support I know that my future at Target Clinic is bright and I look forward to celebrating my next anniversary!

Interested in a career with Target Clinic? Click here to learn more. 

the FAQs of buyer moves

Photo: description here

It’s amazing how fast things move in Merchandising at Target.  I’ve successfully surpassed my 90 day milestone here in my new Toys gig and my personal barometer of how it’s all going = Challenged, yet surprisingly comfortable.  Still in newness mode of constant discovery, yet feeling pretty confident in the how much I’ve learned in just a short amount of time.  So what’s happened in the first 90 days?

Well, I started off with getting to know my new team… getting used to my longer elevator commute {although long elevator commute = better view from my cubicle window}… meeting my vendors… and immersing myself in all things girls aged 4-10.  And then, before I could even realize how quickly things were moving, suddenly I’ve gone through a full transition cycle {line reviews, planogram, and negotiations}, selected my assortment for Spring 2014, set + executed our Fall assortment in stores, became captain of a few things, and recently lost my “new girl” tiara to a newly placed Boys Action buyer.  Hey hey now – guess who’s not so new anymore???  😉

Don’t worry – this pace is normal. And waaaay less scary than it sounds.  Things move fast in retail and especially at Target.  Even so, as normal as this is – I’ve definitely been asked a lot of the same Q’s from people both inside and outside of Target.  Soooo, since odds are you are wondering the same thing{s}, let’s go through the frequently asked questions of what happens when a buyer moves.

Q: How is it???

A: Awesome!  No really.  It is.  I’m not just saying that because my boss can read this blog.  I’m saying that the new gig is actually super fun and challenging.  And remember my gig back in appliances?  Also super fun and challenging.  So this is further evidence that the buyer job rocks and it really doesn’t matter what category you have… the work itself is what drives the passion.  Also further evidence that I can get as excited about kitchen gadgets as I can about foo-foo-shee-shee girly toys as I could about garden hoses as I could about diapers.

Q:  So you didn’t ask to be in Toys?  How did you get there?

A:  I like to say that Toys chose me… just kidding. No, I didn’t choose Toys per se but I didn’t not choose Toys either.  Target is really great at knowing where to place people – there are a lot of conversations across a lot of important decision makers about who should be where.  Target isn’t afraid to stretch their talent – they like challenging their team members and making sure that people move into roles where they can not only add value, but extract value.  I was definitely asked where I would be interested in moving… but I’m a firm believer that you don’t know what you don’t know.  I said I was open to anything.  And being open has served me well – this was a good pairing.

Q:  Isn’t Toys suuuuper different from Appliances??

A:  Well sure.  My new young guest doesn’t even know her multiplication tables yet {which btw, I heard they don’t teach that in school anymore???  Whaaa??  Is that true??}.  But there are more similarities than you think.  Going from the Home pyramid to the Hardlines pyramid in the company may sound like foreign territory, but Appliances in many ways is considered the hardlines business of Home.  Big brand names, strategic vendor partnerships, heavy Q4 seasonality, and lots of circular ads.  So yes, Appliances is a very different business but my skills have pleasantly translated quite well to the new world of Toys.

Remember how I mentioned that we train in cohorts here at Tarzhay?  Well with that, it means there’s been quite a few of my training classmates who have also switched roles.  Domestics to Lawn & Patio | Jewelry in stores to Jewelry dot com |  Holiday Trim to Kitchen Tools & Gadgets | Vitamins to Cards & Party… lots of changes that could make you go hmmm…. But really, it’s just the natural progression of a developing buyer.

And it’s the fun part of working for a mass retailer.  You never know what’s next 🙂

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

My Target Internship

Throughout my interview process with Target, each person I met with emphasized Target’s inclusive and fun culture.  From the second I walked in the door for my first day of the internship, my expectations were blown away as the reality of my interviewers’ testimonies set in.

Every team member and leader greeted me with a smile and enthusiasm, making me instantly feel at home. After my second week in store, I was so connected to the group’s energy I felt as if I had been part of the team for years. I was pleasantly surprised to immediately be included in an executive outing where I got to bond with my peers in a more relaxed setting. This environment not only makes me want to come to work each day, I am excited to come.  The fun and friendly culture created within Target motivates me to be productive and efficient, doing my part to a drive a successful business.

The leaders within my store have provided me the resources I need to prosper in my position, encouraging me to integrate my own strengths and opportunities so I can truly grow as a leader both personally and professionally. The Target team has demonstrated their investment to developing future leaders like me. From the very beginning I was provided an unbelievably encouraging mentor who has helped cultivate my learning experiences thus far. Additionally, I’ve been shocked at accessibility to upper level leadership.  My store team leader continuously makes time to have detailed statuses with me and I have valued the transparent feedback. The chance to communicate my views on the strengths and opportunities of the store and its operations reinforces the potential Target sees in my capabilities.

I am challenged on a daily basis to “settle for more”, pushing myself and the store to fulfill our greatest potentials. As the Target brand strives to go above and beyond for its guests, it has also proven to go above and beyond for its people. All team members are treated with the same level of respect and held to the same high level of expectations.  This equal playing field is what compels us all to set the bar a little higher each day. I am so grateful for the experience to be a part of this team, and look forward to the opportunities ahead.

Post by Ellen, Stores  Executive Salesfloor Intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

Christmas in July

As you may have heard, it’s muggy and hotter than HOT in the Twin Cities right now. The heat wave that’s settled here in the Midwest is welcomed by most—especially those of us who work in ice cream! Despite the weather that’s perfect for a round of 48oz Market Pantry Ice Cream (like that plug?…seriously though…it’s delicious), I personally can’t help but feel like it’s Christmas.

While the snow isn’t swirling outside our windows and the craze that is retail in quarter 4 is not yet among us, I can’t help but feel that deliriously happy feeling that comes during the holidays. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s because while it may not be Christmas on the calendar, it’s ORC Christmas here at Target.

ORC stands for “Onboarding and Recruitment Captain,” and each division has a business analyst that leads the initiatives of bringing in new analyst team members and onboarding them into their specific area. For ORCs, summer is truly “the most wonderful time of the year”—the interns are here AND a class of new business analysts starts. For those of us that are passionate about development (Strengths Finder, anyone?!), this is an amazing opportunity to help new team members learn about their new role and connect them with people, teams, and organizations that they are interested in.

One of the things I love most about Target is our company’s dedication to team member development. As an intern a few summers ago, I saw how invested my mentors and managers were in helping me work on my opportunities and further develop my strengths. This was a major factor in my decision to return to Target in a full-time role, and I am beyond thrilled that I now have the opportunity to work with Target’s amazing interns and incoming analysts.

As you can see in their amazing glamour shots that accompany this post, this summer I’ve been working with sixteen of the coolest interns around. They’ve come from all over the country, and they’ve been working on some really cool projects to both improve processes within our division and solve elusive problems that specifically impact our businesses.

In just a few short weeks, the interns will be heading back to campus, and the craziness that surrounds this particular “holiday season” will begin to quiet. But, like Christmas, there’s only a short lull until the bright, shiny, and exciting New Year comes around. It’s similar here at Target. We already again have two big classes of business analysts starting in August and September—so the wait won’t be too long!

Until then, Merry ORC Christmas!

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

My Target Internship Experience

My name is James, and I am an executive intern in Delaware. When I first started the internship process, I had no idea what to expect. Every day seemed to be a new experience with exciting new challenges to overcome.

My story begins with the executive internship orientation in the beginning of the summer. When I first stepped into the room full of eager interns I was pleasantly surprised to see all the effort Target put into making the experience enjoyable and as educational as possible. I have heard a great deal of stories from fellow students participating in internships that that didn’t take full advantage of their skills, time or talents. As I first stepped into the room full of Target employees, one thing became very clear to me rather quickly- my experience was not going to be one of those stories. In fact, I knew on that very first day that this internship would be well worth my time and I was lucky to be there.

When I first entered my own store in Dover I felt somewhat overwhelmed. Target’s culture was certainly not something I was used to as a student with no real work experience. Target has it’s own language of acronyms and short-cuts to words which can really create some confusion for a newcomer like me. But when a Target team member explains to you that the company is about being inviting and fun you quickly discover that they mean it! In my experience, every team member I have come into contact with has treated me with respect. If I had a question about the business they always took the time to explain it to me in great detail. If a guest asked me a question about where something was in the store that I didn’t know the location, there always seemed to be a magical voice on the end of my walkie telling me where it was located. My mentor stayed with me in the beginning of the internship when I needed her then she let me grow on my own. There was one aspect of the internship that I enjoyed more than anything else: the flexibility. I was able to see all the ins-and-outs of Target just by asking my mentor or store team leader if I could participate in that function for the day. If I wanted to see how the various departments operated (such as assets protection, human resources,  pharmacy, softlines, hardlines, logistics, etc) all I had to do was ask! This experience has been wonderful, and I would fully recommend the Target executive internship program to anyone eager to learn.

Post by James, Stores Executive Intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

The Unwritten Rules & My Target Family

“Family” is how I would describe my on-boarding experience at Target so far. Each team member has treated me as a true Target team member- holding me to high expectations, yet continuing to volunteer their time and knowledge to help me own my own development. Team members do not become frustrated with my questions, but rather smile and recognize me once I master something new. To anyone who has not experienced the atmosphere in a Target store, spending more time at “work” than at home may sound undesirable, yet I do not mind one bit.

My experience in assets protection this summer has been very different than my experiences last summer. The change has been a learning opportunity for me- meeting a new team, attaining new levels understanding, and expanding my horizon. My eight hour shifts have flown by and I feel inspired for my future leadership opportunities. Target embraces diversity in the workplace, being a visible win for my store.

Bored is not in the vocabulary here at Target stores, and sitting at a desk is a rarity. At Target there is constantly something to do or someone to communicate with. When I am not on the floor, I am reviewing reports and innovating new ways to improve our numbers. Aside from operational scores, I have learned a few “unwritten rules” here at Target:

  1. When leader on duty, comfortable shoes are a must. You will not be seated- EVER.
  2. When you are wearing a new red shirt, you best know where it is from, because someone will ask and expect answers.
  3. When you’re shopping at a khaki sale, expect to see at least two other Target team members shopping the same rack!

I love my job and I am excited for another six AMAZING weeks!

Post by Tory, Assets Protection Intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

 

A New Role

For the past two years, I’ve been working as a product engineer developing picture frames and limited time only products. I have been largely focused on the item-level details of our various assortments. I reported to a product development manager (PDM) whose job it was to lead us through the process of product development, and ensure every member of the team (buyers, packaging, engineering, design, leadership) were all producing the right deliverables at the right time. He managed our development calendar in order to anticipate obstacles, secure resources and create strategy. He facilitated the correct conversations at the correct time to create alignment with other teams and leaders. He was a program manager at the core, with additional responsibility for team and technical strategy. It was his job to keep the cross functional team running smoothly, producing great product and getting it to stores on time.  (He did great, btw.)

Well, now, it’s my job!

As of last week, I joined the Housewares team who develops kitchen tools & gadgets, barware, bakeware, cookware and cutlery. Target has tremendous breadth of product in these categories, and many different brands both Target-owned and national. Our part in this is the development of owned or exclusive brand offerings such as Chefmate, Room Essentials and Threshold. I also get to lead a team with incredible talent and guest empathy who weave user experience into everything they do.

As I onboard into this new role, I’m drawing both great strength and caution from my own experience as a Target engineer. I know the product development process in and out, and the specific ways I accomplished the job. In this role, however, I have to use that experience judiciously, because even a few weeks in I’m fighting the urge to solve – to prescribe – to execute! I’ve led teams and people before, but I was always alongside them developing product in a same or similar job. It was easy to lead by executional example. As a PDM, I step away from that somewhat and lead through other means. I must now use experience not to hand down solutions, but to influence, to organize, to build consensus and enable my team to bring their own experience to a better solution.

I’m excited to have the time to focus on team, resources, and grow skills in cross-functional leadership. It’s a natural next step given my background and future goals, even if it feels unfamiliar to step back from the day to day. Although, as exploration of unfamiliarity has been the goal of my Target experience, I’m still on the right track.

Interested in a career with Target? Learn more about opportunities in engineering or product design and development

Design, Delivery, and Dynamics

“Leah, what does Popular Mechanics magazine about stealth jet bombers have to do with marketing at Target?”  Read on, my friend.

Every month the Guest Insights and Marketing Business Intelligence team gets together for what we call our monthly “Summits.”  The idea came out of team member feedback, as teams were yearning for more opportunities for training and skill-building.  A few years back, we started implementing these gatherings that take place  one Friday morning of each month.

Our leadership (senior managers, directors, and vice president) have made these Friday mornings a priority on their busy schedules so it’s another great chance to not only hear updates, but just get to know them better in a relaxed environment (ps  – Fridays are always casual here at corporate, so it changes the atmosphere a bit already!)

This month, our main topic was on facilitation skills.  Not boring meeting facilitation, mind you.  We asked one of our creative research & design agencies to join us and share their knowledge on effective team gatherings including tips on design, delivery, and dynamics.

Which brings us to why I was reading the Popular Mechanics magazine above.  One of our exercises was to think of a meeting we have coming up, and write down our objective (e.g., “share new consumer research findings with our business partners.”)  We were then given various magazines and asked to find stories or compelling infographics, and then share how it could be used as inspiration to deliver our meeting objective in a creative, relevant way.  While I ended up choosing an image of something unrelated to the story on stealth jets, the hardened biker’s portrait I found was just as awesome. 🙂

A few other great tips on facilitation that I thought I’d share:

— Within the first 5 minutes, get input from the group, even if it’s as simple as asking what activities they’ve enjoyed so far during the spring weather.  It will help your participants to feel like they contributed to the meeting from the start.

— Make sure you clearly define what your team wants to get out of the time you have together.  “At the end of the day, success looks like….”  This helps to keep your group on task and away from the rabbit holes!

— Powerpoint is not always needed.  But if you do use it, every slide should provide an opportunity to share a point of view and start a conversation (not merely presenting facts.)

— Facilitate in ways that work for your personality!  “You’re not going to get up tomorrow and be Jerry Seinfeld.  But use your strengths to your advantage.  Talk about your kids as examples if it’s important to you.”

In general, Target is pretty good at providing development opportunities to learn and grow throughout your career here.  Much of it happens on-the-job, taking in your surroundings and learning from each encounter and project.  Formal courses are also provided by the marketing department (all free, of course) that you’ll take when you on-board and as desired throughout the years.  Then, there are occasions like this morning where our leaders and peers have devoted time and resources to giving us specialized (and fun!) training on some of the hard and soft skills that we need in order to be more effective in our day-to-day jobs with our partners.

And with that, I’m off to enjoy the BEAUTIFUL 70 and 80 degree weather.  Oh, how I’ve missed it!

Learn more about Target opportunities in marketing & advertising here.

And the journey continues…

All good things must come to an end?  The end is the beginning is the end?  Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end?  Hmm… no… these don’t seem to articulate it right…

I’ll cut to the chase.  The time has come.  I had my last week in Small Appliances and this week is the start of my new journey in the world of  **T O Y S**.  That’s right.  In the time between my last post and this post, I have a new gig.  And lemme tell you, I am eggggggcited =D  {and a little scurrrred… just a teeny tiny bit… in a good way}.

I suppose I could have moved to any category, but I’m pretty pumped about Toys … not just because of the fun products but because of the handful of parallels I think small appliances has prepared me for.  National brand vendors… Holiday sensitive business… continuing category growth into the digital space… and let’s not forget the real parallel :: the fact that both kitchen appliances and fairy dolls have zero presence in my personal life.  Although to be fair… pre-Target personal life.  Now I’m a kitchen gadget aficionado who probably should have an extension cord for my kitchen outlets.  I’m 99.9% sure I’ll be beyond proficient in my princess knowledge in no time.  My new niece will think I’m the best. aunt. ever. {nevermind that I’m her only aunt…}

I think I mentioned it before but Target HQ team members move roles quite frequently – and buyers are probably the epitome of this.  It may seem risky from a stability standpoint to have people hoppin’ around all over the place, but there’s definitely a method to the madness.  No one moves to just move… the catalyst for movement is for the sake of development and keeping people succeeding into new + challenging roles.  The result is a win-win :: Target has team members who are devoid of complacency, kept on their toes, and regularly motivated + engaged with their assignments.  Target also gains business units that are managed + regularly challenged by a fresh set of eyes, a current perspective, and a new point of view.  All in all, I think it keeps our company balanced, forward, and moving ahead of the competition.

So as I close the first chapter of my Target life and turn the page to my second, I have to give a little shout-out to all the folks who supported me during not only my time in smapps {smapps = small appliances}, but my time learning how to be a buyer!  You know who you are… the one who was the best analyst EVER, the one who took mercy on all my late grid submissions, the one who translated all the lingo for me {oh wait, salesplans = endcaps?}, the one who listened to all my crazy ideas and sometimes even pursued them, the one who taught me the shortcuts in our financial planning system, the one who took time to always provide feedback, the one let me do dry runs of my final POG walks, the one who showed me where the secret salad bar is in the café {fresh salmon???!}…  the list of ones goes on + on… but most importantly the one who was my partner in crime for all things kitchen, who was my mentor, master strategist, and favorite cubicle neighbor – and who probably is still reeling from the fact that I used the word “folks” in this post.

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

Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders

*Corey here….In the next few blogs my Target Technology Services peers will provide unique perspectives from their various roles. Enjoy the series featuring insight into the TTS life!*

Audrey – Guest Blogger

Hello everyone! My name is Audrey and I am part of the 2012 Technology Leadership Program (TLP). I wanted to talk a little bit about the program, my first project, and my transition to Target.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Technology Leadership Program, it is a 15 month rotational program within TTS and during those rotations you work in different areas of Information Technology. You get exposure to leadership opportunities as well as learn how to create innovative technology solutions for a variety of applications, platforms and environments. The purpose of the program is to hire talented external candidates or internal Target talent and grow them into future TTS technical and business leaders. This program is great for multiple reasons; one being the ability to become acclimated with the Target culture but also the opportunity to explore the different job families within TTS. For me this was great because I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted to do professionally, so this program is giving me the opportunity to work in different areas with the ultimate goal of figuring out what is it that I would like to do long term.

The focus of my first rotation was on streamlining and automating a very manual process. During the rotation I was able to gain both project management and engineering experience. By the end of the rotation I was able to improve the stability of the manual process by delivering a more streamlined/repeatable process while also creating a roadmap for future automation.  My team gave me the freedom to do what I thought was best for the initiative; I felt my opinion was heavily valued throughout the rotation which was totally unexpected since I was so new to Target.

Which brings me to my next topic…

I recently graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Management Information Systems. Transitioning from college into “the real world” for me was very scary because I didn’t know what to expect.  (New state…new job…new everything!)

“Will I actually apply what I’ve learned in college throughout my job”…“will they value my opinion since I am new to Target”…“will I know everything”…  Those were some of the many questions I had starting out and I’ve found that the majority of my questions went right out of the window once I started my first rotation. My team as well as my coach, mentor, and sponsors have been great at making sure I have the proper tools needed to succeed at Target. The support system for the TLPers is unreal and much appreciated. I can honestly say my transition was extremely easy because of that.

I highly encourage anyone who is interested in the program to go for it! This has been one of the best experiences for me and I’m sure other TLPers would say the same.

 

Interested in a career in information technology at Target? Search and apply for jobs here.

the grasshopper is now the master…

Who did Target put in charge of shaping the next generation of legendary buyers??? This girl.

…aaaand forty-some other talented merchants across all pyramids {grocery, home, hardlines, and apparel} and all channels {Target dot com and stores}. That’s right, it’s buyer training season and I’ve been paired with my very first buyer-in-training {or “BIT” since that’s easier to type}.  I realize I’ve never blogged about my own training experience, so now that I’m mentoring Jess {erm, that’s Jess in the non-first person… my mentee is also named Jess… which if I haven’t mentioned, 1 out of every 4 people in Small Appliances is named Jess… that’s how we roll…} I figure this is a great time to talk about Target’s world class training experience.

This isn’t your ordinary, run-of-the-mill, here’s-a-training-booklet-good-luck, type of experience. Since Target sources candidates from diverse backgrounds with different levels of retail experience, training is a comprehensive multi-week program led by our Merchandising Organizational Effectiveness team and supported by Subject Matter Experts Buyer Mentors {that’s where me + the 40 come in}. Every trainee is placed in a specific department, assigned a mentor to shadow, and completes a final project based on assortment strategy.

New to Target or new to merchandising? You get 9 weeks of training, with the first two weeks designed as “Pre-Training” to give you the 411 on Target culture, the merchandising pyramid, systems | tools | reports | etc, and basic fundamentals of retail financials + inventory metrics.

Not new to TGT and promoted from the business analyst role? You get 7 weeks of training, skipping the two weeks of “Pre-Training” and joining the 9-weekers at their 3rd week of training.

The 7 weeks of “Core Training” is a mixture of classroom sessions + in-department activities focused on a range of topics: product development + design, sourcing, operations, marketing, in-store presentation,  product safety, and distribution {just to name a few}. BITs also get a full week of negotiations training – complete with an actual negotiation simulation facilitated by our very own Business Partnerships & Negotiations team. And I’m not talking about a foo-foo-shee-shee fluffy role-playing activity… I’m talking about a real deal Holyfield negotiation. Let’s just say that I started that particular training week as a people-pleasing doormat and ended the week as a merciless, take-no-prisoners, wheelin’-dealin’ negotiations machine.  Muhahahaha… juuust kidding… sorta. 😉

Anyways… Jess, my BIT extraordinaire, is in the January BIT class {one of five this year} and in her fifth week. While I’m 99.9% sure I’m supposed to be the older + wiser one in this pairing I have to admit that I’ve gained a ton in this mentoring experience! There is definitely something to be said about learning by teaching… talking Jess through different buyer principles + practices has solidified my own understanding of buyer 101. And since Jess is an internal promote from the analyst role she brings a lot of great knowledge about merchandise planning that helps fill the gaps in my non-merchandising external retail experience.

Hmm… fishy… maybe I am still the grasshopper after all…

 

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

The ABC’s of Target Pharmacy: S is for Staffing

Photo: backup cashier request button

Attention all pharmacists, interns, and technicians:  Raise your hand if you have ever heard from your boss, “You aren’t using enough technician hours.” I’m guessing the only hands in the air are those of Target team members.

These were the exact words from one of our managers on his last visit to our store.  Hearing that we need to increase our staff is something I’m guessing isn’t normal everywhere. Luckily, we have a pool of over 200 team members right in front of our eyes as potential technician candidates.  Those 200 team members are the great people that already work for Target in our store. They are perfect to transition into the pharmacy since they are already familiar with the expectations of the company and the demographics of our guests.

Over the years, I think I have only hired a handful of people that weren’t already Target team members. In fact, our entire pharmacy is currently staffed with team members I pulled from the store after seeing how great they were. Anneva came from price change, Nang from electronics, Rae from the front lanes, Annette from cosmetics, and Jessica from the front lanes. It just goes to show that at Target, the career possibilities are endless!

Increasing the number of backup cashiers is another focus in 2013. We have a button on each register and by the workstation we can press when a little extra help is needed when we get unexpected rushes.  Once the button is pressed, all back-up trained team members from the sales floor come running to the rescue.  In the event more help is needed,  we have trained every executive in the store  to respond to calls for backup too. Yes, even our store manager, Travis, has been known to ring up pharmacy guests when needed! Our goal is to have even more sales team members added to our resources when needs arise. Who knows, one of these helpful backups might just turn out to be our next shining star technician!

Interested in a healthcare career with Target? Search and apply for opportunities here.

Happy New Year! Time for some change…

Long time no talk! I so apologize that I haven’t posted over the holidays…

That being said, I think it is the perfect time to explain the reason for my delay of blogging to you, my fabulous readers, and that is due to an inherent trait of any position at Target; transition time. Something that many business analysts have in common at Target is their need to constantly be challenged and experience new things. Target does an incredible job at delivering on that expectation.  As you may know from previous posts, I trained in the Beauty Business, was placed during my first year in the Baby Care business, and was just recently moved to the Sports and Outdoors business; how exciting! From ordering mascara and curling irons, to diapers and formula, to tents and unicycles, it doesn’t get much more diverse than that. I didn’t even know we sold unicycles on Target.com until last week! You can see the fun and friendly culture in the fact that I have been exposed to and have helped run more than 3 businesses in 5+ different industries in the 16 months I have worked here.

Not only do these changes help challenge me in my work, but they also help me learn to adapt to different styles of communication, management and team dynamics.  This is a skill that benefits me daily not only at Target but in my relationships with family and friends as well. The most exciting part of a transition, however, is the new set of eyes someone brings to your old business and the ones you bring to your new business. Taking over a new position allows you to see all of the opportunities in the business that a pair of fresh eyes can bring to it.  I believe this is one of the reasons Target is so successful and something you should practice during this New Year. If I can get so used to running a business in 12 months that I have the ability to overlook the simple things that would make it better, what are you overlooking in your life? Take January as an opportunity to look at all the little aspects in your life with a new set of eyes. What are you missing out on? How can you make your life a little more interesting? Whether you talk to a friend, or look at your life in a different way, try this exercise out. Then, when you realize how much you love it, come back to Target.com/careers and apply for a job as a business analyst because that is what we get to do all the time 🙂

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

happy new {*fiscal*} year!

 

Yikes!  I have been slackin’ on the bloggersphere!  :/  I’m sorry.  Saawwww-rreeee… {insert Joey Tribiani finger quotes here}  Not a good way to close out a year by leaving you hanging… that said, it’s a new year and I’m back.  I’m sliiiiightly late to the Resolution bandwagon, but given my recent fail to my blogger duties I think it’s time I get my act together.  As a tried + true procrastinator I’ll resort to the defense :: it’s better late than never.  And actually… if we call these new fiscal year resolutions then I’m not late at all (Target’s fiscal year starts first week in Feb).  I’m a few days early – ha!  🙂 So with that, I’ll leave you to my Buyer’s Resolutions for fiscal year 2013.

Resolution #1 :: Listen More. 

Yes, I know.  I talk a lot.  I’m chatty, I’m ENFJ, and sometimes words come out of my mouth and they just keep going.  There are pluses + minuses to being verbose.  In the buying world, it allows me to build relationships, clearly communicate my needs + strategy, and provide direct feedback in a timely manner.  But after a year of negotiating and making business decisions, I realize there is an art + grace to listening.  Some of the most admirable leaders I’ve observed are the ones who speak less and speak later.  My resolution is to be thoughtful with my words, take pause before opening up the chatterbox, and actually listen – i.e., worry less about what I’m going to say next and focus on what the other person is saying first.

Resolution #2 :: Take Risks.

I took a lot of risks last year, but mainly because I didn’t know fully what I was doing.  I was treading the ambiguous waters of new buyer territory and had to make decisions every day without knowing the nitty gritty details of the business.  This year I get to anniversary myself – I know what we did last year and why we did it.  I know how to “play it safe” now. I know the tried + true levers that will get me decent results.  But safe is boring and decent isn’t good enough.  This year I resolve to take calculated risks.  Target fosters strategic risk-taking but it needs to make sense and there needs to be a sound contingency plan in place.  I resolve to take some “hand-holding” risks – to loop in stakeholders early {counsel is everything}, make + prove hypotheses, and not be afraid to walk away from ideas when my theories aren’t panning out quiiiiite the way I had anticipated.

Resolution # 3 :: Make Time + Spend Time {with people}

The buyer role is BIG.  You do a lot.  You’re in charge of a lot.  You touch every corner {and there are more than 4 corners in this job… think dodeckagon vs square… corners, corners everywhere!} of your category’s business.  There are deadlines. Lots of them.  It can get overwhelming.  It can get tiring.  You can get behind.  You can feel behind even when you’re not.  And you know what?  The “work” of the job will always be there – no sense in letting it get the best of you. Target’s fast | fun | friendly culture is the perfect remedy for those days when the work feels like work. The entire organization is built on relationships, collaborative thinking, and team –  and I know I’ve got my crabby buyer pants on when I find myself focused solely on my calendar, my inbox, my to-do list {hmm fishy… all those things start with “my” aka another form of “I”…}.  I resolve to take time for others – whether it’s helping someone new, catching up with co-workers, or stopping to check in with what’s happening in other departments + divisions.  It’s amazing how much more productive I can be after a walking status, coffee break, or checking out what’s new in the store with a fellow Targeteer.

And last but not least… I resolve to blog more.  Or blog on time at least 🙂  My blogging days are numbered, at some point I’ll be replaced… so until then, I resolve to be better about checking in and sharing what’s new.

.:: Cheers to a new fiscal  year! ::.

 

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

… and the results are in. (part 2)

For those of you who keep up with my incredibly fascinating blog about the interesting life of a Business Analyst at Target, my last post included common questions about the job as well as answers from 7 different Business Analysts at Target. Below is part 2 with even more questions and answers from our panel. Hopefully this helps you not only have more success in interviewing with Target, but also in understanding what the job entails!

The Business Analyst Panel…

  • Kacie– Newborn/Infant/Toddler Apparel (Target.com)
  • Patrick–Special Sizes: Plus, Petite, Maternity (Target.com)
  • Alissa– Produce – Main Vegetables (Target Stores)
  • Zach– Entertainment (Target.com)
  • Lexie– Lawn & Garden and Pets (Target.com)
  • Will– Patio (Target.com)
  • Amanda (ME!)– Baby Care (Target.com)

The Questions…

Biggest surprise about the job:  

  • “The wonderful friends I’ve made!  Target has the best talent around and I’m lucky to work with such great people every day!” –Kacie
  • “How much I would learn about women’s clothing.” –Patrick
  • “How invested you can become in your business.” –Zach
  • “That you receive so much responsibility upfront. Also, how much feedback you receive and that Target ensures you receive. It’s shocking at first, but ultimately it’s to help you grow as a BA and professional at Target.” –Lexie
  • “The amount of responsibility and control for your business right out of the gate.” –Will
  • “Coming straight from college the biggest surprise was that working can be fun!” -Amanda

 Most interesting thing about the job:

  • “Overall, just getting to know my team! They are awesome and one of the main reasons I love coming to work every day.” –Alissa
  • “For me, the job never gets boring because there is always something new or interesting changing or popping up.” –Patrick
  • “Getting to watch movie trailers and reviews and actually use that to influence business decisions.” –Zach (Entertainment BA)
  • “Planning out a strategy and seeing it supported and brought all the way through to execution.” –Will
  • “Getting to meet with all of your vendors to see the new innovations everyone brings to the table.” -Amanda
  • “National meetings, FFF events with your team.  There’s always something to look forward to.”  –Kacie

Tips for interviewing with Target:

  • “Tell concise, and well thought out stories.  What accomplishments can you speak to and quantify?” -Will
  • “Be yourself and prepare well. The interview questions are all about your own experiences; make sure your answers are directly relevant to the questions being asked.” –Zach
  • “Confidence, confidence, confidence!  Anyone can be trained to do a job, so even if you’re not sure of something make sure you articulate your strengths clearly and let your interviewer know how they relate to the Business Analyst role.”  –Kacie
  • “STAR – Situation, Task, Action, Result.  Only have a couple of situations that you know really well and adapt them to each question.” –Patrick
  • “Just be yourself. Target values individuality.” –Alissa
  • “When answering behavioral questions, really focus on the action steps you took in that scenario and the aftermath, for example, “If put in this situation again, I would…” Target culture is very results and feedback driven so focusing on those things in your interview will bring you success.” –Lexie

 

Tips for succeeding at Target:

  • “Be nice!  It sounds elementary, but seriously, no one likes to work with a jerk.” -Kacie
  • “Be passionate and engaged with your business and your team. Put as much effort as you can into each task and project. Speak up in larger group settings as much as possible. These qualities will help you get noticed and be looked at as a credible BA.” –Lexie
  • “Teamwork is key, evangelize your wins!” –Will
  • “Understanding how you are perceived by others is important. Always make sure you are bringing your best self to the table.” -Amanda
  • “Be open to feedback (good and bad) and learn how to stay calm in stressful situations (we aren’t saving babies, but it might feel like it at times.)” –Patrick
  • “Never be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.” –Alissa
  • “Be outgoing and make sure you are comfortable with your team. The entire team element is one of the best parts about working here, take advantage of it.” –Zach

 Our panel of Business Analysts has spoken. Be sure to comment if you have any additional questions- otherwise, I hope you learned something new about the BA role and are getting excited about the possibilities of joining this team!

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

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!

Notes:

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.

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.

A day in the life

Looking for some high-level examples of what a day in the life of a Target leader may look like?  Read on.

Six Months Ago:

–Up at 6 a.m., jump in the shower, and off to work!

–Enter the office at 7 a.m. and create a plan for yourself and three direct reports (team members)

–Utilize the latest camera technology, computer reporting, and law enforcement partnerships to protect Target’s assets.

–Facilitate an ”in-stock” store by making real-life, fast-paced decisions that prevent Target merchandise from leaving the store through unauthorized means.

–Ensure the safety and security of the building, Target team members and guests by leveraging a variety of internal and external partners.

–Communicate directly with a global audience, using operational knowledge and peer relationships to drive for results.

Today:

–Up at 3 a.m., jump in the shower, and off to work!

–Hit the sales floor at 5 a.m., prepared to lead a team of 25-30 team members in “flowing a truck”

–Promote a FFF (<– remember this?) environment as you strive to motivate your large and diverse team to meet actionable timelines.

–Facilitate an “in-stock” store by driving accurate processes, procedures and “Best Practices” to ensure that product is available for all Target guests when they require it most.

–Partner with a talented group of Team Leaders to provide recognition, feedback and development opportunities to a large number of team members spanning multiple teams across your store.

Perhaps you’re confused by the “Six months ago” and “Today” headings?  Over the last six months, I’ve had the opportunity to move from one heart-pumping, adrenaline-fueled position (Assets Protection) to another equally rewarding position (Logistics).  While some of the “core roles” described in each of the above positions may sound drastically different, each will allow you to manage a critical component of a multi-million dollar business while building an environment of teamwork and development with a focus on one mutual goal: providing service at a value to the guests and communities that Target serves!

For someone as excitable and ambitious as myself, it’s motivating to know that I work for a company that will provide me with the opportunity to acquire drastically different skill sets every 18 months.  Most recently I had the opportunity to move from Assets Protection (a job involving actual handcuffs at times!) in a high-volume store to Logistics (with a team of 40+) in a low-volume store.  The change of pace serves to motivate, while developing me to reach higher achievements.  How high, you might ask?  The sky is the limit!

Are you ready to try something new?  I thought so!

Notes:

As promised, a continuation of your ever-developing Target-jargon training (hope you have a good memory!):

Core Roles = Fundamental goals and expectations required for success; specific for each role.

Best Practice = Pre-defined process or procedure to ensure programs are executed in the most efficient/mutually beneficial manner.

In-stock = (simple) Keeping the shelves full!

Safe & Secure = Ensuring the health and well-being of Target’s greatest asset – the team!

Flowing a Truck = Process of unloading a truck from the Distribution Center (DC) to fulfill our core role of maintaining in-stocks!

DC = See above!

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

Development Matters

When I meet with new people at work, we generally like to share how long we’ve been with Target and an area or two that we have worked in.  Whenever people share that they recently joined Target after working somewhere else, I am always extremely curious—what do you see as the biggest differences at Target?  I take pride in the fact that I have worked at Target for my entire career, but naturally, I am curious about other company cultures.

One thing that people regularly mention is our feedback culture.  Unlike some companies where you get your performance review once a year and that’s the one and only time where you talk about development, we talk about performance and development a lot.

I have a quarterly meeting with my manager to discuss my strengths and opportunities and how things are going.  In addition to that scheduled time, my manager, another leader, a partner, or a peer may at any time share feedback with me.  This can be in the form of recognition, “Wow, I am impressed with how you handled that tough question” or sometimes as feedforward, which is something to work on in the future.  Even though I often receive ideas about things to work on, Target is definitely a “soar with your strengths” kind of place and I’ve definitely experienced that.

All in all, I would say that our feedback culture has led me to grow my skillset extremely quickly and it keeps me motivated and excited to work for Target.

*the picture is of the Coolest Crustacean Award- it’s a traveling piece of recognition on my team

Want to learn more about and career in talent acquisition & human resources at Target? Search and apply for opportunities here.