Leadership Lesson from Target

Last week, I was on a trip with a friend to see RUSH. I had not really known music from RUSH, but my friend was a big fan and had requested this concert from his wife as his birthday present. Since his wife doesn’t like RUSH and I am up to adventures, I got to go. It was a lot of fun.

On the way home, we did some shopping. Yes, I know… men and shopping? Anyway, we stopped at Target. I wanted a Senseo machine (best cup of coffee ever!) and my friend needed a toaster. While were were looking for stuff, we needed an associate to help us with something. We used one of those service stations where you pick up the phone and someone gets paged to help you. I like Target’s automated system. It pages everyone with a walkie talkie to come to wherever you paged them from.

Within 20 seconds, there was someone to help us. She was having trouble canceling the page, so there was a second page over the walkie talkies. Withing 10 seconds four more associates showed up! Wow!

Now, I know this might not be true of all Target stores, but for this Target, I know that it is the norm. My wife and I had just been at this same Target days previous and had a similar experience.

The cool thing at this Target is that not only does someone come to help you, but that person is empowered to answer your question and help you in any way they can. I couldn’t help but wonder at the culture that this Target had created. When a page is sent out, people don’t just assume that someone else will get it. If they are near the area, they go. Then with the second page, it seems as if all “senior” associates drop what they are doing and rush to the area that they are paged to. I felt important.

Now, I know that these people are paid to do what they do, but someone had to create that culture of service and taking responsibility for the entire store and not just their little task. It made me think about what I am doing to try and create a culture of volunteers who care about the entire church and not just their class or task that is assigned to them. Not only care but are empowered to do something. I was reminded that I need to keep communicating with my volunteer team. I need to tell them stories of what is happening all over the church. I need to keep the vision of the church before them as much as possible. I need volunteers to hear my heart consistently.

What are you doing to empower your volunteers? How are you creating a culture that cares about the big picture? Creating culture takes time… years of time. Keep at it. It’s worth it.


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