Sunday, January 16, 2011

What the Church Can Learn from Target

Those who work at Target, Inc. are part of a team. There’s the Guest Services Team, Sales Team, Flow Team, among others – all working together to fulfill the corporate mission of Target.

There are four aspects of this team concept at Target that the Christian Church and Christian ministries can learn from.

The Huddle

One of the special aspects of the Target team mentality is the “huddle.” Every work shift includes a “huddle” of the team members. They get together at certain parts of the store and talk. There is opportunity for “recognition” – more on that below. The huddle also is the opportunity for the executive team leaders to share some of the “business” aspects of the store such as how much in sales they did the previous day, how large the daily truck delivery was,  and new promotions that are coming up. The huddle also gives all team members an opportunity to ask questions and make comments about the current work shift and what is coming up in the work day.


At Target there are opportunities to give recognition to fellow workers. For example, there could be recognition by one team member for another team member, during a huddle, who specially helped them complete a project. But it could also be a recognition of something as simple as being friendly and outgoing. There are also recognition cards posted in the team members’ area.


Whenever a team member arrives for work, leaves for home, or is asked to complete a certain job or project, the team leader always is polite and appreciative to that team member, thanking them for doing the work or being there to work.


The motto for team members is to be “fast-fun-friendly.” That means that you do your work fast (but always safe – safety is a huge priority at Target), in a fun (but efficient) way, and always, always, always being friendly. Target is a “guest service” store and team members are there to always help guests find what they are looking for (next time you are in Target, when a red-shirted team member comes up to you, notice that they will begin by saying “Can I help you find something?”). A major part of this friendliness is that team members are friendly to each other. Guests in the store witness, as well as experience, the friendliness of team members.

What the Church Can Learn

The Christian Church should be a place where these types of things come naturally. Does your church or ministry team have a daily “huddle”? It could be part of a daily devotion or prayer time. It is so important to keep the lines of communication open among ministry team members and a daily huddle would be an excellent opportunity for that.

Church team members need to both be recognized and give recognition regularly. If a team member doesn’t receive regular affirmation they may give in to a somewhat natural tendency of questioning whether they are doing good work or not. People do better work – and tend to enjoy their work – when they know they are appreciated.

Church or ministry team members should be fast (but always safe and efficient) and what they do should be enjoyable. But the most important aspect is the friendliness. I heard a church member once describe the other members of her church as the “frozen chosen.” A church or ministry team member is on the front lines of telling others  the wonderful Good News of the salvation won by Jesus Christ. They also need to experience that salvation for themselves (which probably goes without saying). And if they have experienced that salvation for themselves, how can they NOT have joy in what they are doing?

The Church can learn a lot from these aspects of working at Target. I know I am!

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