Serving our guests and growing the business, all while building efficient processes: it’s a big feat that our operations teams tackle every day through our stores-as-hubs strategy. And now, they have a new leader working alongside them to drive growth while helping guests discover the everyday joy of a Target Run — whether that’s strolling the aisles, pulling in for a Drive Up order or finding a delivery on their doorstep.
Today, Target announced that Michael Fiddelke will become our new chief operating officer. He will oversee our nearly 2,000 stores, our global supply chain network, fulfillment services including same-day delivery with Shipt, network capacity planning, enterprise operations, the teams responsible for building and remodeling Target stores and other facilities, and flight services.
Michael’s Target career has already spanned 20 years, from a fate-setting internship to, most recently, our chief financial officer. And while finance was his most recent stop, he’s spent half his tenure in roles across merchandising, human resources and operations.
We asked Michael to share what’s on his mind as he steps into his new role, his leadership style and more.
You’re a fixture on our leadership team, but for people just getting to know you, tell us a little about your early years and how they shaped your career.
From a young age, my parents inspired both a strong work ethic and a taste for business. I grew up on a farm in Iowa. It was a small farm, but my dad made sure I had chores to do every morning before I headed to school. That’s where the work ethic set in. But my dad was also an entrepreneur, running many businesses. That sparked an interest in business that I still draw on today.
You’ve been at Target for two decades now. What keeps you here?
So much of what originally drew me to Target holds true today, and at the top of that list is the love I have for the team. The caliber of the Target team and their passion to make things better for our guests — it makes for such a fulfilling and fun place to work. And over those 20 years, I’ve watched us grow, too. So, it’s not just the Target I fell in love with 20 years ago, but also how we’ve evolved.
And then there’s the magic of the retail industry. I love the pace of learning in retail, where we get feedback daily from our guests on what we’re getting right and where we can get better.
How are you approaching this new start in operations?
I have so much appreciation for how our operations teams activate on everything we do on behalf of our guests. We can dream up anything and put it in a PowerPoint, but what matters is what happens when someone interacts with Target. The operations team is front and center on delivering so much of that.
I’m also eager to learn from the teams that are doing it every day. One of the ways I’ve grown as a leader during my time at Target is upping my ratio of questions versus statements. Asking team members about what’s working and what they would do to make improvements helps clarify where to focus and how best to serve our team and our guests.
When leaders put their team first, the team can put the guest first.
Tell us more about your approach to leadership.
For me, it’s a combination of curiosity and, again, listening. I try to draw out the voice that I think a conversation needs, even if it’s not there. We talk so much about the power of an inclusive culture, but that power only happens if you hear those diverse perspectives and create an environment of trust where it can help shape the decision making. That helps us ultimately better serve the guest. When a leader puts their team first, the team can put the guest first.
You went to school for industrial engineering. How does that thinking come to life in retail operations?
In industrial engineering, it’s all about making your processes better and better over time. So much of that relates to what we try to do for our team and guests at Target. Add in the engineering principles of blending art and science and the importance of learning through testing and iterating, and you have a lot of what makes Target so special and successful.
OK, bonus question: What’s always in your Target cart?
Good & Gather Ginger Peach Sparkling Water. It’s the best sparkling water of all the sparkling waters.