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1/27/2004
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SmartAdvice: How To Motivate And Build A Strong Team

Focus on satisfying fundamental needs first, such as workload relief and compensation, then move on to higher-level motivators such as empowerment, creative work, and advancement opportunities, The Advisory Council says. Also, consider waiting to adopt RFID until the technology's standards are ready, and check out which skill sets will be most in demand this year.

The crucial skills in this process are identifying the right issues and tackling them in an appropriate way and order. In teams where membership is fairly static, typical of IT-management teams, the relationships among members can have a huge bearing on the team's performance. In times of turmoil, such as the previous three years, team dynamics tend to change greatly as members leave and others join. In such cases, the team leader (or team-building consultant) should focus primarily on the relationship between members, and to a lesser extent to the team's relationship to other teams within the organization.

Some characteristics of good teams and team-building are:

  • A high level of interdependence among team members


  • Willingness to contribute


  • A relaxed communication climate


  • Mutual trust


  • Risk-taking


  • Clear goals and targets


  • Clearly defined roles


  • The ability to examine errors without personal attacks


  • Creative problem-solving and ideas, and


  • An individual impact on the team agenda and decisions.

IT managers can be poor at delegating responsibility, which doesn't empower their teams. To be more successful, the IT manager should practice his or her people skills and be committed to the team approach.

Well-built teams are capable of remarkable results that can exceed previous levels of achievement. Witness the team of 4,000 engineers who created and launched the space shuttle, which can take us into space and back!

-- Peter Taglia

Topic B: Is RFID technology ready for widespread industry adoption?

Our advice: Radio frequency identification technology is being touted as the next generation UPC (Universal Product Code), ready to transform supply chain management yet again. There's no question that it has the potential to optimize inventory control and squeeze more efficiency out of the supply chain, but the bad publicity surrounding field trials with both Gillette and Wal-Mart have heightened consumer awareness of the potential for serious privacy issues. In addition to the security concerns, the industry hasn't sorted out which of two conflicting standards--the proposed EPC (Electronic Product Code) standard or the ISO (International Standardization Organization) RFID specification--will be adopted.

Related Links

AIM Association for Automatic Identification and Data Capture Technologies

RFID Journal

RFID News



In general, RFID has the potential to provide companies with highly accurate inventory information in a more efficient, cost-effective way. Like supply-chain integration, RFID technology has the potential to allow suppliers, customers, and other firms in the industry access to critical competitive information. Unlike enterprise resource planning and supply chain technologies, where the information sharing is usually voluntary, RFID is a "pull" technology. It could be used to gather information covertly because it's so anonymous. Of course, this means that your competitors could potentially steal information about your company from under your nose. All of these issues need to be addressed before anyone should consider its widespread implementation.

Should you invest in RFID technology now? No, unless your business partners are pressuring you to incorporate the technology immediately. While the potential for increased efficiency is very real, the unresolved standards conflict and on-going consumer-privacy concerns argue against it. Better to wait until the dust settles. In a few years, the standards will converge, the consumer issues will be resolved, and magnetic-ink labeling will bring the cost and hassle factor down to the point that it will become, like the UPC before it, just a normal part of doing business.

-- Beth Cohen

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