Team Dynamics 



Why Do Teams?

In a survey that I recently performed with top managers of various industries I asked the question: What do you think the company in the year 2010 would look like? I received an interesting response from the majority of the respondents. This is their view:

The company of the future will receive orders via Computer Aided Order Entry/ Receipt processes. A person would not even need to be available. After the order is received it would be turned over to engineering where it would be decided whether we would make it in house our broker it out to an outside engineering firm. If we decide to make it in-house it would be handled by Computer Aided Design/ Engineering. After Engineering was finished with their design, through the automation process, it would then be handed to Manufacturing, where Computer Aided Manufacturing processes would be developed.

Manufacturing would design the process through computers and then the parts would be ordered through the EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) environment directly to the supplier base. Parts would be built by the supplier and shipped to the customer at need and delivered only to "point of use" for that specific material. As the material is delivered it would be taken off of the trucks using RGMM (Robotic Guided Material Movers) to the area where the material is needed.

This material, of course, would never be delivered unless it was Just In Time. Robotic Manufacturing Devices will take the material and produce the product based on what we learned from Computer Aided Manufacturing, and no mistakes will be made. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will monitor the whole process and ensure that everthing is made according to exacting customer specifications.

When the product is complete this system will take the finished product from last operation to the packaging/ shipping operation where the product will be automatically packaged and shipped to the customer.

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Let's Get Real!

Where's the people involvement? There is no team element involved here! Team driven companies are what the most succesful companies are using, but it's not present in this survey. The reality is that teams have come and they are going to stay. The old methods of management which stressed total automation are gone. There will always be a need for people and there will always be a need for people to work in coordinated teams. This is the purpose of this paper.

An Environment to Succeed

First, let's look at what motivation for a team is. Motivation is to provide an incentive to stimulate someone to action. I prefer to look at it, in the team building sense, as providing the team member a climate to succeed. When we think of it our team members are spending no less than 8 hours a day at their jobs. On top of that they have to get up early in the morning to get ready. They probably fight traffic to get to their place of work (learning new finger gestures on their way in from other happy motorists). They work hard all day then they have another fun drive home. They have to allow time for sleep, so when one adds it up they're spending more than 2/3 rds of their day working. Don't we owe it to these people to allow them a chance to succeed at what they are doing. Team leaders are afforded the opportunity to make this happen for their members.

It is up to the team leader to understand that team environments are motivating when three things are present: 1) The member sees results for themselves and their other team members, 2) Perpetual team measurement with candid dialogue on its outcome and, 3) The team and each of its members feel a sense of accomplishment. Everyone likes cookies. Praise and pats on the back are an essential part of the process of team development. I don't know of anyone who drives to work to purposely screw up (well there was that one guy, but he was a politician). Most of us want to do well.

To be Continued


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