Architecting Not Just a Successful (And Winning!) Infrastructure…But a Solid Team

As a result of our company winning the 2009 Intel Premier IT Knowledge Award (announced on 9/1/09), I had the opportunity to participate in the CIO 100 Symposium Awards in Colorado Springs, CO.  It was a tremendous honor to not only be a part of this program but to receive peer recognition for the work we’ve done in building a world-class infrastructure.  At the event, I was able to participate in some remarkable sessions. One presentation in particular shared the same approach to leadership I brought to my dev team in buiding our network infrastructure—the very project that was honored with this award. Communications expert Suzaane Bates revealed the eight principles that successful leaders use to motivate their teams:

Read more about the CIO/Intel award and richrelevance’s SSD initiative:
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1.         It begins with you – your purpose and passion
2.         Communicate a clear, powerful mission
3.         Learn what motivates your people
4.         Make a personal connection with others
5.         Make the conversation about them
6.         Praise, recognize and reward
7.         Walk the talk
8.         Empower people

RichRelevance's IT Team

RichRelevance's IT Team

My takeaway from these points is that we as leaders must understand what motivates our employees and recognize that what drives one individual may not be successful in motivating another. Choice of language is also important—different logical and emotional terms appeal to
different members of your team. Above all, I’ve found that all eight suggestions listed need to be approached in tandem. For example, individually making a connection (#4) includes ensuring that people understand the collective objective (#2) and also appreciate the what and the why of each situation and project.All of us who undertake monumental projects with our teams—or even smaller-tasks—can benefit from these takeaways. Building a world-class infrastructure doesn’t just call for cutting-edge technology, it requires operational excellence and a passionate focus. Our team at RichRelevance had a big idea and we did all we could as an organization to rally around that cry. Our sense of common purpose is aptly articulated by a quote from Steve Jobs shared at the conference: “I want to make a ding in the universe.”  In the world of IT infrastructures, we’re confident that we contributed a lasting and profound “ding.” We slashed page load times and increased our ability to simultaneously run more complex, data intensive recommendation algorithms. Our response times remain consistently under 100 ms with the vast majority of requests leaving RichRelevance data centers averaging less than 25 ms.

This whole experience proved to me how essential it is—particularly in these fast moving times—to keep tabs on how you are motivating others.  The simplest forms of communication can make the biggest difference in architecting a team for success.

To take a deeper look at RichRelevance’s IT Infrastructure, download our latest Speak Geek Tech Brief: “RichRelevance Infrastructure: a robust, retail-optimized foundation”

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