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Unread 03-17-2003, 11:39 AM
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Angry Loss of Gracious Professionalism Among First Teams

I noticed over the past couple years, the many teams have become lost in what exactly "Gracious Professionalism" is and have a perverted way at looking at FIRST.

This past weekend, I went up to the Annapolis regional as a guest of a team on which two of my close friends were. Towards the end of the weekend, I was so surprised on how rudely I was treated by the adult sponsors and chaperone of the team, thinking how could someone in FIRST act in such a way.

I went with the intention of being able to help out the team in some way, but not in the way of being used as I was. On Thursday it wasn't bad, except the fact that the team thought I went there as being one of the member's "girlfriend," which wasn't the case at all. On the team meeting Thursday night, I was not treated as I was on Friday.

It was joked about among my friends on the team, that I would be their Human player; something I knew was not going to happen. However, the adult had me "train" them b/c I am the one for my team and know what is going on. I did so...but when it came time for me to tell her who would best from what I saw, I was ignored and was told, "This isn't your team." The entire team just got worse and worse. In my past few years in FIRST, I have never seen so much yelling taking place among one team at a regional. The adult was blaming it on everything from the design being faulty, to the student leader not being happy enough. I walked up to the pit from talking to one of the volunteers, to that student getting chewed out for trying to get his fellow teammates to listen and get stuff done right.

The team meeting that night really opens my eyes to how ungrateful and rude this team really was. They were talking about things needed to improve their team, and to be honest I saw some things that would have needed to be improved, had it been my team. The fact that I was cut off and told that I don't matter, hurt me more than I can really say.

For most of the trip, the team I was with called my team (a team they have never met) arrogant and didn't believe how we don't have the arguing that went on with their team. I can vouch for the fact my team has never had arguments over the robot and people working on it.
Another thing I saw, is that a good portion of the members of the team, did not know what was going on with their robot. There were multiple times in which I had to step in b/c the people were giving them wrong information since they didn't even know what there robot did.

Despite how the majority of the team acted, I would like to thank the people on the team that were actually kind and knew how I got treated was not right, nor in the spirit of FIRST, also for the one member of the team that kept me from just blowing up at them.

Have that many FIRST teams lost focus that FIRST isn't about yelling at people trying to help them out, trying to give them another view than the narrow one they can only see? Have that many teams just become rude to those on the team that would know what is going on? I can't lie and tell you I'm not disappointed in how this team acted, but I was taught through my mentors and the other teams I have become close with is that mentors should be kind, especially to a guest that just wants to help. I never thought a team would even treat their own members as badly as they did, because I know after this weekend, a couple of people that are going to have nothing to do with the team next year, if it can be helped.

Between the experiences I received this weekend, and how teams are 'fixing' matches, I think its time that that people should be taught what exactly the spirit of FIRST is, not their own view they seem to think it has become.
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Unread 03-17-2003, 11:52 AM
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Re: Loss of Gracious Professionalism Among First Teams

Quote:
Originally posted by Meli W.
I was so surprised on how rudely I was treated by the adult sponsors and chaperone of the team, thinking how could someone in FIRST act in such a way.
...but when it came time for me to tell her who would best from what I saw, I was ignored and was told, "This isn't your team." The entire team just got worse and worse. In my past few years in FIRST, I have never seen so much yelling taking place among one team at a regional. The fact that I was cut off and told that I don't matter, hurt me more than I can really say.
Have that many FIRST teams lost focus that FIRST isn't about yelling at people trying to help them out, trying to give them another view than the narrow one they can only see? Have that many teams just become rude to those on the team that would know what is going on? people should be taught what exactly the spirit of FIRST is, not their own view they seem to think it has become.
So they're only acting graciously if they do what you say about who should be human player? Don't think so. If you had strings attached to you doing them a favor, you may want to change your expectations next time.

Our team was motivated to create the gracious professionalism poster because of a terrible, fractious, argumentative year last year. We personalized gracious professionalism for our team by coming up with the definitions in the poster. Our team captain was so thrilled - no arguments this year. Our freshman female TIG welder said, "Our whole team is changed after this Phoenix competition". She meant in a wonderful, wonderful way.

It's all a process, not a destination. ALL teams or individuals are not at the same place at any given time. It's not about "people should be taught" and they need to have your view about what gracious professionalism is. It's about modeling the behavior yourself. In your situation you have a choice about how graciously you are going to behave in a difficult situation, or after a difficult situation.
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Unread 03-17-2003, 11:59 AM
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Here is another example of the loss of gracious professionalism: One of the members on my team was an inspector at Cleveland. One of the robots he inspected used a hallowed out battery for the weigh-in so that it was under 130 lbs. I can't believe a team would do that. What kind of an example is this for the students?
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Unread 03-17-2003, 12:18 PM
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Re: Re: Loss of Gracious Professionalism Among First Teams

Quote:
Originally posted by Redhead Jokes
So they're only acting graciously if they do what you say about who should be human player? Don't think so. If you had strings attached to you doing them a favor, you may want to change your expectations next time.



As a friend of mel, and one a person that witnessed some of the events that occured at annapolis, She was very liberal with events , things that occured with that team were alot worse than that


Oh! and one more thing, If you were given a Task to do, and then when asked your opinion of it, just to have it ignored, i dont think you would be too happy about that either, i dont think this thread was about how she didnt anything to do about her opinion of being human player it was about how teams do not exhibit Gracious Proffesionalism


I agree with her 100% I think teams are loosing faith in each other, I read Cheifdelphi, and all that is talked about How this team can do this and that to take advantge of the games,

EVERYONE JUST NEEDS TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT IF's IF EVERYONE STARTED WORRING ABOUT BEING MORE GRACIOUS TO OTHER AND NOT ABOUT HOW TEAMS COULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OTHER TEAMS THE COMPETITION WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE
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Unread 03-17-2003, 12:25 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Loss of Gracious Professionalism Among First Teams

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Originally posted by "Big Mike"
[b][color=darkblue]
If you were given a Task to do, and then when asked your opinion of it, just to have it ignored, i dont think you would be too happy about that either
No, I haven't been happy when that happened. And I've learned over the years that it's often my own expectations that cause me grief, and that when others disappoint me I can continue to move on and realize that I did a good thing and didn't deserve that kind of treatment. And it won't keep me from choosing to do people a favor again - especially a friend like you who does appreciate her.
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Unread 03-17-2003, 12:27 PM
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A personal problem such as being narrow minded or rude cannot be fixed by gracious professionalism. But frankly, how the team that adopted you should not have acted this way. Granted, some argue about their bots, but most have been under stressfull situations, not a regular occurance.
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Unread 03-17-2003, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JosephM
A personal problem such as being narrow minded or rude cannot be fixed by gracious professionalism.
*chuckle* I disagree.

The narrow minded or rude person can't be fixed.

But the situation can be resolved, sometimes by going around the difficult person.

I remember reading years ago that mental health is realizing just how many options you have.

I can argue, I can agree to disagree, I can choose not to let them know that I'm going to take care of this without their involvement, I'm going to move on and pat myself on the back for being a generous person who did someone a favor...
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Unread 03-17-2003, 12:41 PM
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I agree on some parts not all though. Me being on a rookie team found that there was aurguments once and a while but we are new and working out how our team is set-up. I being with FIRST for 6 years have heard "Gracious Professionalism" spoke of quite often.

I always here about teams not doing what they should and being to competitive. Some teams have strick guide lines and most of the team is in the captain's, teachers, and engineers.

What I think needs to happen with the teams is they need to get the students to do more building. I know of some teams that there students only do the minimum and the engineers do most of the work. This causes a pattern in how the team functions. First students start to find a topic to dissguss and every meeting the talk about this instead of the robot. Then the students stop watching the engineers and loss track of whats going on with the robot. Later in the building when the students are needed all hell brakes loose on them because there clueless.

I wish I had more facts on what happened with this one team this person was with, but the only thing you can do is advise them, like you are doing now, of what they are doing and then go back to your team and perfect your team organization some more.

I think "Gracious Professionalism" is the ability to work with others in a logical way that benifits the your team, other teams, your community, and FIRST. Any other activitys that are being talked about is not relevant. This team needs one leader that will organize the team which I find is ussually a student or teacher.
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Unread 03-17-2003, 12:51 PM
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It has saddened me in recent years to see certain teams participate in FIRST, while not understanding the true meaning of it. However, this number is limited and many teams embrace GP with open arms. Thohe who do not may very well be doing that because the members do not practice gracious professionalism in everyday live. FIRST is only several months long. If, after the season is over, people cease to practice gracious professionalism, then there is no reason to expect them to pick it up again, and be gracious and professional once the season starts up again. Essentially gracious professionalism follows the "Golden rule" which most of us have been told my our parrnts at one or time or another. "Do to others what you want them to do to you." Gracious professionalism is about putting others before yourself, and the team ahead of the individual. However, this needs to be practiced in the world outside of FIRST for it to succeed in FIRST. Gracious professionalism is a 24/7/365 attitude you need to have. If you have that attitude 24/7/365, then you will carry it into the regionals and succeed! If you do not, then there wil be problems. Anyway, thats just my opinion.
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Unread 03-17-2003, 12:51 PM
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i will not name the team, but we know who it is

i offered them my help when they were in PIECES on thursday

and they told me to go away...

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Unread 03-17-2003, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sean_330
It has saddened me in recent years to see many teams participate in FIRST, while not understanding the true meaning of it. However, this needs to be practiced in the world outside of FIRST for it to succeed in FIRST. Gracious professionalism is a 24/7/365 attitude you need to have. If you have that attitude 24/7/365, then you will carry it into the regionals and succeed! If you do not, then there wil be problems.
On the other hand, I see opportunity rather than sadness.

I know in my business life I worked at Nordstrom years ago and learned what true customer service was about. I used to arrest shoplifters there. *chuckle* For a couple of months we even collected customer service letters from those we arrested.

Don't get me wrong, if I needed to be tough with those I was arresting, I could be. It wasn't my first choice of behavior.

My husband used to work for Oasis Residential in Vegas. 14,000 apts and they were well known for taking care of their residents. They had a Nordstrom view of customer service. My husband now works for his former bosses in rent.com - one of our team's corporate sponsors.

We moved from Vegas to CA , and I remain appalled by the "customer service" of our apartments management. Our apartments management owns many apartments. They haven't had the benefit of seeing the model of Customer Service practiced by Oasis Residential, and how that service helped make Oasis so successful.

I don't believe the majority of the world practices good customer service or gracious professionalism.

We are leaders - and I KNOW you are Sean. The air gets thin up here. And more people join us all the time when they see gracious professionalism modeled, experience it, and see the value of it.
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Unread 03-17-2003, 01:23 PM
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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but youíre fighting an uphill battle. People and the teams to which they belong are going to do what they want, whenever they want, however they want, and when they want. This is, of course, unless they violate an explicit rule of the game. I think Gracious Professionalism is a wonderful thing. But since weíre all human beings, and do not share the same mind and thought process we each have our own definitions of GP. Itís kind of like an ink blot test, or a Venn diagram that doesnít exactly line up, or even like the FRC itself. We each have an idea of what GP means, and sometimes we share the same assumptions, but we donít share an exact definition.

Iíve experienced similar rudeness at FIRST events. For example, my brother (last season) and I (when I was a junior in HS) have been yelled at after matches by an adult mentor from a team that used to come to Silicon Valley. This adult also made what seemed to be a yearly habit of fuming at his teamís drivers. So much so that one of them cried behind the glass at Nationals. These are just 2 (the team youíre talking about and the team I cited) teams, out of more than 100 that I have gotten to talk to fairly often. I canít think that this is an epidemic of ungracious professionalism. In fact, compared to the real world I think this is a pretty darn good ratio of good to bad teams/people.

Iíd also like to address your disapproval of ďa good portion of the members of the team, [not knowing what was happening with their robot].Ē Why does this matter to you? Weíve had many discussions on CD about how much work students should be held accountable for on any given robot. As a person who believes that the kids on his team should have as much input/responsibility as they want, I canít imagine begrudging a team for not having as much student input as well known student lead programs. Especially begrudging a team where the non-student who designed the robot is your friend. Maybe you hadnít thought about that.

[I really donít mean to offend you Mel.] I hate to say it, but Melissa you knew about the friction and inner turmoil of this team before you went to Annapolis. I hear about it all the time. If I were you I would have only tried to hang out with my friends on that team and have a good time, and not get involved in the teamís inner workings any way. They way theyíve been described; it wouldnít seem far fetched for them to do the things you previously stated. I just donít think it is right that you would knowingly put yourself into a volatile situation, and then be surprised and shocked when everything blows up in your face. The kid who likes to do cartwheels next to the cliff only has himself/herself to blame when some of the dirt gives way causing them to slip and fall off the edge.

<edit>
soezgg:
Chill. You're right that they probably should have been nicer, but maybe you misinterpreted their response. Some people don't have good control over the tone and mode of their voice. In any case, turn the other cheek.
</edit>

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Unread 03-17-2003, 01:31 PM
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We'll probably be regarded as odd, but we're a rookie and didn't have one single argument. It was probably one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had.

One of the stragnest phenomenon I've seen though is when a team bickers amongest itself, argues continually over how to fix a problem, and never gets anything accomplished, but can be so nice, gentiel, and "perfect" looking to another team. I know a few times I would walk by a team's pit and the engineers/mentors would be yelling at a student, but later on you could come up and ask for a part or about a problem and that same person would be more than glad to help you out. I'm sure this was relevant to the situation they were in at that time, but still I don't think losing your temper is a very good way to promote professionalism within your team.

Changing the world starts with changing yourself. So, if you feel you personally don't express professionalism, try to change that before you criticize or try to point it out to others. By this, I don't mean that someone who has posted here doesn't express professtionalism, or that I am the epitome of professionalism (because anyone who knows me knows I'm not...); I am merely saying let's make sure that we project the same image we're trying to impose.

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Unread 03-17-2003, 01:43 PM
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When new teams come into FIRST it's mostly because of the competition and the Robots. Which meansmany of them see a high school Battlebots (Flame me all you want but the general public is pretty ignorant about hwat FIRST stands for and thinks they're battlebots first and I'm sure many of them could give a $@#$@#$@#$@# about the Chairman's award or gracious professionalism and see just an opportunity to put a bunch of trophys on their mantle)and think the whole point of this is to win at all costs.
Before money so heavily saturated it into the monstosity it has become sports used to be about giving your all and being a good sport. Not anymore. Theres a new scandal every week. Some other athlete doing something to bring shame to their profession. Coaches who cheat and are rewarded with a job at aother struggling program or team. You got parents who lose their mind at their kids baseball, hockey and football games and turn into soccer hooligans.
One has to wonder if FIRST is heading down this road with their need to rapidly expand and if it is it need to stop and turn back right now!
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Unread 03-17-2003, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sean_330
However, this needs to be practiced in the world outside of FIRST for it to succeed in FIRST.
Quote:
Originally posted by Koko Ed
One has to wonder if FIRST is heading down this road with their need to rapidly expand and if it is it need to stop and turn back right now!
There's a quote in the Talmud that when you save yourself it's as tho you've saved an entire world.

We "save" FIRST one world at a time, one team at a time, one forum message at a time, one forum at a time, one regional at a time...
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Mint: To invent; to forge; to fabricate; to fashion. Mentor: a wise and trusted guide and advisor.
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