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Unread 03-30-2005, 11:48 AM
Unsung FIRST Hero
jessjank. jessjank. is offline
Program Manager, FIRST in Texas
AKA: Jess Jankowitsch
FRC #2158 (ausTIN CANs)
Team Role: Mentor
Join Date: Apr 2002
Rookie Year: 2001
Location: Austin, TX (Previously PA)
Posts: 277
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Re: Need Help and Suggestions - Creating a TEAM

The way you have worded your question leads me to interpret that you're not asking how to start up a new team, but rather how to make the team you already have more unified; truly a team. There are a number of things that can be done to do this and I'll try to best explain how my team goes about creating strong bonds and relationships between members and unifying the team as a whole.

Though part of it is really developed because of the people who make up the team and the roles in which people naturally take on, some trust and commitment between teammates and an overall cohesion can be established through holding various teambuilding activities. In previous years, my team has held learning style workshops, taken part in low ropes course teamwork training at a local Girl Scout camp, held team bowling days, and had numerous team parties. Members really need to get to know, respect, and depend on each other in order for the team to function as a whole and by holding such events, team members become closer to one another. The team also, every night during build season, has sit-down dinners together which provide a great opportunity for interaction and bonding between members who don't see each other for hours at a time while they are working. We request that all members be present at these events, activities, meeting, etc as they are essential to team cohesion.

It is an excellent idea to try to arrange for your team to have it's own homeroom, though it is not possible for all teams to do this depending on whether your team is based at a school and if so how things are arranged at your school. The members of team 103 see each other at the beginning of each school day throughout the entire school year because our school has allowed for us to have a team homeroom just as they have allowed for many of the sports teams and student government. While this is meant to provide easy communication between team advisors and mentors, it also lends to the unification of the team because of the enhanced interaction between all members. During that small period of time every morning, one gradually become exceedingly familiar with all of their teammates and develops strong relationships.

Another thing a team should consider is how much is it necessary for all members of your team to work together. Despite the fact that Cybersonics is split into three main departments (i.e. Manufacturing, Animation, PR/Marketing) and each of those then split into subgroups, depending upon what is needed to be produced during different periods of time, for the purpose of flexibility, the team has found just how dependent upon one another we as members are. For each department to function properly, it is essential for interaction between departments to take place. If this has not been found to be the case with your team, attempt to find ways in which your team would perhaps better and more efficiently function with interaction between members. Also, try to incorporate everyone on your team into specific tasks, such as the brainstorming process at the beginning of build season. While not everyone has engineering know-how and expertise, each individual definitely has something to offer and by making such a task a "team" process rather than simply that of a department or a few individuals, the entire team can feel that they have in some way worked together to produce a final product. By making so that it is absolutely essential for members to work with each other, the porducts produced aren't simply that of one department or group, but rather the entire team and in such a way members can feel unified in their efforts.

The main idea with all of this is to build a team by getting members to really interact and communicate with each other by working together and being in each otherís presence as much as possible. I hope this provides you with some help and ideas. Massive luck to you and your team!
~Jess Jankowitsch
Program Manager - FIRST in Texas | Assistant Regional Director & Volunteer Coordinator - Alamo Regional FRC: 2010-Present
Volunteer Coordinator - Championship FRC: 2008-11, 13-Present | Event Director - Texas Robout Roundup: 2011-Present
Mentor - ausTIN CANs FRC/VRC 2158: 2010-Present | Alumna - Cybersonics FRC 103: 2001-05
Volunteer/Judges Coordinator - Pittsburgh Regional FRC: 2007-11 | FIRST Senior Mentor - Western PA: 2008-09
Emcee & Game Announcer - World Championship VRC: 2010-11

The University of Texas at Austin, Graduate Student | Carnegie Mellon University, Class of 2005
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