Floundering Leadership

I never thought this day would come, but the Titan Robotics Club is in serious trouble.

Not only are we having difficulty finding individuals and businesses interested in sponsoring us for the 2005 season, but half of our leadership has wandered off.

Both our Chief Executive Officer (President) and Chief Operations Officer (Vice President) have failed to come to most meetings and have also failed to communicate their ideas and business with any other members of the club.

That leaves the Chief Information Officer (Secretary) (Me) and the Chief Financial Officer (Treasurer) to pull the slack being let up by our two most important leaders.

So here is my question, does anyone have ideas on how to lure these two essential people back into the robotics club? The TRC is floundering because of their absence, and I am afraid that if this continues, that we will have to disband.

If anyone has any ideas that can help, it would be greatly appreciated.

I’ll offer what I can on the absences–there’s plenty of information out there on the sponsorship. I’m going to make an assumption here that these are students. Otherwise, adjust accordingly.

  1. Don’t lose hope. Unless it’s December 4 and FIRST doesn’t have a check from your team, it isn’t over.
  2. Talk to your honchos. Perhaps something is keeping them from robotics–stuff happens. If they’re having a hard time keeping up, perhaps offer to take some of their duties until things straighten out. If it’s really bad, -respectfully- ask that they step aside and bring in folks who have the time and ability to do the job.
  3. Keep meeting. Even if your team takes a year off, you can still plan and prepare for a stellar comeback in 2006.

That’s all I can think of.

My first suggestion to you and your team is that you immediately hold a meeting to discuss your leadership problems. Many times, a team member has a simple non-robotics related problem that can be worked out. In any case though, the leadership is responsible for the team, and if the leadership isn’t holding themselves responsible, and if the problem threatens to become a permanent hindrance, as Billfred said, respectfully ask them to step down.
On the topic of fund raising, three good resources are the 4 white papers on the topic of fund raising posted by members of team 60 in the white papers under the header of “Team Organization”. The cybersonics (103) also have a rural support network as well as pdfs on the topic of fund raising.
Now the third resource and a little story. A thread on the topic of maintaining a team is here. If you search CD for “sponsor”, you get about 20 pages of results and after reading the first 14 pages (every pertinent thread, every post of those threads) of results, I kinda scanned this thread, but it seems useful for some pointers. To summarize the other threads say this “Keep at it, stay determined. Look to your community, look to schools, check with your chamber of commerce and most of the time you’ll pull through.” Our team has sponsors such as a local pub, a small golfing store and a local landscaping service as well as sponsors such as NASA, BAE systems, Rohm & Haas, PSGA Ortho-McNeil, DeVry University, Enersys, Technitool and Siemens. The goal of our business plan, which we have achieved, is to be flexible enough to lose our largest sponsor and possibly one or two smaller sponsors and still be able to continue. We learned this lesson the hard way after loosing PSGA as our sole sponsor at the conclusion of the 2002 season, but we competed the next year in stack attack and won the Galileo divisional finals as the selecting team for the alliance, and with Buzz (175) and the Techno-Ticks (236), placed 3rd. The moral of the story is that even though it looks like hard times ahead, that the reason why that single thread of reasoning shows up on over 20 threads just this year is that it is good advice. Keep at it. Don’t give up.
So the skinny on the topic is:

  1. Re-examine your community for more sponsorship opportunities. If you have a local YMCA, you can talk to them about how they do their fund raising to get a good idea as to what to do to be successful as well as sponsorship. One thing mentioned that I warn against is a cold-approach to large sponsors. For $25 that’s fine, but if you’re looking for anything substantial, call or send a letter first. To large sponsors, consider asking to be allowed to bring your robot to give a demonstration, and later invite them to accompany you to your competition.

  2. Talk to your team members. Our team meets somewhere in the area of 10 months a year, and I wouldn’t have it any other way (sometimes I fear that the coaches will have the police drag me off if I show up much more often). If your team members have a problem pertaining to the team, work with them about it. If the problem is forgein to to the team, or more personal, a team forum may not be appropriate, but you and the other attending coach can offer support. If the problem is debilitating, allow them to stay on the team with the option of running for the position the next season, but ask them to step down while they resolve their problem.

  3. Keep at it.


P.S. If you have any questions feel free to PM me and I’ll be glad to answer them.
P.P.S. I’d post this thread in a section that appears on the portal page, and this goes for any non-chit chat important material. However, I’m in a rush so this time I’ll leave it to you to PM Brandon or a Mod to request this threads movement if you feel it should be. I’d also ask to change the name becuase the title doesn’t reflect the whole topic. Maybe “Leadership and Sponsorship suggestions” or the like.