How do you handle success?

So over the past few years 333 has done pretty well, the kids complete deadlines, they improved on scouting, they fell in love with FIRST. As a mentor I can’t be happier! The shop pretty clean, they listen to everything I throw at them and they have gone above and beyond with things like CAD and strategy.

With all that came some pretty nice robots I’m happy with but how do I keep the success going? How do I handle it so I can take this team to the next level of success? Right now we are planning a way to thank all the people who have donated to us, but I feel like I’m missing something?

What do you guys do to handle success and keep it going so I don’t loose that head of steam?
If I dont respond in timely manner I’m sorry and thank you in advance!

#0 - Celebrate! Make sure every individual who contributed to the success knows what their role was, and how appreciated they are for it!

#1 - Acknowledge the success for what it is. What things did you have to work hard for? What things did you get lucky on? What things could still be better?

#2 - Look to the future - What do you need to do to maintain the same level of success? What do you need to do to ensure the “we got lucky” moments don’t rely on luck? What do you need to do to improve the things that needed to be better? What systems are in place to absolutely ensure that new students will want to maintain and improve the team? What happens if a key sponsor drops out suddenly - what’s your backup plan? Same for mentors and student leaders - what’s your succession plan?

The worst way to deal with success: “We did great, so we’ll do great again next year!”. Nope. Never a guarantee. You always have to be proactive, evolving. Your team must embody “lifelong learning”. Always maintain the attitude of a student. The moment you decide you have nothing more to learn is the moment you cease to grow.

Study yourself. Study how you study yourself. Make a plan to grow. Execute the plan. Evaluate how well you did. Start over.

We aren’t an amazing team, or an extremely successful team but after every event, we sit down and decide, what went well, and what could’ve gone better. We do the same process with the season. This could be as small of things as being slightly quicker at how we do things, being more efficient, but we have found that there is always something we could do better.

I suggest you do a Lessons Learned, a.k.a. Post-Mortem, with the Team:

  1. identify and analyze what went well and make sure those lessons are applied again next year;
  2. if you had a Risk & Opportunities Plan, review the risks and opportunities you had identified in light of how the 2018 season went. Identify new risks or opportunities you had not foreseen and encountered so as not to miss them next year;
  3. review the Team’s performance against that of those Teams that outperformed you and ponder on what improvements could be made to close the gap next year;
  4. identify and analyze what went wrong this year and do a Cause-and-Effect (a.k.a. Fishbone) Analysis to find solutions to put in place in the future.