Post-Season Responsibility

Congrats to 973, 1323, 5062, 4201 for winning Houston and with Detroit just a few days away the 2019 season is coming to an end my question for everyone is when does post season start for you all and what do you do prior to the start of off-season events. My main question is how do other team decided student leadership? Is there some sort of election system or does the person just hand the position to the student they trained or is there some board that decides whose best or does your team not have student leadership? I’d love to see how teams are handling this difficult decision? With that what are some of the responsibility of those students if or when they get that position?

This is not a thread that is talking about mentor involvement on teams this is purely a student perspective. With that do not call out teams every team is different and if you are not on that team do not speak for them. Thank you :smile:

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A question as old as time, so much so I asked it myself six years ago:

Boy reading my old posts makes me feel old

Haha so the converation never ends idk if thats good or bad ? Any input??

Man one of the other mentors has photos of me on the FLL team in 2013. Its weird seeing me from way back then…

For your questions,im not totally sure either and its something we have been trying to figure out, (imo picking them right after postseason doesnt work ) so ill be reading closely.

For us, we have a few “wrapping up the season” activities that run into May. The students run “plus/delta” sessions to take a retrospective look at the season, and they put on our annual Sponsor Appreciation Night, cooking meals for the sponsors and showing them where their money went throughout the year. After that, the mentors and student leaders spend June figuring out what to do with the next year, and we get going on a pre-season project. So, adults get May off, students (mostly) get June off. Post-season only lasts a month, Pre-season lasts half a year.

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Sounds like fun ! But how do you decide the student leaders that work with the mentors if you don’t mind me asking ?

Students vote on leadership roles. Mentors work with the results. Each new batch of leaders has different strengths and weaknesses, and the mentor group ends up adjusting their mentoring style accordingly. We’re not super structured, but we’re adaptable enough to make it work.

I don’t want to overstep my knowledge because I only know what worked for me when I was a team member way back from 2010-2013. Coming from a team that was structured so a student was the “Final Decider” of things, and above all mentors in the robot design hierarchy, really the only way to decide this person is by vote. Democratic elections bestow legitimacy to an office that few others things do. It used to be that only students got to vote, I believe mentors were enfranchised a few years after I left.

Usually people who were interested in the position made it known during the season and shadowed the current leaders informally. They had to be nominated and seconded by other team members (and accept the nomination). The following week, they then gave a short speech and a vote taken. The results of the vote were announced at the annual banquet a week later. The elections were often extremely close between two very qualified and enthusiastic people. I believe a few years after I left two students also ran as a ticket for Pres and VP together, which was a neat innovation. In some ways I think the fact that the elections took three weeks lends even more legitimacy to it. Students took their positions extremely seriously and the mentors were always gracious enough to work with whoever was elected. I am certain they had to adapt significantly to each different group of leaders.

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What happens if nobody wants or gets voted for a role?

Then you have a different team culture than the teams that do this. Nothing wrong with that, but I think a team culture in which no student wants to be a leader is not compatible with student leadership.

We have close to 60 kids, there’s always someone willing and able to step up. In fact, the past few years we’ve had pairs of kids run together for roles (co-presidents, co-engineering presidents, etc…) and it’s worked out well.

This sounds like an extremely effective way of getting great students who not only want the position but are qualified for it. In my opinion a vote that consist of students and mentors is also a good balance. Thank you for sharing what your team did when you were on it!

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Our elected roles are relatively limited. They are:
Team President
Engineering President
Marketing President
Outreach President
Operations President

Titles like “lead programmer” and “lead machinist” are appointed by leadership and aren’t handed out every year. We have around 60 students, and we’ve never had problems filling those five elected roles.

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Could you go in depth on what the responsibility of each role is if you are able to ?

Here’s a brief description. I can try to go more in-depth, but a lot of the specifics change year-to-year. We aren’t a very rigidly structured team.

Team President:
Largely a logistics and communication role, has the final say in major team decisions. Leads the team by example, and sets the standards for behavior for 2102 students to emulate.

Engineering President:
In charge of anything “robot related.” Makes the final decisions on what the robot will look like, and assigns design and manufacturing tasks to team members. Also oversees the drive team.

Marketing President:
In charge of anything to do with team image and branding. This covers shirts & merchandise, social media presence, and communication with sponsors and supporters.

Outreach President:
In charge of our interaction with the greater community. Any official team interaction with other FIRST teams happens through Outreach, and any 2102 presence at local events is their responsibility too. They also run our FLL mentoring program and the FLL QT’s that we run.

Operations President:
In charge of the money, and oversees grant writing in conjunction with the Outreach president.

Our structure is similar with head of robot, head of communications, head of spirit, head of business, and head of strategy, but we have a team of 15 as opposed to 60 which makes it hard. I know last year two of our previous leaders ran unopposed, and no one ran for a certain position but someone was written in by like 5 different people so she ended up with the role. Having a 5 point leadership system is… interesting to say the least and I haven’t really seen any teams with something remotely similar so we’ll have to share notes at some point lol.

When you have 3 people doing all the work on the robot they all end up being the leaders.

For us: The mentors choose a student from the eligible pool for the team president (that would be incoming seniors only), and usually one for vice president. All other officers are chosen by the president and mentors from juniors and seniors to fill out the slate.

We have our mentor and outgoing senior leadership decide out of elegible students. (We don’t restrict by grade, our lead programmer, electrician, and one mechanical head were sophomores, our marketing head and other mechanical head were juniors)

Now that the season is over, I’m finally going to be able to work on analysis of the Team Capability Survey (thread). It’s still open if more teams want to answer.

Here’s the break down on selecting student leadership.

leadership

NOTE: The Mentor Appointed (second listing) is an invisible wedge between 12.3% and 28.9%. I edited the text after first team had entered their survey.