Effective Team Communication Experts: Andy Baker, FRC Team 3940 Mike Corsetto, FRC Team 1678 Hosted By: GameSense Effective Communication • • • • Team Building Communication Expectations Conflict Management Effective Drive Coach Communication Team Building: Goals • Get to know each other – Set aside Team Building activities can sometimes be the only way to get to know each other – Team meetings can often be too busy otherwise • Learn to work together – Depending on the activity, Team Building can also be geared towards learning to work together – Discover teammates personality types and communications styles • Develop a sense of belonging – Recognized or not, everyone has an innate desire to belong – To know and be known is powerful – Passion, dedication and productivity follow belonging Team Building: Best Practices • Prepare an Activity • Define team roles – Both student and mentor – Make sure everyone understands what is expected during Build Season Communication Expectations • Purpose: foundation for everything – Recruiting, design, finances, sponsorships, awards, negotiations, etc. Determining Expectations: Best Practices • Set Team Goals – Depend on them to help guide your team – Set competition goals and use them to focus team efforts • Have a Team Contract – For students and mentors Communications Methods: Written • Online (emails, social media, web presence, discussion board participation) • Letters • Press Releases • Presentation Materials Communications Methods: Verbal • • • • • Meeting leadership Making presentations Learning and mastering interview skills Negotiating with other teams “Selling” team to others Communications Methods: Non-Verbal • • • • Body Position Facial Expressions Focus Listening Ability Communication Tools • • • • Email Distribution List Group Texts Team Website Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Best Practices: Team Meetings • Hold weekly team meetings, some host throughout the year • Empower students to run meetings • Create agenda in advance • Send reminders for key meetings Communication at Build Season • Have daily quick build review • Use a common white board to allocate design topics: – – – – – Motor Put-Asides Overall Concept Sub-Team Goals Timelines or Gantt Charts Conflict Management • Every team will have “RoboDrama” – Be prepared! • Key Tools for Conflicts: – Well-defined team leadership and roles – Clear, accepted team goals – Open channels of communication for students, mentors, parents Mentors and Conflict • Train mentors: – – – – Accept diversity and differing opinions Watch for early signs of conflict Step in and assist difficult situations quickly Do not put yourself in compromising positions • Have mentor meetings • Recruit diverse mentors Working with Parents • Make team rules clear • Give clear expectations regarding fundraising and team finances • Make a clear and precise schedule • Assign support tasks Best Practices to Avoid Conflict • Provide equal opportunities to students – Recruit students that reflect the demographics in your school or area – Watch for any prejudices and correct bad behavior – Create environment for students of different backgrounds to build a relationship Best Practices to Avoid Conflict • Have clear processes to determine how students get select roles – Application process for roles (driver, operator, pit boss, etc.) – Voting for leadership positions (president, lead mechanic, etc.) – Entry and exit interviews Best Practices to Avoid Conflict • Have clear expectations regarding Team Confidentiality – Design – Game Play – Team Issues • Don’t air your team’s dirty laundry! • Don’t encourage or listen to rumors or hearsay If Conflict Occurs… • Involve team leadership immediately • Interview (isolate) involved parties • Determine short term solution that will not negatively impact the team • Inform parents and school administration • Determine a long-term solution Leadership Roles & Conflict • Make unified decisions – Follow team and school/organization rules • Be clear in communicating decisions – To involved parties – To team (when appropriate) Conflict with Other Teams • Outside an Event: – Contact FIRST Regional Director or District Leadership – Clearly define the issue – Be willing to discuss the issue with other team – Move on and forgive Conflict with Other Teams • At an Event: – Contact key volunteers and event leaders – Protect teammates, but expect them to be accountable – Don’t let this distract team from goals – Move on and forgive Drive Coach Communication • Goal: – Develop and execute an effective match strategy both on and off the field Before an Event • Good communication starts in the shop – Start Drive Team in the fall, or by the second week of Build Season at the latest – Learn to work together on projects – Time spent working as a team helps members to understand each other’s communication style Practice! Practice! Practice! • It’s not just learning how to drive the robot • Practice before Stop Build Day to test strategies • Ultimate Goal: Drive Team Cruise Control Coach Responsibilities at Practice • Establish strategy for team to practice and how it will be done • Stand behind Drivers and guide them through strategy • Debrief with Drive Team after each round Pre-Event Preparation • Watch broadcasts of other events with (at least) your Drive Team • Find a robot with similar design, evaluate strategy for qualification and elimination rounds • Develop Drive Team terminology to describe certain strategies you expect to use At Events • Develop relationships with other teams – Learn names • Ask questions about their robot • Watch them on the practice field Pre-Match Preparation • Develop “in-house” strategy – Select a strategy that is the best fit for the match – Process is easier the more you practice (remember: auto pilot!) – Use data from Scout Team • Have method of communication in place before event – Discuss the strategy you expect from the opposing alliance Working with Alliances • Hardest part of coaching: Alliance Strategy Discussion • Key: Be Cooperative Selecting Alliance Strategy 1. Ask what alliance teams want to do 2. Assess how their goals work with your “in-house” strategy 3. Present your strategy – Highlight how it incorporates each team’s goals and how it will win the match 4. 5. 6. 7. Allow strategy to take place with input from each team Discuss until are parties are comfortable with strategy Do a “once over” of strategy and confirm Shake hands and with teams Good Luck What NOT To Do • Do NOT dominate the discussion • Do NOT lie about your robot’s capabilities • Do NOT belittle other teams – Even when you think your robot is better • Do NOT break the rules- or the robots Drive Coach Best Practices • Right Before Match: – Communicate strategy with Drive Team – Review quickly with alliance members in queue line During the Match • Stay Calm – Calm does not mean passive – Stay in control of your words and actions • Watch the Field – Drivers are focused on robot – Have their next move ready when they finish a task • Watch the Clock – Critical role for coach – Execute key strategy at appropriate times During the Match • Communicate with Drivers – Method will vary based on Driver skill and game mechanics – Speak clearly and be intentional with words – Gets better with practice • Communicate with Other Teams – Work out cues before match – Verbal reminders are appropriate – If needed, explain mid-match strategy changes to other coaches After the Match • Thank & Congratulate EVERYONE – Handshakes and High-fives all around – Thank teammates and opponents • Debrief with Drive Team – What went wrong? – What went right? – How can we improve for next match? Effective Team Communication QUESTIONS?