Are these terms interchangeable? No, they are not.  Simply put, continuity is about the functions of surviving, and sustainability is about setting up your strategies to thrive.  In the hierarchy of needs for organization health, the means to survive must be met before tackling the goals of thriving. However, the core tools for success with both are the same: organization, planning and patience.

Organizational Continuity (Surviving)

the processes, procedures, decisions and activities to ensure that an organization can continue to function through an operational interruption’.

Organizational Sustainability (Thriving)

having the leadership, talent, global insights and flexible strategies necessary to rise to your unique challenges.

Building organized structure and processes with strategic planning, effective communication and gracious professionalism can first establish a basis team continuity and in the long run build a culture where your team can thrive.

People are fallible and fragile, so organizations need to be built to be flexible and resilient. If something happened to your lead mentor today could you travel to next week’s competition? Could you pay next season’s registration fees?  Could you open the doors of your build space? When your team community works together in concert with your goals, you survive the challenges and continue to grow.

Continuity Quick Check

Does more than one person have access to the team’s:

  • passwords
  • keys to the build space
  • legal capacity to move team monies for team expenses

If the answer to the above are all yes. Great!

If not… what steps need to be taken to ensure you team’s functions? Who are the core people your team relies on?  What partners need to be apart of decision-making?  What policies need to be considered?

Steps to Sustainability

This will be a long ongoing process.  Annual reviews or strategic planning meetings can help you to evaluate and reevaluate your progress and keep you on track. A little bit research planning and reaching out can help provide you with some additional possibilities.  How are other teams managing their processes?  Check team handbooks, talk to mentors of other teams and your FIRST regional Directors and Senior Mentors.

  • Look at other team’s handbooks and bylaws
  • Talk to your FIRST Regional Directors and Senior Mentors for tips
  • Take inventory of your resources.  Do you have a community partner, sponsor or even parent with experience in strategic planning?

Each step you take will bring you closer to a thriving team!

About the Author

Serving as a mentor since 2011, Elise Cronin-Hurley also served as a Team Lead of 4-H Exploding Bacon Robotics Team 1902 from 2016 - 2019.  She volunteers and judges at numerous FIRST events, on regional planning committees, with the FIRST Hall of Fame, and has conducted workshops on imagery, chairman's and team organization. By day she is a freelance web and graphic designer. Read More about Elise