#5thSunday: Year-End Reflection Infographic–R.E.F.L.E.C.T.

#5thSunday: Year-End Reflection Infographic–R.E.F.L.E.C.T.

Every month at TheSchoolHouse302, you get a blog post with a leadership development model, a podcast with a leading expert, a “read this” with three book selections, and a review and reflection tool–all on a particular topic of leadership to help you lead better and grow faster. Posts are always blasted out on Sundays so that leaders can think and prepare for the week ahead. In months when we have 5 Sundays, we also provide an infographic to help visualize and solidify the concept. This month, as we end our year, we want to R.E.F.L.E.C.T. on several powerful concepts to propel our success into the future of 2019. We hope you enjoy and Happy New Year. R.E.F.L.E.C.T._Infographic As always, please like, follow, and comment. If you have topics of interest, guests you want us to interview, or books that we should read and recommend, please let us know that as well. Joe & T.J.
#review&reflect: Making Connections and Networking for Leaders

#review&reflect: Making Connections and Networking for Leaders

A Model for Networking

This is TheSchoolHouse302 monthly #review&reflect, wrapping up our focus on Connecting with Others to Grow Your Network for continued and greater success.

Skills I need…

Our world grows and is enriched when we connect with other people. The question is, how well do you connect with others to grow yourself and your organization?

Review: This month we focused on connecting with others to specifically grow your network. To do so effectively, we introduced our three-part model, PRC, to illustrate simple, easy, and effective ways to connect with other people. The first part of the model simply states: Plan.

Plantake time to think about who the people are before you decide to reach out.

This list of people you identify to reach out to should coincide with your needs and the needs of your organization. Who you want to reach out to and why you need to connect are critical to consider in making the connection meaningful and worthwhile. We view networking and connection as a way to add value for you and your organization. Whether the benefit is information or specific goods and services, the goal is to grow your network intentionally. Recently, at the 2018 Visible Learning Conference, we had the distinct please of meeting several educators who are achieving wonderful things as speakers and writers. Conferences are a great place for connecting, not only to attend great sessions to learn, but also to meet people who can contribute in some way to you and your work. Knowing the who of your next connection is important but knowing the where and when is imperative as well. That brings us to the next step in the model, which is to Reach Out.

Reach Outbe sure to capitalize on your network by reaching out to others.

Reaching out is the next step and requires action. Once you have the list, be sure to contact the individuals. We’ve found that people are incredibly receptive and willing to connect with others. Most leaders intuitively understand the genuine benefit of strong networks. This is very obvious with social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn where you can connect with people from around the world to share ideas and grow. However, don’t just think about people you don’t know, there are a lot of people from your past and individuals with only a degree of separation between you and them who you can reach out to and connect with. The last part of the model is to actually connect.

Connectuse emotional intelligence to truly connect with yourself and other people.

Connection goes beyond just reaching out and making contact, it delves into the social and emotional side of connecting with others on a different level. Networking allows us to meet so many unique people from varied walks of life who can bring a fullness and understanding to ourselves, to others, and to unique situations we face. Growing your network expands your universe, which broadens perspectives and creates opportunities. In this regard, we think of our network as energy. The bigger the network, the more energy it produces.

The model is straightforward, and, most importantly, it includes a specific call-to-action to bridge worlds. It recognizes the importance of making connections to network–the work behind the curtain of goal setting and goal getting.  

Making Connections

Reflect: Each aspect of the model is critical for overall success and maximum effectiveness. While reviewing and considering each, determine which one you need to focus on to grow your network? For example, you may easily meet individuals, create an immediate connection, but fail to grow the relationship in a beneficial way after that. Each part of the model empowers you to connect and grow with others. We heard from Dr. Mark Brainard on the importance of connection for service-based industries. As the president of Delaware Technical Community College, it is imperative that he meets the needs of multiple stakeholders with the ultimate goal of benefiting the entire community and state through an educated and productive workforce. He reminds us that networking provides insight into every facet of the organization. He emphasized the need to connect with people within the organization and not just outside the company.

As a leader, are you aware of the people who you need to connect with to help you and your organization grow?

How do I learn those skills…

What should I read to continually learn and grow if I want to make new connection and grow my network?

Review: In our #readthisseries we featured the work of authors who embody what it means to make the connections necessary to be an effective leader:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Everybody Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently by John Maxwell

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

You can’t miss our #readthisseries on making connections and networking as the lead learner in your organization. Watch it again here.

Reflect: Do I have a firm grasp on what my organization needs? Do I have clarity around who I want to contact and why? How well do I build relationships? Of the three parts of the model, which one do I need to start today to be more connected? Do I have people in my past who I can reach out to with an intention to reignite a once thriving relationship?

Great leaders understand the power of networking and the immediate impact someone else can have on them. Making time within their day or week to evaluate how someone else can positively impact themselves and their work is a critical first step in acknowledging the power of networking. This month, reflect on how well you build your network. Is this something you actively do? Based on the 3-part model, and using a 5-point scale, 1 being ineffective and 5 being highly effective, rate yourself and your team:


Who should I follow…

What does an expert have to say about networking and connecting with others?

Review: For our #onethingseries, we interviewed Dr. Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical and Community College.

Throughout the interview, Dr. Brainard emphasized how leaders must connect with individuals within the organization and learn from every person in every position. He emphasized how leaders are made when no one is watching and the power of emotional intelligence. His thoughts on networking genuinely represent his desire, as President of Del Tech, to provide an incredible education for his students and to ultimately serve the community.

Reflect: Dr. Brainard reminds us of the power of connecting with every person and seeing relationships through a whole new lens, something that benefits everyone.

As a leader, how well do you connect with others and foster positive relationships among those in your organization to create positive results and outcomes?

The definition of leadership is influence, and by making connections, you can expand your influence. By expanding your influence, you can be helpful to more people, and that’s one of the most important characteristics of any great leader–the desire to help others.

That’s our #review&reflect for making connections and networking. Take a look back to take a step forward.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple and maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Please let us know how our leadership posts are working for you, what you are reading to improve yourself, and your thoughts on leadership and growth here on our blog and Twitter. Follow our #onethingseries podcast on iTunes and our #readthisseries on YouTube.

Joe & T.J.

#readthisseries: Making Connections & Networking

#readthisseries: Making Connections & Networking


Don’t miss this vblog on books you need to read to lead better and grow faster. We recommend three titles that are must-reads on the topic of making connections and networking. You can find our catalog of great leadership books at theschoolhouse302.com — click on #readthisseries.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5yq_4wnV8o&w=560&h=315]

Carnegie, D. (1998). How to win friends and influence people. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Kelly, K. (2016). The inevitable: Understanding the 12 technological forces that will shape our future. New York: Penguin Books.

Maxwell, J. (2010). Everyone communicates, few connect: What the most effective people do differently. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

As always, please like, follow, and comment. If you have books that we should read and recommend, please let us know that as well.

Joe & T.J.

#onethingseries: Making Better Connections w/ President Mark Brainard (@DrMarkBrainard)

#onethingseries: Making Better Connections w/ President Mark Brainard (@DrMarkBrainard)

Mark Brainard

Don’t miss this fantastic leadership interview with Dr. Mark Brainard, @DrMarkBrainard, the fifth president of Delaware Technical Community College.  Dr. Brainard has a wealth of leadership experience in a variety of capacities. He spent over three decades in a series of executive-level leadership roles in the higher education, business, government, and legislative arenas in Delaware. He has served as chief of staff for the House Minority Caucus in the Delaware State Legislature, Director of External Affairs at DelDOT, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs at Delaware Tech, Executive Vice President of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, and Chief of Staff for Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner. His experiences and genuine belief in providing a first class education that meets the needs of students and the community is evident throughout this podcast.

  • Listen to what Mark says about how Del Tech has evolved through their efforts to truly listen to their community–businesses and students–to not only attract and prepare learners, but to ensure that they fully meet the needs of the future.
  • Even as president of the college, Mark emphasized how critical it is  to learn from people in every position in the organization. He stated, “leaders are made when no one is looking.” The organization is not one person, it’s everyone.
  • Mark reinforced that our peak performance comes from exercising regularly, especially in positions that don’t require a lot of physical activity. Major takeaway–don’t miss it.
  • In light of his successes and various positions held, he stressed a true desire to learn current and cutting edge technology that is changing the way we live.
  • Mark attributes much of his success in life to reading, a huge part of his ongoing development as a learner and leader. He reminded of us of the power in having an E.Q. along with an I.Q. Be sure to check out Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence as well as Robert Cooper and Ayman Sawaf’s Executive E.Q.
  • Finally, you have to hear what he says about how we are programmed to deal with situations and life and the mistake we may be making along the way.

Dr. Brainard’s interview is jam packed with practical advice for leaders, and it’s a must for anyone leading an organization who is service-oriented and constantly evolving to meet the demands of those who they serve. Of particular interest is his focus on making connections, networking, and finding the right people to take the next steps for the organization to stay healthy.

Please follow, like, and comment. Use #onethingseries and #SH302 so that we can find you.

Joe & T.J.

#SH302: Making Connections–PRC is a Model for Building Your Network in Business and Life

#SH302: Making Connections–PRC is a Model for Building Your Network in Business and Life

Making Connections

Brooklyn is where I primarily developed. I had an opportunity to make records and perform here and there, and I started networking with the right people in the right places. ~ Busta Rhymes

Think outside the box is a common, if not overused, phrase, intended to encourage creativity and innovation. Although the notion is well-meaning, we contend that, at times, in order to think outside the box, you have to think outside yourself and network with colleagues and friends to make unprecedented gains. The greatest leaders and thinkers of all time were well connected individuals who knew the power of relationships for making positive changes in the world. The concept of networking is sometimes looked at through through a skeptical lens as something fake or even sleazy–a tacky way to get something from other people. But great leaders see the power of connection and look beyond the suspiciousness of any desire to connect with new people. They associate the act of connecting with a simple exchange of information and ideas among like-minded people who share a common interest in business and life. Relational leaders are always trying to build their personal and professional network because they know that the benefits outweigh the time it takes to get to know so many people at a deeply connected level.

“A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority” (Casciaro, Gino, & Kouchaki, 2016). Leaders who know how to make broad and deep connections with a diverse group of people have an advantage over those who keep a smaller network.

In fact, some studies have confirmed that success in a position actually depends on the person’s ability to connect with the right people within and outside the organization (Casciaro, Gino, & Kouchaki, 2016). This means that if you can’t connect with people, you’re likely to suffer from the onset of slow, stalled, or insignificant impact. If you’re reading this blog, working to lead better and grow faster, that’s not what you want. The good news is that we never introduce topics that you can’t get better at with simple steps.

Leaders can learn how to network, how to make connections with the right people, and how to do so even better, faster, and with more efficacy. Check out our three-part model that we use for making strong connections for leadership growth and business development: Plan, Reach Out, Connect (PRC).

Plantake time to think about who the people are before you decide to reach out.

The first step in our model for making connections is to take an inventory of the people you know who can help with the current project you’re managing and make a list of them. This combines two things that we love at TheSchoolHouse302: planning and making lists. Both are among the most effective tools that leaders have at their fingertips, but, unfortunately, these tools aren’t used often enough. And they’re the simplest tools we know of–taking time to plan and listing people or objectives. (Note: We delineate between lists of moving parts and to-do lists, and we advocate for the former).

Who are the most important people to help with the current demands?

This list of individuals should include people who you know directly or you have just a couple of degrees of separation from. A friend of a friend is a powerful way to grow your network and avoid some of the awkwardness typically associated with a brand new introduction. This is also a great way to tap into the expertise of an acquaintance who may work in a different industry. When we heard from Ted Fujimoto, this was one of his personal leadership development strategies–connecting with people in industries different than his.

Who do you need to support the vision and goals to move the work forward?

This thought process of identifying people beyond your common list of co-workers and friends is designed to give you additional perspective. For example, when we wanted to learn different ways to manage beyond the traditional educational way, we called on a dear friend who is a six-sigma black belt to help introduce us to another world of management. The point is that your vision and goals can be supported by advice from your network, and the voices you hear from don’t have to be in your field–they can be far from it. In fact, the more diversity you have on your panel of advisers the better, which is why being connected makes sense for leaders who want to move the work forward.

Technical Tip and Easy Next Step: David Burkus, author of Friend of a Friend, tells his readers that you don’t necessarily need to connect with new people. You can reconnect with old friends or think differently about the value of the connections you already have. As you think about the important people you need in your life to support your vision, try connecting with a “dormant” or weak relationship that you already have (Burkus, 2018). Connect with that person, which is easier than making a brand new connection, and set up a time to talk.

Reach Outbe sure to capitalize on your network by reaching out to others.

Reaching out is a mindset that actually requires a level of humility and respect. In essence, reaching out sends the message that you need others, value their input, and desire their perspective. Once you’ve identified a few people to connect with, simply contact them and be specific with what you need or want. We’ve found that most people love to share their knowledge and experiences.

How do you connect with people you know and don’t know to build the relationships you need?

Once you have an open mind toward connecting with others, your connection antenna will always be up and sensitive to potential relationships. This level of sensitivity will make it very easy for you to reach out and seek advice. One powerful way to connect is by leveraging online networking sites that are designed to connect people. Consider how Twitter has evolved into a powerful networking tool for a variety of industries. Many educators have powerfully leveraged Twitter to learn and grow from other educators from around the globe.

How do you leverage access to others in a connection economy?

The term connection economy is often attributed to Seth Godin and simply means that value is created through meaningful connections. This is incredibly powerful when we consider social media and the ability to connect with people online in a variety of different ways and through different platforms. Social and business networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, are powerful ways to connect with a host of people from around the world.

Technical Tip and Easy Next Step: Evan Baehr, coauthor of Get Backed, says that if you’re interest is in raising capital, establish a trusting relationship first–raise the relationship, then the money. And, if your desire is to get funded, ask for advice rather than cash. As you think about reaching out to make your next connection, for funding or not, don’t just think about who you want to add to your network but rather who you already know who might introduce you to someone new. “Trust is often translated across common friends” (Baehr, 2016). An easy next step is to reach out to someone who can reach out to someone with whom you wish to make a connection. Build the bridge first, make the connection, and ask for advice.

Connectuse emotional intelligence to truly connect with yourself and other people.

Simply put, leaders who know how to manage their emotions and the emotional reactions of others are more effective and better at reaching the goals of the organization (Boyatzis & McKee, 2005). It’s a critical leadership competency that leaders are aware of their own emotional needs and expressions as well as the needs and expressions of the team. Leaders who know how to be sensitive while pushing the team toward a goal are always more successful than those who care only about the goal and forget about the people.

Why is emotional intelligence an important leadership characteristic?

Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee (2013) claim that the major difference between leaders who care only about winning and leaders who truly connect with people is whether or not they poses dissonant versus resonant leadership qualities. Dissonant leaders are insensitive while resonant leaders are attuned to the feelings and emotions of the people. The difference in outcomes in terms of organizational objectives and success is that the dissonant leadership style leads to poor performance and the resonant leader garners achievement through positive interactions with others.

Why should leaders use emotional intelligence to connect with themselves and others?

Goleman (2005) found that the emotionally intelligent leader knows their own emotional state, manages their emotions and the emotions of others, and handles relationships in a positive way. Using this type of intelligence to connect with yourself and your team of people builds trust and improves relationships through empathy. Leaders have to know their people to make gains and to tap into the specific skills that each individual can bring to the table when the team is at its peak emotional, social, and physical health. The best leaders take care of their people so that the people can take care of the organization.

Technical Tip and Easy Next Step: The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned and improved. Once thought to be fixed, most intellectual constructs–smarts, social skills, self-efficacy, etc–can be developed through learning and growth opportunities. To improve your emotional intelligence, read more about it. Susan David, author of Emotional Agility, says that you need to understand as much as you can about emotional intelligence to be better at it, including three very specific technical improvements that anyone can make: 1. Improve your emotional vocabulary, 2. Define the intensity of your emotions, and 3. Write them down. Start today with an easy next step. Pick up a recently released book, maybe Emotional Agility or Emotional Intelligence 2.0, to increase your ability to describe your emotional state and that of others. Then, journal about your daily experiences with the ups and downs that we all experience and have to manage at work regarding our team. This will allow you to solidify the new and improved relationships you’re establishing as your plan to make connections and reach out to build your network.

The final word on making connections is that the relationships you’re building are not just for your own support but also so that you can have the impact and reach that you desire as a leader. Heed the advice from the Dale Carnegie Training institute:

Meet new people–meet as many of them as you can. Don’t be judgmental about it. Don’t find a way to cancel a lunch with a friend of a friend just because you don’t see how that person can be of help to you. On the contrary, that’s a good reason for going through with the meeting. You don’t see how people can help you, but after you meet them, your eyes might be opened. Or maybe they can’t help you now, but when conditions change, that fact might change, too. Finally, there’s always the possibility that a class act such as you might be able to help them. (2011)

The definition of leadership is influence, and by making connections, you can expand your influence. By expanding your influence, you can be helpful to more people, and that’s one of the most important characteristics of any great leader–the desire to help others.

That’s TheSchoolHouse302 model for making connections, which is a clear way to help you lead better and grow faster. We hope that you use our technical tips and take the easy next steps in your life and work so that your relationships are strong and you’re moving quickly toward your goals. If you want more support with learning how to network for better connections for yourself or the leaders in your organization, don’t hesitate to contact us, we can help.

Let us know what you think of this #SH302 post with a like, follow, or comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And if you want one simple model for leading better and growing faster per month, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.


Baehr, E. (2016). Startups need relationships before they ask for money. Harvard Business Review.

Boyatzis, R. & McKee, A. (2005).. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Burkus, D. (2018). Making time for networking as a working parent. Harvard Business Review.

Casciaro, T., Gino, F. & Kouchaki, M. (2016). Learn to love networking. Harvard Business Review.

Dale Carnegie Training. (2011). Make yourself unforgettable: How to become the person everyone remembers and no one can resist. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

David, S. (2016). Emotional agility: Get unstuck, embrace change, and thrive in life and work. New York: Random House.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York: Bantam Books.

Goleman, G., Boyatzis, R. & McKee A. (2013). Primal leadership, with a new preface by the authors: Unleashing the power of emotional intelligence. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.