One Thing Series: Being a Present Leader w/ Jon Rennie — #onethingseries

One Thing Series: Being a Present Leader w/ Jon Rennie — #onethingseries

Man the ship and bring her to life. ~ First traditional order as an active unit in the Navy

Jon Rennie is a Business Leader, Author, and Speaker. He is Co-Founder, President, and CEO of Peak Demand Inc., a global manufacturer of products for electric utilities. 

He served as a Naval Officer on Nuclear Submarines during the Cold War and has been leading industrial businesses for more than 20 years. 

He is passionate about leadership and employee engagement. His articles and blog posts have been read and shared all over the world. He believes that Leadership can make a significant difference in the performance of any organization.

His latest leadership book, I Have the Watch: Becoming a Leader Worth Following is an Amazon bestseller.

Key Thoughts from the Interview:

  • Jon provides incredible insight into how the absentee boss leads from their comfort zone. 
  • When asked who he follows to learn and grow, Jon didn’t hesitate to acknowledge the impactful work of Coach Bru
  • You have to hear why he gets up at 4:00AM every day. 
  • Jon describes how a ship is nothing more than cold metal in a harbor and that it’s the crew who brings a ship to life. Listen for what he wants to continue to do and how he wants to grow.
  • Don’t miss what she says about his Dashboard University.
  • Lastly, Jon covers some of his fascinating life story; he reveals, in the end, that leaders don’t have to know all the answers. 

Jon’s interview is packed full of practical ways to become a more present leader. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did! 

Please follow, like, and comment. Use #onethingseries and #SH302 so that we can find you. For more great leadership content, follow

Joe & T.J.

Three Surefire Ways to Grow Every Day – Infographic

Three Surefire Ways to Grow Every Day – Infographic

As we conclude our month-long series in Self-Improvement, we’ve put together this infographic to visually sum up what we’ve learned. To download this infographic, simply click the button below and then right click to save the image.. Please share this page with others who will benefit.


Review and Reflect: Make Self-Improvement a Reality #reviewandreflect

Review and Reflect: Make Self-Improvement a Reality #reviewandreflect

This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #reviewandreflect, wrapping up our focus on getting better

Major Takeaway for this Month:

If you want to improve any area of your life, you must be clear on what you want to improve and have a solid plan to follow. Don’t over complicate this process; the strategy that Ben Franklin used to develop his virtues was simple. Here’s the formula: 

  1. He identified 13 Virtues (areas he wanted to perfect). 
  2. He focused on 1 per week for 52 weeks, and he kept a brief method to chart his progress.
  3. He followed his plan. 52 divided by 13 = 4. By following this method, Ben would focus on 1 virtue for an entire month by the end of the year.

Let’s first acknowledge that Ben was incredibly gifted. But, let’s not assume that he didn’t work hard. Don’t chalk-up his achievements to natural talent. It is clear that his self-improvement was a lifelong pursuit. 

What we asked of you to do this month was to choose 1 viritue that you want to improve and get after it. We also asked that you keep a journal to define your purpose–your why!

Three Minute Challenges

Throughout the month we offered 3 Minute Challenges. Identifying a goal is critical, but it’s only valuable if it is supported with decisive action. 

How well did you do on the challenges this month?

Choosing One Virtue

I identified one key virtue that I will continually strive to master.

I took an action step to begin working on improving in this identified area.


I identified a specific space for me to journal each morning and night.

I started journaling each day.

Defining Your Why

I dentified the three or four most important things in my life. 

I reflected on my daily activities to determine alignment between my actions and my WHY?

Great Leaders Are Avid Readers

One of the most powerful ways to fuel your thinking is to be a voracious reader. Below are the three must reads that we featured this month.  


What an expert has to say about self-improvement.

We were thrilled to interview Bob Burg this month. Here’s the bottom line: put others first. Too often we associate growth with focusing on ourselves, but explosive growth occurs when we focus on giving ourselves to others. 

That’s our Review and Reflection on self-improvement. 

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. 

Self-Improvement Requires a Rationale for Your Personal WHY — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Self-Improvement Requires a Rationale for Your Personal WHY — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge


The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. ~ Mark Twain


Sandra is considered “successful” by her peers and colleagues. Admired by many. She often hears phrases like, “I don’t know how you do it.” Or “You always seem to have it together.” Professionally, she is an executive vice president, and was recently recognized by the local rotary for her civic contributions. And, to top it off, people love her.


Personally, Sandra is married with three kids, and by all accounts, everything is going well. She still makes it to her kids’ games, cooks dinner occasionally, and even organized the last lacrosse post-game barbecue.


However, despite her achievements, she’s conflicted internally about her own personal mission and finding time to balance work- and home-life. There’s a level of personal fulfillment missing, and she just isn’t satisfied with all of her accomplishments. It’s hard for her to truly grasp what it is that gnaws at her, and even harder for her to admit it to herself or others, knowing that she is so fortunate for the wonderful life she is living.



Sandra’s story is quite common. We hear time-and-time again from people, executive level folks, who seem to have it all figured out, only to learn that they are struggling in some aspect of their growth or contribution. One important way to grow as an individual is by creating greater peace and harmony in our lives by examining the values and virtues that mean something to us. To gain insight and clarity regarding our personal WHY, we need to define our rationale for the self-improvement goals we identify. Once our WHY is clear so will be our priorities, which guide our daily choices. Sandra knows that something is missing, but she hasn’t linked it to values, priorities, and choices. Life is complex and we must have the courage to explore our thoughts to be able to expand our influence. The challenge is to land on values, set your priorities, and make choices that get you closer to your goals.


Landing on Values

  1. Identify the three or four most important things in your life. As we all face COVID-19 and witness the devastating impact of this pandemic, we are forced to figure out what really matters. These should be three or four clearly identifiable aspects of life that you care about more. We typically see family as one of these

Values Determine Priorities

       2. Once you identify those things that are really important in your life, take a look back at your last few months. Does your checkbook reflect your values? Do your daily activities reflect how much your family means to you, for example? If your job demands that you work a tremendous number of hours, do you communicate to your kids the reasons why you are so committed? Our money, our calendars, and our communication are all examples of what we have prioritized.


Priorities Inform Choices

      3. Once you are clear on our priorities, you can create a rationale for why they are so important to you or what you want to change to reach your goals. If there is an area that isn’t aligned, what steps can you take to create greater alignment? Your rationale helps to keep you on track in your journaling and your efforts to reach your goals.

Living you Why


GoalValuesPrioritiesChoiceAlignmentNext Steps
To be more compassionate as a leaderTo demonstrate compassion in all areas of lifeWork with youth who are less fortunateVolunteer at the Boys and Girls Club on weekendsYes, volunteered for two weekends for a total of 4 hoursLook into becoming a Big Brother


Technical Tip: We are grateful for thoughtful modern day thinkers like Simon Sinek who have led the charge to defining our Why. There are others as well, from Steven Covey to Paulo Coelho, who provide remarkable and differing ways for us to gain clarity on our purpose. The technical tip is to read books like Start with Why to become “expert” in defining your rationale for leading better and growing faster. The better you can explain your rationale to yourself and others, the stronger you get at feeling the sense of accomplishment that Sandra needs in her life because of her priorities and choices.


Reach out and share your WHY with us.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following It’s our job to curate, synthesize, and communicate so that you can lead better and grow faster. In a world plagued by nothing but noise, we help you by getting to simple.

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

Joe & T.J.



Five Important Aspects of Social Distancing and Staying Sane for Leaders — #SH302

Five Important Aspects of Social Distancing and Staying Sane for Leaders — #SH302

Special COVID-19 Post

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” ~ Bob Marley  

These are incredibly challenging times, filled with uncertainty. As COVID-19 continues to spread, the world continues to respond. We know that you’re responding too, in whatever unique circumstances are forming around you. Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone during this pandemic.

This month, we’re focused on self-improvement, and the coronavirus almost makes it impossible to ignore what it means for all of us to get better. As we learn and grow, we build trust. Trust makes our communities stronger. The definition of leadership is influence. The challenge of leadership is conflict. The result of leadership is change. We know that you’re leading through conflict toward a time that will be different than what we used to know as our reality.

As you lead forward, we thought it would be beneficial to point to some key resources for being our best selves during the outbreak. While many of us are following the advice of the CDC, and other agencies, who suggest social distancing as a mitigation strategy for the spreading of the virus, we know that leaders are taking action as best they can with whatever information they have. Leading better and growing faster is always our mantra, especially in times like this, and being informed is the number one way we lead and grow. This post is not just more information about COVID-19, but rather the critical direction that we all need for how to bring some normalcy and peace into our lives, how to continue to learn and develop as leaders, and how we can be better tomorrow than we are today. 

Strategies For Remaining Calm

Martin Seligman, commonly known as the founder of positive psychology, provides key strategies that we can use when faced with uncertainty. His advice is simple and practical. 

Check it out here in Penn Today. Great leaders will use these strategies and help others to do the same. 

Exercising Without Going to the Gym

With social gatherings being limited, people are unable to go to some of their favorite locations. This includes the gym. Maintaining a solid health regimen is critical during this time for both mental and physical health benefits. Self-improvement always includes the body and the mind.

Check out this article from Runner’s World.

Check out this article for no equipment indoor exercises.

Staying fit is important for leading well. In fact, wellness, period, is synonymous with leadership. 

Unplugging While You’re Plugged-In

We know that most of our audience is just like we are, which means you’ve been burning the candle at both ends. You’re probably inundated with texts, emails, and online meetings. Social distancing has put everything and everyone is a tech-based cloud (pun intended). That said, we need a healthy relationship with our technology, using it for the betterment of ourselves and others rather than its destructive capabilities. 

Check out this piece on realistic guidance for getting unplugged. 

Connecting with Your Loved Ones

It may seem obvious but when we’re all stuck inside we have an opportunity to connect with loved ones, especially our household family. But then we don’t. We squander the time away, keeping busy but not connecting. We have an opportunity to strengthen relationships, and great leaders always make that a priority (both with family and friends).

This article has a ton of great advice about staying social in times like this. 

Working from Home 

Companies everywhere, along with school systems around the globe, are moving to a work-from-home policy. While it’s the smart choice when possible, not everyone knows how to transition successfully to working at home. If you’ve done it for any period of time in the past, you know how hard it can be. But many industries, including education, are just starting to explore how to make the shift. 

We like this article, which covers a number of best practices for working from home. 

Finally, if you’re looking for what we think is the best resource regarding COVID-19, visit here.

We would love to hear from you regarding what you’re doing differently to self-improve while you keep your distance from others. Lead better, grow faster, stay safe. 

Joe & T.J.

Improve Your Life Through Journaling  — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Improve Your Life Through Journaling — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. ~ Anne Frank

There is power in the written word, especially when those words are your own thoughts, ideas, dreams, and even fears. Simply put, writing is a superfood to feed your thinking. Journaling is to self-improvement as salmon is to healthy living. Salmon is filled with incredible nutrients with tons of known health benefits, from fighting clogged arteries to staving off cancer. Journaling, in the same manner, nourishes the mind and the soul by unlocking thoughts and feelings that can be bottled up.  

One of the great benefits of journaling is that it unveils your true identity (even to yourself). Quality journaling demands introspection, and as we reflect and organize our ideas, powerful thoughts about ourselves emerge. The critical question: Are you ready to learn about yourself in order to reach new and greater heights? In what is referred to as “a pocket companion for thoughtful people,” James Allen’s short and insightful book, As a Man Thinketh, claims that our actions and habits are manifestations of our thoughts. 

If we desire to grow, we must be willing to confront our thinking. By understanding our thoughts, we begin to uncover how we see the world. Are we positive, courageous, and forgiving or are we frustrated, selfish, and judgmental? Sitting down for a few minutes each day to write will begin a process, which allows us to reflect about how we really see the world and our place in it. Our perspective shapes our mindset, attitude, and performance. It feeds how we think and how we change to improve over time. Take the challenge. 

Take time this week and begin journaling. Get a notebook, put the date at the top, and simply begin to write what you are thinking and feeling. The brain is a powerful machine, so generating new thoughts isn’t typically an issue; the issue is usually the fear we hold in connecting with our thoughts and making sense of them as they meander through our mind. We often judge ourselves quickly, and, at times, unforgivingly. We must squelch fear to make meaning and the subsequent improvements to our lives: 

  1. Take time to identify a specific space where you will do your journaling. Please don’t overlook this step. Creating a space for thinking and writing is powerful. By choosing a singular spot at home and work, you create a level of importance that identifies the function and capacity of this particular space.
  2. Write twice a day, 2 to 5 minutes each time. In the morning, think about what a great day would look like and how you can accomplish what you want. Write it down. In the evening, reflect on your day. In education, we often use the words, I Notice and I Wonder during classroom visits to capture thoughts. These four words are great stems to help you start writing. I noticed today that… I wonder how… and so on.
  3. Don’t censor yourself. Too often we block ourselves from writing about a characteristic or quality that we want to achieve but we lack confidence in our ability to go for it. Fight the urge to curtail your thoughts. The first step to having more courage is in displaying it to ourselves. Remember, this is about self-improvement in the category you choose for this month. Take the challenge; see the results. 

Technical Tip: Journaling can be overwhelming and daunting at first. If you want to take some of the mystery out of getting started, check out The Five-Minute Journal for a structure that works. What we love about this journal is that you have to identify one thing every day that you are truly grateful for in your life. It sets the tone for the day by instilling positive emotions and feelings, which is a nice first step toward reaching your goals.

Let us know what you think of this #SH302 post with a like, a follow, or a comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And, again, 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.