Review and Reflect: Building Your Winning Team — #ReviewandReflect

Review and Reflect: Building Your Winning Team — #ReviewandReflect

This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #reviewandreflect, wrapping up our focus on Building A Winning Team

Major Takeaway for this Month:

Creating and sustaining a winning team of talented people is maybe the single most important task of a leader. To do so, requires executing three key elements incredibly well. Only doing one or two without the complement of the other will always limit your efforts. Similar to the mutualistic relationship that we find in nature between bees and flowers, branding, recruiting, and selecting all work together and are beneficial to one another. 

Breaking the Model Down

Branding refers to a schools ability to finding multiple avenues, using a variety of mediums, to tell their unique story to inform the community about greatness and achievement. 

Recruiting is the active pursuit of finding the most talented staff to become a part of a school’s dynamic team.

Selecting refers to unique and different ways to ensure that the prospective candidate is the best for the organization. 

So, what steps can you take today? 

This month we offered a 3-Minute Challenge to take the necessary action steps to build your winning team by telling your story.

Excellent schools capitalize on all three areas–branding, recruiting, and selecting–to build their winning team. Did you take the first step in branding by telling your story this month? Our BIG to-do this month was the 10-Day Challenge, which required you to Commit to a 10-day pursuit to telling your school’s story using social media. 

It only takes three minutes per day to Tweet, share a pic, or create a quick video. For 10 straight days, we asked that you commit to communicating something special about your school. Whether it’s preparing for the upcoming school year or celebrating recent graduates, you need to get your story told to change the narrative about what happens in great schools.

How well did you do on the challenge this month?

Read to Lead

3 Books You Need to Read to Brand Your School and Recruit Top Talent — #readthisseries 

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 building your winning team.

BrandED by Eric Sheninger & Trish Rubin 

The Power of Branding by Sony Sinanis & Joseph Sanfelippo

Building A Winning Team by Joseph Jones, Salome Thomas-EL, & T.J. Vari

What an expert has to say about telling your unique story to build an amazing school brand:

“In the absence of knowledge, people make it up.” Joe provides incredible insight on the power of branding and why schools need to embrace telling their story. Learn how Joe creates connections and forces engagement in different ways. Listen here

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.

Review and Reflect: Living and Leading with H.O.P.E. — #reviewandreflect

Review and Reflect: Living and Leading with H.O.P.E. — #reviewandreflect

Model for Living and Leading with H.O.P.E.

This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #reviewandreflect, wrapping up our focus on leading with H.O.P.E. 

Major Takeaway for this Month:

Hope is not a passive act of wishful thinking. There are tips, tools, and tactics that leaders use when people need hope. Let’s be clear, humans always need hope. Following the H.O.P.E. model below will help you to lead better with hope at the forefront.

Breaking the Model Down

Humor

Humor is medicinal. Laughing actually “reverses hormonal changes brought on by cortisol and other stress-related chemicals.” Your body can boost your mental state through increased endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine simply by listening to a fun story or telling a joke. Remember, this type of humor is for people to have an outlet to lighten the burden they feel, not to minimize or reduce the seriousness of the situation.

Optimism 

Optimism is a way of thinking. It doesn’t mean that you see everything through rose-colored glasses. It just means that you believe that taking action to make improvements is better than self-pity. An optimistic outlook actually helps with sleep, resilience, and even life expectancy. All things that people need in times of trouble. 

Positivity 

Needless to say, a positive mindset is a trait that great leaders possess. But imagine the immense benefits that come with this type of outlook–lower rates of depression, coping skills during hardships, cardiovascular health, and better psychological well-being. Wow. 

Energy 

Sometimes the worst part of a stressful situation is that it zaps all of our energy. The time in which you need to be at your best, you find yourself overly fatigued, unable to rest, and incredibly anxious. Worse yet, in order to be an effective leader who is able to find proper ways to instill a bit of humor, to remain genuinely positive, and to offer optimism for those you lead, you need to be in a resourceful state-of-mind, which requires an immense amount of energy. 

Humor, optimism, positivity, and energy are four aspects of hope that we all need these days. As leaders, especially in schools, we can serve people using a dose of each, remembering that it starts with remaining hopeful ourselves. 

So, what steps can you take today? 

Throughout the month we offered 3-Minute Challenges to take the necessary action steps to lead with hope. 

How well did you do on the challenges this month?

Humor

You don’t have to be a comedian or even a great joke teller to take the following three steps in using humor as a tool to create hope on your team. 

  1. Reflect: Think about the weight of the situation that you’re trying to lighten so that hope is in sight for your team. Allowing the heaviness to sink in provides the needed recognition regarding the weight that you want to lift. The burden of the pandemic is an example for educators who are working to plan what school will be in the fall. 
  2. Identify: Identify something humorous that you came across recently–this can be something that happened to you or that you did (even a silly mistake you made). Think about, for example, something funny that one of your kids said. “This 5th grade car parade is better than my graduation. All I got to do was sit on a stage in an itchy shirt and sing a song that I didn’t even like.” 
  3. Do: Tell the story at the start of a meeting or when the time seems right. Have others share a funny story as well. Be sensitive about the context of your humor, but note that humor heals and laughter lightens. 

How well do you infuse appropriate humor into your work culture?

Optimism

Optimism is something that conditioning so that we can better pivot from uncertainty and doubt to assuredness and hope. The following challenge is meant to help you become more optimistic in the midst of clouds and obstacles, even when they won’t go away. 

  1. Reflect: Think of a situation in which you were recently involved where you felt a lack of control or simply overwhelmed. We often experience these moments quickly, and they have the potential to hijack our entire emotional state. 
  2. Identify: What were the specific aspects of the situation that caused you the stress or anxiety? Take a step back and identify the bigger purpose behind why you engaged in those aspects in the first place. 
  3. Do: Next time you start to feel stressed, remember the overarching purpose or goal that you set as you dig into the weeds of the scenario. The minutiae is what bothers us but our why will always put things into perspective.

How well do you lead with an optimistic viewpoint?

Positivity and Energy

To lead at your best and grow in your role, you can’t just rely on your regular thinking; you must actually think about your thinking, putting metacognition at the forefront of everyday problem-solving scenarios. 

  1. Reflect: Think about the words you use when you talk to yourself during tough times. Are they negative or positive? Do you see opportunities or do you default to road blocks.
  2. Identify: Words are powerful. Make a list of the defeating words that you use when a problematic situation arises. Be mindful that we rarely recognize how often we engage in negative thinking. The slightest daily issue can cause negative self-talk. 
  3. Do: In a great article by Margaret Wehrenberg, she teaches us to use two powerful words: Until Now. For one day, evaluate your self-talk and when you find yourself engaging in defeating thoughts or negative self-talk, simply add, Until Now at the end of the sentence. I wasn’t able to… _______, until now.

How well do you lead with positivity?

How well do you lead with energy?

Read to Lead

3 Books You Need to Read to Provide More Hope for Yourself and Others — #readthisseries 

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 hope–providing hope for both yourself and the people you serve. 

How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell

Passionate Leadership by Salmoe Thomas-EL, Joseph Jones, & T.J. Vari 

Solid Ground by T.W. Lewis 

What an expert has to say about leading with hope:

We truly enjoyed having Tom on our onethingseries podcast. He provides incredible insight on how effective leaders don’t sidestep reality. His views on vision, trustworthiness, and compassion are powerful and can be used effectively through his simple steps. Tom also introduced us to a new concept he called “esteemable.” It’s a powerful way to view ourselves, others, and situations. Listen here for more.

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.

Optimism: The Second Key Ingredient of H.O.P.E. — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Optimism: The Second Key Ingredient of H.O.P.E. — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

In 1972, Johnny Nash, an American reggae singer-songwriter, brought to the world the incredible song, “I Can See Clearly Now.” The moving lyrics speak of hope and optimism. Amid our dark times, we must have the confidence that better days will prevail. As the lyrics state, sunshiny days are ahead:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone

I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Remaining optimistic during difficult times is no easy feat. It requires us to take a step back to see the big picture so that we can gain perspective on the areas of our life that we can control. Once we have a better grasp of the situation, and our role within it, we can begin to push forward and persevere. The power in Nash’s lyrics is that the obstacles are still present. They haven’t gone away; it’s only the fact that he knows what they are (he can see them) that allows him to overcome his obstacles. The dark clouds are blinding. 

Haven’t we all been in that situation? Where we lacked clarity, waned in our faith, and dipped in our optimism about the future. And then something changed, we saw the sun through the clouds, and we felt a hint of reassurance. 

Optimism is something that conditioning so that we can better pivot from uncertainty and doubt to assuredness and hope. The following challenge is meant to help you become more optimistic in the midst of clouds and obstacles, even when they won’t go away. 

  1. Reflect: Think of a situation in which you were recently involved where you felt a lack of control or simply overwhelmed. We often experience these moments quickly, and they have the potential to hijack our entire emotional state. 
  2. Identify: What were the specific aspects of the situation that caused you the stress or anxiety? Take a step back and identify the bigger purpose behind why you engaged in those aspects in the first place. 
  3. Do: Next time you start to feel stressed, remember the overarching purpose or goal that you set as you dig into the weeds of the scenario. The minutiae is what bothers us but our why will always put things into perspective. 

Pro Tip: Turn up the music. We are not all moved by the same songs or music genre; find the type that calms and relaxes you to discover the benefits of mood enhancing tunes. Studies show that music can have a powerful positive impact on us, including our hope and optimism. Just the right sound coming from your stereo, and you’ll be able to see the big picture in no time. 

Reach out and share your story with us.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following theschoolhouse302.com. 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.

Humor: A Key Ingredient of H.O.P.E — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Humor: A Key Ingredient of H.O.P.E — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease from pain. ~ Charlie Chaplin

How we look at life, our attitude and general outlook towards events, people, and situations, greatly affects how well we work through difficult times. Our disposition, our “natural tendency” and “state of mind” are vital to how well we effectively lead ourselves and navigate our organizations. One way to maintain perspective and lead with a positive disposition rests with our ability to laugh at ourselves despite how hard it may be and the vulnerable position you take when you do. 

Laughter not only heals and brings people together, laughing at ourselves is a unique way to not take ourselves so seriously. This helps us to maintain our focus on the real issue at hand and to separate ourselves from the situation. When done well, we become free from a great deal of our own insecurities and fears, both of which prevent us from being our best self when dealing with a difficult topic or concern. 

If you don’t feel like you’re a “funny person,” someone who can lighten the mood but also maintain a serious focus, you’re not alone. Too many leaders are caught up with being business-minded all or too much of the time. Take the following challenge to demonstrate your willingness to use humor, especially during dark moments and unsettling scenarios. 

You don’t have to be a comedian or even a great joke teller to take the following three steps in using humor as a tool to create hope on your team. 

  1. Reflect: Think about the weight of the situation that you’re trying to lighten so that hope is in sight for your team. Allowing the heaviness to sink in provides the needed recognition regarding the weight that you want to lift. The burden of the pandemic is an example for educators who are working to plan what school will be in the fall. 
  2. Identify: Identify something humorous that you came across recently–this can be something that happened to you or that you did (even a silly mistake you made). Think about, for example, something funny that one of your kids said. “This 5th grade car parade is better than my graduation. All I got to do was sit on a stage in an itchy shirt and sing a song that I didn’t even like.” 
  3. Do: Tell the story at the start of a meeting or when the time seems right. Have others share a funny story as well. Be sensitive about the context of your humor, but note that humor heals and laughter lightens. 

Pro Tip: Whenever times are tough–a serious situation arises or the work turns into a slog overnight–your team will likely get super focused on the in-the-moment tasks. Effective leaders know that the grind can be over-taxing. Ask each individual on your team if they were able to share a laugh with someone recently? Give them the opportunity to explain what was so funny to them and why. Understanding the sense of humor that each person on your team has gives you an advantage for using humor when the time is right. You know this to be true if you’ve ever said to a coworker or friend: “I know you’ll appreciate this…” or “…I thought you would find that funny.” It’s a reminder about the connection that we share with others. 

Reach out and share your story with us.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following theschoolhouse302.com. 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.

Review and Reflect: The Present Leader — #reviewandreflect

Review and Reflect: The Present Leader — #reviewandreflect

Model for the Present Leader

This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #reviewandreflect, wrapping up our focus on being a Present Leader

Major Takeaway for this Month:

We wanted to focus on presence this month since we are disconnected during COVID-19 in so many ways. Granted, you may be on calls and Zoom meetings all day long, but nothing truly replaces the human connection than in-person opportunities allow. 

Presence can be achieved in three predominant ways. One, Tune In. Present leaders notice things and they are very aware and sensitive to what’s occurring. Two, Presently Lead. We have to be in the moment, directly handling the tasks for the day. Three, Forecast the Future. Know what’s around the corner, which is referred to as perceptual acuity, puts present leaders in a position to make meaningful decisions by “seeing around corners.” One of the best ways to understand the future is to make decisions that put your vision into play.

Three Minute Challenges

Throughout the month we offered 3-Minute Challenges to develop the skills necessary to be more present as leaders. The desire to be more present and readily available for your team is one thing, but it’s only valuable if it is supported with decisive action. 

How well did you do on the challenges this month?

How well do you notice what is going on around you and within your organization?

How well do you lead in the present with a full understanding of the current circumstances?

How well do forecast the future by intimately understanding the present?

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Read to Lead

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

The Leadership Pill by Ken Blanchard & Marc Muchnick 

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

I Have the Watch by Jon Rennie 

What an expert has to say about leading in the present:

We were thrilled to interview Jon Rennie this month. Jon’s time as a Naval officer on Nuclear Submarines and experience within industry makes this interview incredible. Jon’s insight on being present and the damaging effects from the absentee leader make this a must-listen podcast. 

Jon described how a ship in the harbor is really nothing more than cold metal until the crew brings it to life. Present leaders do exactly that for their organization.

That’s our Review and Reflection on the Present Leader

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.