Building Your Winning Team — #SH302

Building Your Winning Team — #SH302

Creating and sustaining a winning team of talented people is maybe the single most important task of a leader. But a winning team is not just about putting together a group of high performers. In fact, the problem is twofold: 1. Assembling a team of driven players doesn’t automatically create the chemistry that it takes to “win.” And, 2. Building a team is more about the current culture of your school or business than it is about pulling new people onto your staff. 

Consider the first problem. Having all the best players on one squad doesn’t mean that output will go through the roof. In fact, capacity is always more important than competence. You need people who can pivot–agility, adaptability, and the art of learning a new skill far exceed a narrow expertise. Dennis Rodman is considered one of the best rebounders that basketball has ever seen. But he was a leading scorer in college. On a team with shooters like Pippen and Jordan, Rodman found his niche. 

Let’s also consider the second problem. If your brand, your culture, and your casting net are weak, your team is not set up to win. To drive the point clearly, we bring forward the Google-culture that attracts talent from around the world. It’s their branding and the fact that their internal working benefits are as well known to the public as they are to their employees. 

That leads us to the three most important ways that you can build your winning team–the boosting and branding of your culture, the recruitment techniques that you use, and your selection process when you’re hiring. Let’s dive a bit deeper into each. 

Branding

The branding equation is simple: Story + Priorities = Attraction. In The Power of Branding, Sinanis and Sanfelippo address the importance for schools, or any organization, to tell their story. Too often, even the local community, and sometimes parents, don’t know all the great things that happen within a school. Even worse, when something unfortunate happens, that does get advertised. Schools with the best reputation earn that stature by systematically telling the story of every great moment, program, initiative, and circumstance. It’s why “priorities” is the second component of the equation. Telling a story about how priorities came to fruition builds the belief that the team is winning. In fact, it provides proof of the “scoreboard.” That is precisely what attracts outsiders to a brand so that the team gets stronger from the inside-out as well as from the outside-in. 

Recruiting 

Too often, recruitment strategies are passive. A vacancy pops open, the job is posted, and we wait to see what the application pool presents. But with tools as easy to use as Twitter or LinkedIn, it’s almost irresponsible to be less than actively recruiting for top talent, even targeting individuals with a proven track record. Especially if your brand is clear through the stories you tell about the priorities you’ve set and goals you’ve met, it should be fun to glamorize an opening on your team to attract the leading players in your field. 

Selecting 

Finally, organizations can’t leave the selection process to an interview alone. Interviews aren’t good measures of anything more than interviewing skills. That said, the key to a quality selection process, even an interview, is through the creation of what we call the archetype of the position. When you have a vacancy, you don’t just need a qualified person to join the team. You need specific traits, skills, experiences, and mindsets to fill your gap. Creating the archetype of the position means intentionally listing (and posting) what it is you’re looking to gain. Yes, you may need a certified social studies teacher, but what other gaps in experience and culture might this person fill? Don’t just consider the primary functions of the role, examine the other aspects of the team that the person is joining to ensure diversity and fit. 

Want to Know More? Check out Building a Winning Team. We dive deeper into branding, recruiting, selecting, and a ton of other content to help you create and sustain an awesome team of people. If you want the most successful team possible, you’ll enjoy the technical tips, strategies, and practitioner spotlights that are included in the book. Let us know what you think. We love to hear from you. 

Stay tuned for challenges, nuggets of wisdom, reflection questions, technical tips, and the best resources for leading better and growing faster. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of leaders who get our alerts, blogs, podcasts, and more.

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.
This blog post is sponsored by Principals’ Seminar. Many schools struggle as a new principal works through the learning curve, and our hearts break for new principals who are overwhelmed with information and noise, frustrated by not having the time to build relationships with staff and walking around in a constant state of fear that they are missing something. The Three in Three Principals’ Seminar is designed for new, existing, and aspiring principals and assistant principals who would like to gain 3 years of experience in 3 weeks, without the pain, risks, and time it would take otherwise. Follow the content at your own pace as you learn with others who are just like you. Click here for details. Register today to save.

Leading with H.O.P.E. — #SH302

Leading with H.O.P.E. — #SH302

Months ago we were faced with the fear and uncertainty of COVID-19, and we saw an opportunity to connect people in education who we know are doing powerful things for their students and staff. Amy Fast tweeted an inspiring quote about how leaders must provide hope in tough times, she told us that not only is hope a strategy, it’s the strategy. Amy couldn’t be more right about that. In fact, a Gallup survey confirms that the four most universal needs that people require from their leaders are trust, compassion, stability, and…hope.

Unfortunately today, we are not a society that has a ton of trust or stability. Many people are now feeling hopeless…not hopeful. The senseless and tragic murder of George Floyd and countless others has erupted our nation to once again cry out against racism and social injustice in America. We pray that compassion can guide our thoughts and our actions–that love is at the center of our hope so that we truly can build communities that accept what Dr. King said years ago: “No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” 

When we lack hope and we feel dissatisfied with our current state, it’s the leaders of the world who step up to provide a hopefulness for a better time to come. Although hope is a leadership quality, encompassing everything from renewing faith to instilling family values, you can’t simply hope for hope. 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. Encouragement that the future is bright is essential for staying healthy and strong, especially in terms of mental toughness. But, in uncertain times, tragic events, and moments of massive changes, people need hope more than ever. 

Following the model below will help you to lead better with hope at the forefront. If the people who rely on you for stability are feeling hurt and angry by recent events or anxious about what school might look like in the fall (or both), your job is to help with hope. Let us demonstrate what it means, why it’s critical for everyone on the team, and how you can make it a reality now. 

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. 

The problem is that during a crisis or low point it doesn’t seem like the appropriate time to have a laugh, but there are opportunities to take-heart and bring joy and laughter into your life no matter what. We’re not talking about making fun of the situation or trying to bring levity–that would be totally insensitive. We’re talking about ensuring that people have an outlet to lighten the burden they feel. When we inject humor in the right moment, we actually improve relationships and provide hope for a better tomorrow. 

Start with Yourself: Laughing at yourself, telling a funny story about something stupid you did recently, and allowing others to see the light side of you, brings humor into the equation without having to be a comedian. And, you don’t need to be funny all the time. The point is that the more serious things get, the more likely people need a dose of dopamine to calm them down. Leaders provide humor as hope. 

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. 

If you’re generally skeptical, assuming the worst in situations and people, you’ll need to work harder than a natural optimist. Remember, though, that optimism is a choice. Great leaders know that the key to a better future rests with what we do today. If you listen closely to a skeptic, they’re typically consumed by what they perceive is happening to them versus the things that they can control. 

Take a Step Back: Whenever you fall into the trap of skepticism, try looking at the big picture. And whenever one of the people you serve seems to be skeptical, help them to take a step back and examine the situation using a wider lens. Leaders create optimism as hope. 

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. 

In the peak intensity of a terrible scenario, being positive is almost impossible. But great leaders are able to find a sliver of positivity in every situation. The power in filtering out the negativity is so great that effective leaders know that there’s no more important space for positive thinking than when things seem bleak. 

Kind Self-Talk: Your ability to remain positive starts with how you talk to yourself. If you don’t treat yourself with kindness, you’ll struggle to love and respect the people you serve. Whenever a negative thought creeps into your mind, counter it with something that makes you feel good about your work, your life, and the people around you. And listen closely to how the people you serve seem to be talking to themselves. Leaders create hope by helping people to think with positivity in mind and spirit. 

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. 

To have energy requires effort. The decision to ensure that we have a sound mind, body, and spirit makes the difference between energy and exhaustion. We must have the courage to confront ourselves and our own behaviors in order to be fully prepared to handle and manage difficult situations. What we eat and drink impacts our mood and physical well-being; how we think dictates our outlook on life; and our belief in our purpose fuels our passion. 

Start Your Day Right: As tempting as it is, the last thing you should do when you roll out of bed is to grab your phone. FOMO is real and can truly start altering your behavior, guiding your decisions, and hijacking your day. Checking Twitter for the latest news or scanning email as soon as your feet hit the bedroom floor can derail any attempt to start your day off right. Mornings should be viewed as the opportunity to get yourself ready, in every meaningful way, to tackle the day ahead. A glass of water, a few minutes in a peaceful state with a devotional or meditation, and a nutritious breakfast are just three simple ways to maximize the potential to have the energy you need for the rest of the day. 

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. We hope that you’ll see hope as important as we do. 

Stay tuned for challenges, nuggets of wisdom, reflection questions, technical tips, and the best resources for leading better and growing faster. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of leaders who get our alerts, blogs, podcasts, and more.

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.

The Present Leader: Showing Up When It Matters Most — #SH302

The Present Leader: Showing Up When It Matters Most — #SH302

  • Photo Above: Cave Art, Bisons, Altamira, Spain. >40,000 yrs BCE

Approximately 95,000 years ago, humans developed the distinct ability to think abstractly about our world. Our systems for communication evolved into the language, reasoning, mathematics, science, and other forms of meaning-making that we capitalize on today. Our social connections became stronger and our tribes grew. In general, we have learned to think more about our purpose and reflect internally about our thoughts and actions, including how we fit into the larger context of our community. 

But this type of abstract and philosophical thinking doesn’t come without its challenges. When we find ourselves searching or lost in an internal dialogue, we also tend to manifest stress and worry about the present and future dangers that we (might) face. The problem is that if we’re left to our natural instincts, we can do more harm than good. Our concerns create anxiety, our anxiety develops into apprehension, and our apprehension begets paralysis. Then, when our inaction is at its worst, we lose the ability to be present with others. Instead of projecting a faithful present and a positive future, we’re stuck on a carousel of unwanted, inaccurate, and misleading assumptions about our self and others. 

The good news is that this state-of-mind doesn’t have to be our reality. Great leaders learn to be present in both mind and matter. They harness the mental strength to stay focused in the moment. This is not an innate ability to connect with people and live in the moment. The belief that any soft skill, like being present as a leader, is native for some and foreign to others is simply not true. Great leaders actually plan to be present. They hone the skill of presence with strategy and practice. This essential skill is only done with strength and ease when we become deliberate about it. 

As our world leaders look to increase social distancing to preserve our safety, there has never been a more important time to be present as a leader. The further apart we need to be physically, the more intense the need for connection becomes. The following pillars are the necessary aspects for being a present leader. 

Are You Tuned In?

The simple definition of being tuned in is “noticing.” This is what some leadership experts have deemed as mindfulness, not to be confused with meditation practices, although meditation goes a long way in helping with our tuning abilities. “This process of noticing comes naturally when we’re exposed to something we think is new, and it’s energy-begetting, not energy-consuming” (Langer, 2016). 

Effective leaders treat every situation uniquely, even the ones that are similar to what we’ve encountered in the past. People who tune in are less judgmental and more authentic by not making assumptions or jumping to conclusions based on past interactions or previous circumstances. Mindfully tuned in leaders are present by extending trust and enjoying authentic relationships with friends and coworkers. 

Who is Presently Leading

Presently leading has a dual connotation. First, it means that you’re present, in the moment, rather than stuck in the past or the future. Present leaders don’t allow themselves to be trapped by dwelling on their past failures or projecting their future fallouts. Second, it means that whomever is “presently leading” is a leader. Titles don’t make leaders. Leaders are the people who show up to do the work, to make a difference, and to bring about the best in others. 

“The industrial era, struggling for the last decade or two, is now officially being replaced by one based on connection and leadership and the opportunity to show up and make a difference” (Seth’s Blog). Presently leading just means that someone has taken the reigns, ready and willing to do what it takes to move forward. 

What are You Forecasting for the Future

Effective leaders who identify what the future will look like are typically making that prediction based on the future that they intend to create. “In an unstable world, the best option is creating the future now” (Rockwell, 2018). Great leaders can’t see into the future better than the rest of us, but they are tuned in and leading in the present to create opportunities that bring about what they want for tomorrow. 

Forecasting the future requires us to be steadfast with our beliefs and behaviors regarding the here-and-now. With an unwavering focus on our vision, we become clearer on what needs to be done in the present. The actions of today are the fruits of tomorrow. 

Leaders know that when we’re tuned into the world around us, when we stay present for our current scenario, and when we work to make the best future for ourselves and others, we reap the benefits of a positive and productive relationship with our community. When we shed the futile consumptions of our abstract thoughts–the negative feelings of doubt and disaster–we push forward into the world that we want and that, ultimately, we’ve designed. That’s what it means to be a present leader–the one who shows up when it matters most. 

Stay tuned for challenges, nuggets of wisdom, reflection questions, technical tips, and the best resources for leading better and growing faster. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of leaders who get our alerts, blogs, podcasts, and more.

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.

Flex Your Mental-Strength-Muscles Using These 3 Leadership Tactics — #SH302

Flex Your Mental-Strength-Muscles Using These 3 Leadership Tactics — #SH302

“I tried to do so many things to fit in. But when you look in the mirror, that’s the one person you can’t lie to.” – David Goggins 

April 13, 2013 at 2:49PM, two bombs exploded, killing three people and injuring hundreds of others. The Boston Marathon, the quintessential 26.2 mile race, an event that symbolizes patriotism and honor, was attacked by two assailants. Simply put, they sought to terrorize and destroy. Soon after the horrific bombing, the message Boston Strong was plastered everywhere. It quickly became a source of strength for many. This single symbol of solidarity gave people the mental strength to push forward. In times of need, it isn’t the physical aspects of ourselves and others that we need to be tough but rather the mental toughness that allows us to endure. 

In all facets of life–sports, work, friendships, heroes–we tend to admire people who possess superior physical strength. Marvel characters like Thor and Wonder Woman impress us with their size and power, but the reality is that mental strength is much more important in our day-to-day lives. As we think about the toughest times in history, the individuals who emerge demonstrated true grit and mental vigor. Whether we look to Mother Theresa or Winston Churchill, the greatest leaders throughout history are the ones who maintained mental strength over physical prowess. Granted, physical health is important, it certainly sells at the box office, and most of work for a toner physique, but our accustomed manner in which we go looking for strength by way of seeing muscles is deceiving.

Mental muscles aren’t available for the eye. Mental strength is all about training the mind, putting in the psychological reps, so that we can find the courage to continue in even the greatest of hardships and difficult scenarios. It’s what leaders lean on when everyone else seems to be falling apart or coming unraveled. 

If you’re reading this–especially now–it’s because you want to lead better and grow faster. Embrace the formula below to flex your mental-strength-muscles. 

The Ability to Stay Positive 

Staying positive during a crisis, or even through daily trials, is tough. Our emotions can easily be hijacked by worry and fear. These feelings grow as uncertainty about the future looms. One powerful way to stay positive is to imagine or visualize your best self. We know that the seasons of life will pass, looking optimistically towards the future is a proven way to remain hopeful and anticipate a better day. 

Fighting Against the Alternative 

So often it seems that we are simply “wired” to be pessimistic. Negative feelings and worst case scenarios come naturally. Our human nature is one of protection, and in many situations this benefits us. The hurdle we face is how to use the information we receive to put us in a position to protect ourselves and others rather than consuming our thoughts and paralyzing our actions.  

The Capacity to be Rational

Mentally strong individuals possess similar qualities that help them wade through some of the most trying and difficult circumstances. They learn to give up or let go of defeating behaviors and attitudes that aren’t productive.They remove “the bad habits” associated with brooding, worry, and doubt by thinking rationally about the reality of the moment. The key, says expert Dr. Amy Cooper Hakim, is to remove emotions, especially negative emotions. 

Fighting Against the Alternative

Being rational, essentially taking out the emotion, is no easy feat. Admittedly, sometimes it feels good to wallow and embrace the darkness. Dare we say that it even may provide some degree of comfort, since the pain is very real. This approach, though, in the long run, doesn’t provide the relief and comfort we naturally seek. We need to discipline ourselves to take the necessary steps to remain in control of how we respond to situations regardless of the circumstance.

The Commitment to Remain Focused 

Mental toughness requires commitment and resilience. This may seem counterintuitive. One would think that in order to stay focused and committed you need mental toughness, but it’s the other way around. You need to focus on mental strength to actually have it when you need it. That’s the unique quality of mentally strong leaders; they practice being strong so that they can retrieve their highest levels when called upon. This requires nothing less than a conscientious and deliberate effort.

Fighting Against the Alternative 

Losing sight of our goals and long term plans can easily occur when the daily grind seems insurmountable. We take our eyes off of the prize and the little things consume our thoughts and then dictate our behaviors. As Stephen Covey clearly articulated, we need to fight against what seems urgent to focus on the important stuff. If we don’t stay focused on the big picture, we never have the reserves needed to see a brighter future.   

Because our world is seized by COVID-19, we’ve dedicated this month to mental strength. The greatest opportunities to grow and become your best self are during times of crisis. We hope this message is useful and inspiring. God bless.

Stay tuned for challenges, nuggets of wisdom, reflection questions, technical tips, and the best resources for leading better and growing faster. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of leaders who get our alerts, blogs, podcasts, and more.

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.

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.

Self-Improvement: Franklin’s Way — #SH302

Self-Improvement: Franklin’s Way — #SH302

More Than A Founding Father 

Benjamin Franklin is one of our favorite leaders from history. Not only is he a Founding Father, but he straddled the universe of professional and amateur interests, from political philosopher to postmaster, from scientist to diplomat, his discoveries and theories stick with us today. The two aspects of Franklin’s life that we like best are his dedication to inventiveness and his pursuit of self-improvement. He’s well-known for the first, having invented things like swim fins by the age of 11. As for the second, not everyone has explored Franklin’s notion of self-improvement, which we argue is what led to his ability to accomplish everything else that he did. 

This month, as we focus on self-improvement, we point to Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues. The virtues themselves are impressive, ranging from “silence” as a way to speak only when it benefits others or yourself and “justice,” defined by committing no injuries nor omitting the benefits of your talents that are your duty to the world. Think about the latter. Franklin argued that any special gift you have must be used to improve your condition and that of the community you serve. It’s sentiments like this that drive self-improvement for the sake of having the most positive influence that we can as leaders. 

Improvement Strategy and Philosophy

But it’s not the virtues themselves that we like as much as how Franklin worked toward their attainment. Yes, the Thirteen Virtues embody core values, and we could dive into each as a characteristic to master in life and work. But self-improvement is a personal endeavor. And regardless of what you are pursuing, it’s Franklin’s strategy and philosophy about self-improvement that is critical, not necessarily the specifics of what you are working to accomplish. 

Franklin didn’t tackle all thirteen virtues at once, which is a flaw in what many of us try to do when we set goals for ourselves. Instead, he worked toward one of the virtues at a time. He picked one per week, leaving the other to chance, with a focus on making daily improvements that add up in the long run. In fact, Franklin noted in his autobiography that he often failed at one or another of his virtues, but in his attempts to improve himself, it was his incremental steps forward that led to his overall success. The strategy he used was one virtue or leadership quality at a time and his philosophy was to continue to make strides even when we take steps backwards. It’s genius. 

A Model for Self-Improvement

Let’s unpack Franklin’s strategy with three simple steps for this month (or whatever month you choose): 

  1. Pick one of your own virtues in life. This might be a leadership quality that you want to improve or something else about work and life that you need to do better. We’re going to extend Franklin’s weekly focus to a monthly focus for this one aspect of self-improvement. Stay tuned for our challenges and tips. 
  2. Dedicate a journal (or space in your journal) to this one self-improvement goal. Plan to write at least one sentence in the AM and one sentence in the PM about it. We’ll say more later this month, but, for now, try summarizing your intentions in the morning and reflecting on the outcomes in the PM. 
  3. Define your WHY about this goal. This should be your rationale for making this self-improvement. What will it do for you and how will it impact the people you seek to serve? More on this later in the month. 

Serving Others

Finally, Franklin’s story from history provides a great perspective and a way to approach self-improvement. We extend that to Bob Burg’s insight about becoming what he calls a “go-giver.” Just because you’re trying to self-improve doesn’t mean you’re being selfish in that pursuit. The goal should actually be to expand your influence and become a better servant in whatever cause is most important to you. 

Technical Tip: Make your morning matter more than ever. Heed the advice from The Miracle Morning. Set your alarm and get out of bed at least one hour before necessary. Adjust your bedtime to support your personal sleeping patterns. Use the time for meditation, writing, exercise, or even catching up on email. Seriously, you won’t believe what this will do for your mental and physical state. 

That’s this month’s model for self-improvement. Remember, the key is to focus on one aspect of life and work at a time. At the greatest success of improving your outcomes, you should find yourself with a singular focus for precision and expertise. Stay tuned for challenges, nuggets of wisdom, reflection questions, technical tips, and the best resources for leading better and growing faster. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of leaders who get our alerts, blogs, podcasts, and more.

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.