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 theschoolhouse302.com

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.

The Three Minute Challenge: Be the Closer —  #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

The Three Minute Challenge: Be the Closer — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

The Closer

We form committees, collaborate, and meet with good intentions. The belief is that by sharing information, discussing problems, and vetting ideas, meetings will lead to progress and productivity. Yet, we find ourselves all too often leaving meetings tired, frustrated, and confused. 

To that end, be familiar with the Frustrating Four. These types of meetings are the most unproductive. Please, keep in mind that we have never met any leader or co-worker who has told us that their goal is to deliberately lead a bad meeting. But, poorly run meetings and unproductive conversations happen every day. Be on the lookout for these four quintessential problems: 

  1. The Tailspin. Without getting too technical or exploring aviation, this is simply a severe downturn in a meeting. These meetings typically start bad and end worse, usually due to a lack of trust. The minute you think things can’t get anymore unproductive, the meeting declines yet again. 
  2. The Wandering. This is an aimless journey with no clear sense of direction. Be careful, these meetings can still have an agenda, but they have no real direction and every comment is only a detour. To be sure you’re in a wandering meeting, just note if anyone has an idea about what each agenda item is supposed to accomplish other than long commentary. 
  3. The Treadmill. The meetings leave you exhausted, literally spent, and in reality you haven’t gone anywhere. They are masked as productive time at work since people are engaged, but the meetings really lack depth and any sense of genuine accomplishment. You’re tired and that feels goal-oriented, but when you reflect, you realize that you have no clear path forward. 
  4. The Formal. These are meetings for the sake of meeting; they are on the calendar, and they’ve always held a standing time slot. People attend, comply, and leave annoyed. Worst of all is when the agenda items are old or irrelevant, but you continue to meet anyway. 

As we focus on being a better teammate and embracing solutions, we offer our final concept of the month–become The Closer. Similar to The Moderator, the closer adds structure to each meeting. But, rather than guiding a meeting to moderate progress, The Closer adds accountability for each agenda item. 

As meetings unfold and ideas are discussed, many of the comments made are good but require additional work post-meeting. Too often, meetings don’t have a person assigned to the role of identifying and highlighting the next steps after the meeting and the individual or group responsible for completing them before the next meeting. The Closer’s primary function is to capture the value in every idea and then pause the meeting to direct the conversation regarding the intricacies of the suggestions and who is responsible for the work. Once the details are on the table, a due date is then decided. This way, the intellectual capital that is being created by the team is not lost. Because this process sets the stage for future meetings, the level of accountability proves for a productive future meeting. This level of focus simply cuts down on the Frustrating Four. Next time you’re in a meeting that isn’t going well, try this three-minute challenge. 

Regardless of your role in the organization or meeting, being a great teammate means stepping up and willingly accepting responsibility. We often don’t want to admit it, but we are all liable for how meetings run, even if we’re not leading the session. 

Next time you’re in a meeting, introduce this concept and be willing to be the first one to accept the role:

  1. Closers capture suggestions. So many great ideas are shared in meetings, and as quickly as they’re mentioned, they’re forgotten. Ideas that gain momentum need someone to begin evaluating them through the lens of responsibility. Next time a suggestion is made, upack the organizational moving parts associated with it.
  2. Closers pause the meeting. Last week we introduced The Examiner. This is where the examiner and the closer partner to guarantee that ideas are vetted so that those that require further investigation or discussion are specifically assigned to someone on the team. 
  3. Closers assign due dates. Great ideas are only effective if they are put into action. Don’t lose valuable ideas that can revolutionize your situation by never getting them done. The Closer either sets a due date or schedules a follow-up meeting as the checkpoint.   

Technical Tip: Google Docs creates a platform that increases transparency, overall progress, and communication without meeting at all. Use Google Docs to assign tasks, provide space for comments, and include a column with a due date. Everyone can share the document and have access before the meeting. Each meeting, the document is used to determine how everyone is progressing as a team. 

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.

3 Books You Need to Read to Be a Better Teammate — #readthisseries

3 Books You Need to Read to Be a Better Teammate — #readthisseries

#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 being a better team player. You can find our catalog of great leadership books at theschoolhouse302.com — click on #readthisseries.

Bechler, J. (2017). The leadership playbook: Become your team’s most valuable leader. MH Publishing. 

Bechler, J. (2019). The Bus Trip: The story of a team, a challenging season, and the lessons learned on a bus ride. Book Services.

Jones, J., Thomas-EL, S., & Vari, J. Building a winning team: The power of a magnetic reputation and the need to recruit top talent in every school. London: Roman&Littlefield. 

Joe & T.J.

The Three Minute Challenge: Be the Examiner —  #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

The Three Minute Challenge: Be the Examiner — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Slumped shoulders, sour stomach, feeling a little down, or worse yet, a sense of dread–these are the awful emotions and physical reactions that you experience in light of a calendar notice. No, we’re not talking about how you feel when it’s time to visit the dentist, but rather those routine meetings you’re faced with on a regular basis. 

Interestingly, Forbes recently ran an article that focused on why employees hate meetings. It’s a sad reality, but many employees don’t see the value or the benefit of the meetings that they’re required to attend. The truth, though, is that with the right frame of mind and the appropriate structures, meetings can be powerfully productive. Last week, we introduced one of the first roles that you can play at your meetings, the moderator, which enables voice and perspective on the team. 

One primary reason behind establishing clear roles, explicitly or implicitly, is to create an environment that equalizes the participants at the table. Job titles, experience, and personality are just some of the factors that influence a meeting’s productivity. Last week in our post, we focused on the moderator as a role you can take to be a quality team player, and this week want to introduce the examiner to further demonstrate how you can take the lead in a new way to make your meetings the best that they can be. 

The examiner is the person who vets, tests, and even challenges the ideas and thoughts that are brought to the table. The primary role of the examiner is to probe, ask questions, and dissect the topic that is being discussed. This is not a role that everyone is comfortable assuming, especially if the idea or topic being discussed is brought forth from a superior. However, one frustration among many meeting participants is that meetings lack substance, don’t tackle the main issue, and fail to include quality discussions. The examiner pushes the thinking to go deep into the problems, and creates a good rumble

Although we are discussing roles at meetings, our focus this month is about how you can be a great teammate. Teammates challenge one another for the betterment of the organization. The key is in creating healthy conflict as a norm where participants feel comfortable. Next time you’re in a meeting, introduce this concept and be willing to be the first one to accept this role. 

  1. Examiners ask questions. Their job is to put the idea or concept through a stress test. Too often, silence among team members is accepted as agreement. But, we know that it’s more likely that they simply want the meeting to end. The examiner creates discussion by probing the group to dive deeper.
  2. Examiners pose a challenge. The role of examiner provides a platform to challenge ideas, systems, and processes in a safe space. Again, not everyone is comfortable taking on this task, but to practice being a great teammate means getting out of your comfort zone. One way to challenge without sounding like you’re poking holes in an idea is to gently say, “does the group mind if I ask a few questions to examine this further?” If you’re not named in the role of examiner, you can still take on that role in a way that isn’t threatening for the group. 
  3. Examiners improve the discussion. The main reason that the examiner is so important for every meeting is that they improve the quality and depth of the discussion. People hate dry and drab meetings, but exciting dialogue is always productive. In challenge #1 above, the examiner asks questions in the group. For this challenge, take a minute at your next meeting and reflect (to yourself) about what would make the discussion more lively and what you might need as a participant. Chances are, other participants need the same thing. Plan to provide it in the moment or jot a note for the next meeting. 

Technical Tip: Asking great questions is not easy so we ask that you follow Rudyard Kipling’s Six Honest Serving Men poem as a framework to guide you. You can choose to ask what questions, by getting the group to define the what further. You can ask why questions about purpose and value. The key is to use Kipling’s what, why, when, how, where, and who as sentence starters to get the conversation flowing productively. 

I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I knew.

Their names are What and Why and When

and How and Where and Who.

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.

One Thing Series: Gaining Perspective as a Teammate w/ Jamy Bechler — #onethingseries

One Thing Series: Gaining Perspective as a Teammate w/ Jamy Bechler — #onethingseries

One Thing Series: Gaining Perspective as a Teammate w/ Jamy Bechler — #onethingseries

Leadership Isn’t About Having Complicit and Compliant Followers. ~ Jamy Bechler

Jamy Bechler is the host of the popular Success is a Choice podcast. He is also the author of The Bus Trip and The Leadership Playbook. As a former college basketball coach and high school athletic director, he now travels across the country speaking and consulting with sports teams and educators about leadership, culture, and teamwork. Jamy is also a certified John Maxwell Leadership Coach, and you connect with him on Twitter @CoachBechler or at his website JamyBechler.com.

His interview with TheSchoolHouse302 is full of leadership wisdom. He speaks directly to how we must maintain perspective to gain insight as leaders. Don’t miss it.  

Key Thoughts from the Interview:

  • You can’t miss his compelling story regarding an obituary and the impact that it had on his mindset!
  • Jamy discusses John Maxwell and Jon Gordon and how influential they are on his work. But, he also talks about someone we were completely unfamiliar with, coach and communication specialist, Betsy Butterick. You can find more about Betsy, here
  • You’ll want to hear what he has to say about being “dead right.”
  • He talks about how we need to be sensitive to situations so that we can prevent issues, be proactive, and prepare accordingly. 
  • His thoughts about being intentional about seeing other people’s perspective are enlightening. You have to listen to the turtle on the log story.
  • Lastly, he breaks down how ego and impulse are basic human traits that limit us as individuals and leaders when we let them. 

Jamy’s interview uncovers what it means to be a great teammate, someone who works to gain perspective as a leader, and much much more. 

Please follow, like, and comment. Use #onethingseries and #SH302 so that we can find you. For more great leadership content, follow theschoolhouse302.com

Joe & T.J.