The Three Minute Challenge: Be the Moderator — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

The Three Minute Challenge: Be the Moderator — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge


Our February focus is on being the best teammate that you can be. One key to being a great teammate is found in your ability to see other teammates’ perspectives, especially when it comes to your contribution, both positively and negatively. In our last post, we asked you to evaluate yourself through the context of one of your coworkers. The critical questions within the five-point model for teamwork are a great start to self-reflection.

This exercise is powerful but lasting change requires us to either break habits or form new ones. We need to take action to solidify what we believe into how we behave. Our three-minute challenges create opportunities for you to demonstrate your new understanding of leadership through practice. The more we practice the skills we desire, the more likely it is that they’ll become habits. 

Learning to “see” from someone else’s perspective is hard. In the fast-moving environment in which we work, just slowing down long enough to think in your own mind is difficult. That said, it’s a necessary practice if you want to be a more effective teammate. The good news is that the rewards gained far outweigh the cost of time. To develop this perspective, take The Three Minute Challenge below, and let us know how you do.   

Meetings can be the bain of our existence, but done well and firing on all five of the teamwork model’s points, they’re a place of extreme productivity. People come prepared, collaboration is easy, synergy occurs, and trust is abundant. When this happens, it’s usually because everyone is able to accept and develop multiple perspectives, even if they are unpopular or challenging. Notice, though, that on every great team, there’s always clear expectations and a “moderator”–someone who is willing to make sure that time and space gets used productively. Next time you’re at a meeting, and no one seems to be moderating, try taking these steps toward a better personal contribution to the team as their moderator: 

  1. As a moderator, your job is to ensure that everyone participates. We all know that some people consume more airtime than others. And it doesn’t have to be your meeting to act as a moderator. The first step is not to try too hard to squelch the airtime consumers, but to provide space for the voices of the reluctant talkers. Take pause and ask others to say what they’re thinking. The insertion of their perspective will add value to the meeting, and your invitation to do so makes you a great teammate. 
  2. Clarify misconceptions and complex concepts. At meetings, there are always people with more knowledge and stronger subject matter expertise. This may result in them processing the topic faster and using jargon. As the moderator, take pause to summarize what is being said and ask if anyone needs further clarification. Don’t be shy about using a friendly interruption or two. It will make for a better meeting when everyone is on the same page.  
  3. Don’t forget to contribute more than just being the moderator. Often, when leaders take on the role of moderating, they can get caught up in “running” the meeting. That’s not what we’re suggesting. Rather, just using Steps 1 and 2 above allow you to add value to your team in addition to providing your own perspective. You’re creating space not only for multiple points-of-view from the team but also your own. 

Technical Tip: Note that moderating is important, but self-moderating is more important than anything. Don’t moderate others until you are good at moderating yourself, especially your airtime. One tip that we like to use is to balance talking and listening by using a physical item. Next time you’re in a meeting, pick up your pen whenever you’re not speaking (use it for writing or just have it in-hand), and set it down when you speak. This will provide a gauge for your airtime so that you can be the best teammate possible. 

Reach out and share your story 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.

One Thing Series: Getting Results w/ Fred Stuvek — #onethingseries

One Thing Series: Getting Results w/ Fred Stuvek — #onethingseries

Fear has killed more dreams than anything. ~ Fred Stuvek

Fred Stuvek Jr. has achieved extraordinary success in diverse realms. Born in West Virginia and raised in Pennsylvania, he has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for achievements in football, basketball, baseball, and track.

He graduated from the United States Naval Academy, after lettering three years as quarterback for the Midshipmen. After service as a Naval Officer, he transitioned to the business world where he has held senior leadership positions in private and public companies, both domestically and internationally.

Fred’s key successes include an international medical imaging start-up that led to a successful IPO, and forming a private medical services company, which he subsequently sold. From the playing field to the war room to the board room, his leadership and accomplishments have given him a distinct perspective and a results-oriented mindset.

His interview with TheSchoolHouse302 is intense, direct, and filled with effective takeaways for any leader who is trying to reach their goals in 2020 and beyond.

  • Listen to what he says about the importance of belief, mindset, confidence, and success. And he reads our blog!
  • He acknowledges that it’s important to follow a diverse group of leaders to get information from a number of avenues. He follows the hashtags #leadership, #management, and #learning.
  • You can’t miss what he says about being open to feedback.
  • He talks about the fact that growth is not static. He wants his book to be used for leadership development and training. Don’t miss our #readthisseries, we’re going to give away three of Fred’s books.
  • His thoughts on getting out of your comfort zone and stretching yourself are priceless. His career pivots are inspiring.
  • Lastly, you can’t miss his views on not having all the answers as a leader.

Fred’s interview uncovers the powerful insight in getting results, achieving your goals, following key principles of leadership, 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

Joe & T.J.

The Three Minute Challenge: Topical Training Investments for Teacher Leaders — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

The Three Minute Challenge: Topical Training Investments for Teacher Leaders — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Plan for Success

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Putting It All Together

In the world of culinary arts, there exists a fascinating, even mysterious, concept called “umami.” Although commonly referred to as one of the five basic tastes, characterizing this way doesn’t do it justice. Umami, which is the Japanese word for deliciousness, refers to the savoriness often found in many foods.

Umami is a substance perfectly formed to create an explosion of taste. When we think of growing and developing leaders, we are searching for a similar substance that will transform the ordinary into the extraordinary–a unique blend of experiences, training, reflection, and development to help leaders become effective regardless of their situation. Throughout this month, we’ve identified the key practices for developing teacher leaders. Great school administrators know that they cannot be successful without a core group of strong, instructionally gifted, teachers who are also leaders.

We began the month by establishing the proper foundation necessary for our teacher leaders to grow, which consists of exposure to universal principles for the novice person. The fact is that every school leadership team should be doing an ongoing book study. In our second step of development we increased the sophistication of the training through specialized, experiential training. In this quadrant, the teacher leader is still a novice, but the training is very specific, such as joining a school-based team to do instructional rounds. The third quadrant is where the teacher leader develops through learning practical skills. Much of this quadrant hones in on self-development through feedback. In our model, we distinguish the difference between the skill level of the person and their learning needs regarding specialized training and specific concepts. We do so because education is a people business–influential leaders masterfully navigate both the people and the issues. This brings us to the fourth quadrant.

Becoming the Expert

Because we are pursuing umami–the perfect blend of seasoning that delivers the greatest satisfaction and results–teacher leaders need to “graduate” to the fourth quadrant, which is topical. So many of the issues faced by leaders are multi-dimensional with long tentacles and significant implications. Development within this quadrant demonstrates that the teacher leader is truly in charge–leading an initiative or department, making a real change in the school, and focusing on the people involved.

The training in this quadrant mirrors the complexity of the problem and the challenges associated with it. A great example of a complex change that we often make is through a restructuring or modification to a curriculum based on new standards. But, the truth is that even when standards change and the curriculum and assessments follow suit, that doesn’t mean that changes will be made at the classroom level. Policies don’t change practice; people do.

The skilled teacher leader, in our example, understands the team dynamics at various levels, communicates with administration, knows the standards, can lead changes to the curriculum, and, most importantly, empowers teachers to make the necessary strategy adjustments in the classroom. They are experts in both the teaching side and the leadership side of the equation. They know how to do the work and how to influence the group they lead. Great principals know that both skills are necessary and they develop the specialized topical needs of their teacher leaders. Take The Three Minute Challenge:

The Three Minute Challenge


  1. Evaluate the depth and rigor of the training that you are providing your teacher leaders as a group. This should mostly fall within the foundational quadrant. But, because they are confronting and solving real issues that require a keen understanding of the problem and the people involved, they also need topical training. Identify one of the leadership topics where each of your leaders needs more development. Make a list of the topics.
  2. Find a leadership conference, local or nationally, that has strands that address the topics you listed. You may be able to send your whole leadership team or budget to send them in groups of twos and threes. The key is that the conference is not a typical teaching conference but an actual leadership conference.  
  3. After folks have gone to their training on the specific topic, create a check-in calendar that establishes a clear timeline to evaluate practice and progress for the teacher leaders. These meetings should focus on pre-identified short-term goals that represent essential progress toward the desired outcome. The outcomes can be based on the change they seek to influence or a detail about how they are leading differently because they’ve been trained. Your job is to listen and provide feedback.

Technical Tip: Teacher leaders are teachers first. Their influence is born from their credibility and prowess in the classroom. As they continually develop as a leader, be sure that they are still enjoying what they love to do most—teaching! Although their role has grown considerably as leaders, their strengths remain within their love for teaching and learning. Not only do they need to grow as leaders, they need to continue to grow as teachers. The tip is to ensure that your teacher leaders are getting the leadership development necessary to lead better but also the teacher professional development to grow as teachers. Use the leadership continuum model as a teacher skill development model. Listen to what your teacher leaders want to learn next as teachers and find them the path to do that.

Leadership Continuum Model

Leadership Development Continuum Model

Reach out and share your story 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.

#reviewandreflect: Building High Performance Teams

#reviewandreflect: Building High Performance Teams

High Performance Teams

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. ~ Michael Jordan

This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #review&reflect, wrapping up our focus on how to Build a Winning Team: Learning to Lead from Giants.

Our review and reflect series offers readers the opportunity to take a deep dive into our leadership content by taking time to reflect and identify the skills you need, to explore how you can learn those skills, and to connect with industry leaders to follow to gain greater expertise.

Skills I need…

Building a winning team is no easy task. It requires assembling the right players, creating a culture focused on productive outcomes, and ultimately achieving our predetermined goals.

Review: To stay in line with March, and the madness of the NCAA basketball tournament, we dove into the leadership qualities that attract and develop winning players and chose three coaches from the present and past who epitomize the ability to recruit and build phenomenal teams. By analyzing some of the key characteristics of Pat Summit, Mike Krzyzewski, and John Wooden, we landed on three recognizable qualities that are necessary to build the team you desire. From Coach K, we gleaned that everyone has doubts, the goal is to silence them and harness the energy for increased effectiveness. John Wooden’s service to others, particularly his players, demonstrates that it truly is the little things that make all the difference. Lastly, Pat Summitt’s standards, and relentless pursuit to master them, are undeniable.

Below is our Winning Team Model to serve as a visual representation of the key qualities necessary to create the team you desire.

Winning Team Model

Reflect: The beauty of this model is that it serves as a simple yet effective reminder for leaders. By serving others, we honor their thoughts and ideas, which help contribute to our success. By silencing our own doubts, we manifest the ability to really listen to those on our team by putting our own ego or agenda aside for the betterment of the organization. And, by establishing a culture of excellence, everyone shares in the responsibility of achieving success. The challenge lies in our ability to do all three at a high level.

Take 3 Minutes to reflect on your ability to mind your mental map.

  • If your staff or colleagues were surveyed today, how well would they rate your ability to serve them for the betterment of the organization?
  • Each of us have the ability to feel on top of the world one minute and a failure the next. How well do you silence your doubts and stay truly committed to achieving your goals?
  • Excellence by definition simply means to be outstanding. Do you create a culture that demands excellence coupled with the supports and specific feedback that is necessary to get there?

How do I learn those skills…

What should I read to strengthen my ability to create the team I desire?

Review: In our #readthisseries we featured the work of authors who clearly articulate the power of Teamwork.

Permission to screw up: How I learned to lead by doing by Kristen Hadeed

The gold standard: Building a world-class team by Coach Krzyzewski

Your oxygen mask first: 17 habits to help high achievers survive & thrive in leadership & life by Kevin Lawrence

You can’t miss our #readthisseries on 3 books you need to read for a stronger mental map.

Self Assessment:

Leadership is difficult. The path is always obstructed by issues, mistakes, fear, doubt, and, at times, a lot of critics. Great leaders realize, though, that the goal is much bigger than themselves. For this reason, they remember to serve others first, to remain humble yet confident, and to take comfort in knowing that today’s mistakes are tomorrow’s lessons. Based on the 3-part assessment, and using a 5-point scale, 1 being ineffective and 5 being highly effective, rate yourself:


Based on the questions above, which aspect of Building a Winning Team do you need to develop further?

Who should I follow…

What does an expert have to say about teamwork and assembling a group of A-players?

Review: For our #onethingseries, we interviewed Kevin Lawrence.

Action: Kevin relays how we often accept that our team members’ performance will be much like a bell curve. We tend to believe that we will have some exceptional players on the team, but the vast majority will be good, not great. We often accept that our team will consist of a handful of players who are not that good at all. He describes how we don’t have to buy into the notion of a mediocre team, and he explains how “top talent wants to be around top talent.” The question is, are you attracting top talent to your team?

Let us know!

Listen to the entire podcast on iTunes, One Thing Series, and please rate and like (it helps).

That’s our #review&reflect for Building a Winning Team: Learning to Lead from Giants. Take a look back to take a step forward.

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

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

Joe & T.J.


#readthisseries: 3 Books You Need to Read to Build a Stronger Team

#readthisseries: 3 Books You Need to Read to Build a Stronger Team

#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 a winning team. You can find our catalog of great leadership books at — click on #readthisseries. [youtube] Hadeed, K. (2017). Permission to screw up: How I learned to lead by doing. New York: Penguin. Krzyzewski, M. (2010). The gold standard: Building a world-class team. New York: Hachette Book Group. Lawrence, K. (2017). Your oxygen mask first: 17 habits to help high achievers survive & thrive in leadership & life. Austin, Texas: Lioncrest. As always, please like, follow, and comment. If you have books that we should read and recommend, please let us know that as well. Joe & T.J.