Planners’ Picks — June 15, 2021

Planners’ Picks:

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

Find links about building trust, hybrid working, caring leadership, and handling the stress of change.


Research: What Do People Need to Perform at a High Level?

Quick answer: TRUST. The researchers identified common factors helping (or hurting) employee effectiveness. Among them were personal factors including mindsets and skills that the individual brings to the job and over which they have some control. Others are managed at an organizational level: managing rules about how work is done and showing emotional intelligence. Turning to nurses during the Covid-19 pandemic, the researchers found that these factors became even more important during crisis. They found that when the background uncertainty and anxiety are high, if the organization does not provide clear expectations and the supervisors do not acknowledge staff feelings and help them manage them, workers will not be able to work to their full potential.

Of practical importance to organizational leaders, our research provides insight about how managers can boost employees’ potential – even in times of crisis.

To Succeed in Hybrid Work, Disrupt Yourself

If author Whitney Johnson had to pick two words to describe the COVID pandemic, the first would be “tragedy,” and the second would be “disruption.”

We used to know exactly what “I’m going to work” meant. But starting in early 2020, a staggering amount of America’s work left the head office and moved into the small office, the back patio, or the kitchen table. Now offices are cautiously opening their doors again. But like letting go a flock of pigeons, a lot of that work isn’t necessarily coming back home to roost. According to a recent report from Cisco, 98% of all meetings going forward will involve what we now call “hybrid work”: some employees physically present; others virtually present via the internet.

At Disruption Advisors, we believe people are the bottom line. If you are experiencing change, like transitioning to a hybrid work environment, doubling down on your people’s ability to grow and to adapt is the critical ingredient for success. Read this great list of suggestions on supporting a hybrid team, especially in meetings.

The Neuroscience of Gratitude

Building closer bonds with other people is a core survival mechanism for us humans. Looking back to the ‘tribe and fire’ history of human life on earth, we can see how much we’ve always needed other people to survive. Gratitude plays a huge part in that. Giving thanks and expressing appreciation have been revered in many cultures around the world for thousands of years.

When employees practice gratitude and thanks at work, they become more likely to take on new assignments, more willing to go the extra mile and more likely to work as part of a well-functioning team. Research shows us that gratitude at work leads to less exhaustion, higher job satisfaction, fewer absences due to illness and generally more proactive and positive behaviors. So, giving and receiving recognition within in a team, builds those important social bonds and increased connectedness that is so important to team success.

73 Fun, UW–Madison Outdoor Wellness Activities

As more folks are getting vaccinated, feeling safer, and venturing out, some of us might be looking for something to do while taking advantage of the beautiful weather. The FP&M Campus Planning & Landscape Architecture (CPLA) team has compiled this list of their favorite outdoor activities in and around the UW–Madison campus for students, faculty, and staff in support of our overall wellness and well-being on campus.

Evolution Of Business And Why Every Organization Needs To Embrace Caring Leadership

These days, every CEO and business leader has been feeling the pressure when it comes to staying relevant and agile in an ever-changing and uncertain world. We might not have a blueprint for how to navigate this moment, but we do have people. Organizations are still fundamentally made up of those people and, although the current context may be ambiguous and market trends volatile, there is one thing our customers, partners, and employees have a common need for: care.

Workplace cultures that prioritize caring, compassion, and respect influence employee productivity and performance and improve how people feel about coming to work every day. They feel like they are seen, heard, and valued – and are motivated to work hard toward the success of the organization.

In her book The Art of Caring Leadership, Heather R. Younger shares insights gleaned from twenty-five thousand employee survey comments and one hundred focus groups and suggests that leading with heart is the antidote for employees who feel disempowered or disengaged at work. She explains that leaders often put a wall up between themselves and those who look to them for guidance, and that they need to do more to create a culture where everyone feels that they belong. She explains that people-first cultures are where employees are seen for who they are as people, not just for what work they do. That requires leaders to listen in order to understand what’s of value to them, focus on their growth, not only missteps, and equip those we lead to succeed. She suggests when leaders learn to consistently demonstrate care, build trust, inspire curiosity, and awaken creativity in those they lead, employees feel better about themselves and see their work and role in a more positive light. They no longer feel like a cog in the machine, they feel motivated, energized, and on purpose.

Note: be watching for a CSN book club featuring this book soon!!

Handling Stress and Uncertainty of Things Outside of Your Control / Change

First, look for choices. Stress that feels out of control can be overwhelming. But when we are able to gain some sense of control – even in a small way – that stress feels more manageable. Simply acknowledging opportunities to make personal choices each day can raise your sense of autonomy and normalcy. In what ways can you create some new autonomy when you return to the office? Three resources below talk about handling stress related to change.

The great unknown: 10 tips for dealing with the stress of uncertainty

8 Keys to Accepting Things that Are Out of Your Control

4 Brain-Friendly Ways to Manage Change in the Workplace


Reuniting Campus – LTD’s new courses and resources

Learning and Talent Development has put together new and existing content to support employees. This content includes thematic courses, toolkits, and links to additional resources. There are offerings for all employees, as well as some specific to supervisors.