Planners’ Picks — August 3, 2021

Planners’ Picks:

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

August is upon us: Performance reviews, TTC Reboot, and returning to campus for most of us. Let’s practice gratitude, journal our way to a good day, and take a hike in this PP.


Performance Management

Last year Shelly Vils Havel of our planning committee compiled the following document for staff at Extension to prepare for the performance management process. We modified it for use campus-wide as a reference for managers preparing for their conversations, and shared it last August, but it is still valid this year as we come out of the pandemic and reflect on a year of remote work for many. It includes links to additional resources within. Enjoy!

The How to Have a Good Day Journaling Practice

Do you journal? Carolyn Webb, author of How to Have a Good Day, recommends you do to set good intentions and clear the mind. She’s recently rebooted her handwritten journaling practice, and says she’s remembering how much she love it. “I make better use of my mornings (always tough as a night-time person) and I sleep better for having closed off the day in a thoughtful way.”

If this appeals to you, you might be interested to see the printable daily journal page that she uses, created to remind her of the thoughts and actions that we all know are core to good days. There’s a morning plan for intentions and mental preparation around challenges ahead, and an evening reflection including gratitude, learning, and sources of energy. You can print one each day and it’s been invaluable in providing an anchor and a nudge for all the other habits that you value. We’ve made it easy for you to access it, in Box, without having to subscribe to Carolyn’s weekly newsletter (though you are welcome to do that too.)

When you focus on what you lack, you lose what you have. When you focus on what you have, you get what you lack.” – Greg McKeown, author of Effortless

Exploring Regenerative Leadership

Here’s a short podcast about the idea of “Exploring Regenerative Leadership” — It’s about bringing back some of the natural innate abilities that all humans possess and re-introducing a more human-centric leadership approach. Please check out this topic as it relates to Servant Leadership.

Creative Ways to Get More Out of Your Daily Walks

From calling an old friend to listening to a great podcast, here are little ways to make the most out of your routine strolls. Breaking up the day with a walk can be amazing for our physical and mental well-being, focus and creativity. A simple walk can serve as a stress reliever, a workout, or a chance to give our brains a much-needed reset in the middle of an anxious time. We’ve been making an effort to get in our steps since we’ve been spending more time at home during COVID, and getting creative about our walking time has been a serious game-changer.

The Thrive community shared some small ways they’ve been getting more out of their walks during this time. Which of these will you try?

“If you never fail, you’re only trying things that are too easy and playing far below your level… If you can’t remember any time in the last six months when you failed, you aren’t trying to do difficult enough things.” – Eliezer Yudkowsky

The 2 Kinds of Praise We All Need to Get at Work

When you think about how to praise employees, it helps to realize there are two distinct kinds.

The first is the praise about a strength that moves the entire team forward, or what I call a “we-strength.” Perhaps Courtney has an easygoing confidence that means she can pitch almost any idea and people will love it. A we-strength is a strength that elevates the team or organization. Because Courtney is so persuasive, she never has to pitch the same idea at multiple meetings, plus your team brings in bigger, higher-paying clients.

The second kind of praise is about a strength that makes the employee stronger, or what I call a “me-strength.” What work energizes someone? What makes them feel excited to keep plugging away at a problem? A me-strength puts a person in what’s known as a flow state, where they’re fully immersed in the work, losing track of time because the work is so intrinsically satisfying.

Sometimes we-strengths and me-strengths are one and the same, but I’ve found that often someone’s we-strengths are quite different from their me-strengths. What lights up an individual can be very different from what lights up the team.

Leading at a Distance Author Jim Citrin Speaks with Whitney Johnson

Author Whitney Johnson meets up with Jim Citrin in her weekly Linkedin Live broadcast: Discussions on remote managing, ideal team size, building trust with hybrid teams, icebreaker exercises at the beginning of meetings, and much more. Well worth the listen if you lead others.

10 Ways to Engage Employees (and Yourself) to Drive Human Performance

Leadership Coach Marcel Schwantes has done a lot of work around coaching and training leaders to effectively engage their workforce. In case “employee engagement” sounds like fluff, case study after case study proves how it drives organizational performance, especially during tough economic times and massive disruption, like a global pandemic. In Gallup research, companies with the highest employee engagement have the best financial performance, even in tough economic times. For anyone in a management role, the question should be an obvious one: how do I engage my employees?

Be More Productive in a Hybrid Office

The work-from-home landscape is slippery these days. As Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom noted in a recent article, 32% of workers never want to go back to the office, but another 21% never want to work from home again. Working from home isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and many companies are adjusting accordingly by implementing hybrid work environments keeping elements of their remote infrastructure in place.

Letting workers work wherever they want and whenever they want is good news for many companies. But is it good news for you? Burnout is way up at the moment, and for a lot of us, the thrill of working from home has slowly descended into a notifications-saturated hellscape of endless half-work. You’re craving a hard reset. So where should you start? If you’re looking to tweak your work communication style for the hybrid office of the future, here are five strategies that might help.

Rebuild a Culture of Gratitude as You Reboard

As you reboard, it is a fantastic time to check your overall culture. Does employee appreciation take center stage in your workplace? If you feel tentative about your answer, this is your chance! Building (or rebuilding) a culture of gratitude begins when employees are valued and appreciated.

The Dalai Lama and friends: celebrating 10 years of Action for Happiness

On July 28 The Action for Happiness team had a 10-year anniversary party online, including discussions from the Dalai Lama on kindness and many more topics. Be inspired and motivated by the replay video of this great event; it’s worth a listen!

Get Action for Happiness’ August Calendar here:



TTC Project to Host Employee August Forums

All UW–Madison employees are invited to attend a virtual daytime or in-person late night forum on the Title and Total Compensation (TTC) Project on August 10 or 11. Information will be provided on the project timeline, employee and supervisor conversations, and progression and promotions. Time will be allocated to questions and answers. To submit a question during the virtual event, send an email to and use the subject line “TTC Live.” You may submit a question in advance or during the live event. Sessions will be offered in English, Spanish, Hmong, Tibetan, Chinese, and Nepali. The YouTube event will be recorded and posted on the TTC Project website for viewing later. To learn more, visit

More information »

Grief and Sleep Classes at Continuing Studies this Fall

UW-Madison Continuning Studies has a couple great classes coming that are pertinent to supervisors. Please consider taking courses through this avenue.

An Introduction to Mastering Healthy Sleep (9/14)

Grief and Resilience: Managing Life’s Transitions (online, self-paced).


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