Planners’ Picks — January 25, 2022

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

In today’s PP we focus on kindness and gratitude in teams, look at what drives us, and brush up on our communication skills.


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We all need something different – lead your team with that in mind.


||| Resources on Gratitude and Kindness |||

DOVS Support Staff, Local Artist Team Up to Spread Kindness

How do you implement employee engagement in your unit? Members of the UW Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences support staff and a local artist recently teamed up to share a simple, but important reminder: Kindness is everything. During the support staff’s monthly meeting in November, which included a new community service component, the team was joined by Doris Gassen,* who makes and paints wooden “Be Kind” signs. The result was a break from the normal work, a chance to bond with others and show their creative side.

*Doris is CSN Chair Rich Gassen’s mother, and is clearly the side of the family where Rich got his artistic talent and creativity from!

“When a gifted team dedicates itself to unselfish trust and combines instinct with boldness and effort, it is ready to climb.” -Patanjali

TED Talk: The Value of Kindness at Work

Kindness can go a long way when it comes to reshaping a business. Having saved a fashion company from the brink of bankruptcy, entrepreneur James Rhee shares the value of investing in a culture of compassion at work — and shows why we should all lead with our hearts. Slow down and see the world through the lens of a child. Powerful, relevant and much needed perspective.

How to Cultivate Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride on Your Team

Leaders want teams that work hard and persevere in the face of challenges. But it’s not enough to nurture grit among your employees. You also need to encourage grace – decency, respect, and generosity, all of which mark a person as someone with whom others want to cooperate. Managers can foster grace by cultivating three specific emotions: gratitude, compassion, and pride.

The Little Things That Make Employees Feel Appreciated

When people experience gratitude from their manager, they’re more productive. And when teams believe that their colleagues respect and appreciate them, they perform better.

Most companies run some kind of employee-recognition programs, but often they fall flat, wasting resources. Many become just another box for managers to check or are seen as elite opportunities for a favored few, leaving the rest of the workforce feeling left out. Meanwhile, a lot of individual managers also fail to adequately express appreciation, mistakenly assuming that reports know how they feel or struggling to balance gratitude with developmental feedback. In focus groups and interviews, however, employees reveal that making them feel valued and recognized isn’t all that complicated: It mostly comes down to a lot of small, commonsense practices.


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Why it’s Actually Good if Our Jobs Sometimes Feel Meaningless

We talk a lot about purpose, drive, and meaning in our work. CSN even did a book club and presentation on Drive by Dan Pink covering this topic — Finding purpose can surely be a motivating factor in job satisfaction and well-being. But what if what you do doesn’t really inspire you? There’s still hope.

Alongside more material concerns, a lack of meaning invariably decays the cogs in the 9 to 5 machine.  Depending on what it is you do every day, doing it every-day will likely exhaust much of the drive that brought you and it together in the first place, assuming your lot in the workforce was ever premised by this dynamic to begin with. A psychologist by the name of Steven C. Hayes, compellingly argues against the merits of cognitive fusion in favor of playing meaninglessness at its own game.

“Autonomy leads to empowerment. We work hard to maintain a balance between collaboration and cooperation and independence.” – Bobby Kotick

When Autonomy Helps Team Performance — and When It Doesn’t

From GitHub to Google, companies are increasingly adopting policies that allow teams substantial autonomy over both who they work with and what they work on. This can help employees to feel greater levels of ownership over their work, thus boosting creativity and innovation — but recent research suggests it’s easy to take autonomy too far. In a new study, the authors found that teams which were allowed to choose both the composition of their groups and the ideas they worked on actually performed substantially worse than those who were only allowed to choose either teammates or ideas (but not both). Based on this surprising finding, the authors argue that the question managers should ask themselves is not whether they should give teams autonomy, but what kind of autonomy they should give them. Instead of becoming obsessed with autonomy above all else, the authors suggest that managers should take a more nuanced approach and think critically about which areas will benefit from autonomy — and which will not.

Creating a Hybrid Model That Works for You

Hybrid work is central to the reopening plans for countless organizations. Yet many leaders are wrestling with how to make hybrid models work—from identifying how many days employees can work remotely, to reorganizing the office to promote collaboration, to crafting sustainable culture-building initiatives onsite. Because every hybrid work experience hinges on personalization and flexibility, what may work well for one organization may not work for another.

How do you craft a personalized hybrid plan that works for everyone? Join O.C. Tanner’s Mindi Cox, Daniel Patterson and Meghan Stettler as they discuss the future of work and key principles for creating a hybrid model where people can thrive, do great work, and deliver business results.


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Words and Phrases to Avoid in a Difficult Conversation

When you’re in the middle of a difficult conversation, it’s common to focus solely on yourself: your ideas, your viewpoint, your feelings. But a “me-centric” approach can backfire. To achieve your goal, you need to think beyond yourself. While crafting your message, you must keep the other person’s feelings and opinions in mind, too. To do so, avoid these common mistakes: don’t assume your viewpoint is obvious; don’t exaggerate; don’t challenge someone’s character or integrity; don’t blame others for your feelings; don’t tell others what they should do; and don’t say “It’s not personal.”

Business Writing Essentials: Your Guide to Clear and Effective Workplace Communication

Business writing is a specific style that promotes clear and effective communication between colleagues and customers, which helps achieve business goals. It’s also an art; good business writing must have the right tone and style but also needs its message to be clear. Check out this post from Grammarly on using a business style to meet your objectives.


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The Small Business Development Center HR Trainings

Are you an HR professional or aspire to be one? You might want to check out these courses from The Small Business Development Center at the Wisconsin School of Business.

  • SHRM Certification Preparation Course 2/15-4/27/2022 ($100 off registration by 2/1 with code EARLYBIRD2022) – This SHRM Certification Preparation Course, hosted by the Small Business Development Center at the Wisconsin School of Business, prepares HR professionals to take the SHRM Certification Exam and earn your SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP®) or SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP®) designation. This course is offered in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management.
  • Low-cost Onboarding for Employee Retention ($99). The class, taught by Sheila Milton of UW Credit Union, is focused on onboarding best practices as well as some tips for helping to onboard people in the virtual environment as well.
  • The Employment Imperative: Tackling Workforce Challenges (FREE) If you’ve noticed challenges with hiring employees in the last few years, you are not alone. Businesses across the state of Wisconsin have struggled with recruitment and hiring in a wide range of industries, and a variety of environmental, historical, and economic factors have lead us to these challenges. In this session, we’ll translate regional data into your day-to-day by understanding how long-term trends are impacting the current labor market and how local businesses are responding.
  • Low-cost HR Basics for Non-HR Professionals ($269) – This course is a good opportunity for anyone who is new to an HR role and/or who does not have formal HR training.

Watch The I&TLC Recordings

Did you miss the November 30 Information & Technology Leadership Conference (I&TLC 2021)? You can watch recordings of all the virtual sessions on the I&TLC Kaltura Channel! The 2021 theme was “Lead with bold IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access(ibility).” Visit the I&TLC website for more information on the 2021 theme and sessions, which included:

  • Keynote Speaker: Anjuan Simmons, Lending Privilege
  • The Diversity Framework, The Wisconsin Experience, and Your Work
  • Creative Writing To Envision A Future Full Of IDEAs
  • Speed Mentoring
  • When You Assume, You Make a (Bleep) Out of You and Me: How to Evaluate Your Assumptions and Reduce Bias in Your Decisions
  • Get Up and Start Dancing: Creating Psychologically Safe Spaces to Foster Inclusion
  • Inclusive Leadership with CDW
  • Inclusive and Equitable Recruitment Practices: Reframing Criteria
  • Transforming Limiting Beliefs in Times of Change
  • The Value of Values: Building a Person-Focused Work Culture

Watch Session Recordings