Planners’ Picks — July 19, 2022

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

Take a stroll in our garden of resources this week. We’ll chat about empathy and proximity bias, and take a 90-second pause before responding.


:: Image of the Week

Stepping Stone with “Live Life By Example and Deed” engraved on it.

This tile is located on the path at the Allen Centennial Gardens. I came across it while taking a much-needed walk through the beautiful gardens with my family, enjoying all the space has to offer. This act of self-care was in fact following this stone’s advice by taking time to reflect, relax, and recharge along with taking in nature’s wonders.

How are you living life by example and deed? Message Rich Gassen with your ideas and we will share them in a future installment of PP.   – Rich

Note: Allen Centennial Gardens has live music and other events throughout the summer; check out their current list at

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really: Get busy living, or get busy dying.” – from the movie Shawshank Redemption 


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

10 Ways To Improve Your Company Culture

This week in the Lead Through Strengths Podcast, Lisa Cummings speaks with Samantha Smith, who talks about what it’s like to create an amazing culture at your company. She gives very specific examples of ideas you can implement, no matter what your current title is. They reference the CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) program throughout the conversation.

Happiness – The Perk that Never Gets Old

Companies often look to perks as a way of increasing staff engagement, but effective, long-lasting change comes from cultivating a work environment that satisfies people’s core psychological needs. People are yearning for care, concern, and community. They want to feel they belong – both to the organizations they have risked their health and lives for and to the family and friends they have missed spending time with through the pandemic.


:: Resources on Empathy in the Workplace

Are You Managing Your Team With Empathy Or With Fear?

When leaders begin working with an executive coach, some must be told they are instilling a degree of fear in their team members. And that is usually met with surprise and resistance: “Whadyamean I scare my people?!” Absolutely no one thinks they lead with fear. And yet as many as one-third of managers use fear in some ways in their leadership approach, and most are unaware they are doing it (and usually no one offers to tell them the truth).

Part of the problem is the word fear. It conjures up images of a boss straight out of central casting: growling threats as he puffs stale smoke from his stogie. What manager today would intentionally keep their people in a constant state of anxiety like that? Yet explicit threats are far from the only way of instilling fear.

This piece in Forbes by my wonderful coauthor Adrian Gostick is a quick 4 min read worth your time! Sometimes we leave people with impressions that we don’t intend. Empathy is the most important leadership strength these days in an uncertain world! The leaders who get it will keep their best talent.

Forbes Leadership Lessons: How Leaders Can Demonstrate Empathy and Build Stronger Teams

Whether you’re looking to grow your brand or wondering how to turn your side-hustle into a business, Forbes Leadership Lessons covers it all. This short video covers four ways to build trust and demonstrate empathy as a leader, with your host Amy Blaschka.


:: Resources on Hybrid and Remote Work

Battling ‘Proximity Bias’

“Hybrid work isn’t the future. It’s already here,” says this Senior Executive piece on running better hybrid meetings. More than half of employees now work in organizations with a hybrid model so “businesses must adapt their communications and meetings for distributed teams.” To ensure all team members feel included, a top priority should be correcting for “proximity bias,” a phenomenon where “in-person participants are treated preferably or have more opportunities to express their opinions.” To better structure meetings “to foster collaboration” between all employees, regardless of their respective locations, leaders should run a self-assessment to check if their equipment is sufficient to handle remote meetings, and to make sure “that the balance of power, and the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ syndrome doesn’t result in separate classes of subordinates.” Get the full story here.

“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt


:: Resources on Communication

The 90-second Pause is the Difference

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor Frankl

How have you learned to “respond” vs “react” to a potentially triggering event? Read this short Linkedin article to learn about the 90-second pause.

“There are some things you can’t learn from others. You have to pass through the fire.”  – Norman Douglas

3 Amazing Communication Tips from Simon Sinek

  1. EVERYTHING YOU DO IS COMMUNICATIONThink carefully about the messages your actions might be sending out. Ask people. Listening is the other half of communication.
  2. THE TORTOISE ALWAYS BEATS THE HARE”It’s about consistency vs intensity. The practice of good communication – and indeed good management – is therefore little and often.
  3. DON’T TRY TOO HARDInstead, find the people who are already interested, and focus on them. “It’s the law of diffusion of innovations. Look for the early adopters and innovators. If I can get 15-18 per cent of them to see things a certain way, there’s a tipping point and everyone comes along.”