Planners’ Picks — October 18, 2022

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

The temps are dropping, but our excitement to learn and develop as leaders is heating up. A special thanks to those of you sharing out this newsletter with others in your network, or posting some of the resources on social media. Christine Congdon shared an article on Linkedin from last week and I appreciated seeing it!

This week we explore challenging the brain, getting curious, leading with the heart, and listening more intently. Enjoy!


:: Image of the Week

Don’t forget to close all the tabs in your head too. Clear your mind!


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

How To Reduce Your Manager’s Impact On Your Mental Health

Certified executive coach Zeta Yarwood writes:

“Years ago I worked for a challenging individual. It was their behavior that led the company to have zero employee retention, with most people leaving after only a few months. Facing it on a daily basis was stressful and demoralizing, to say the least. There are bosses who can be annoying. Then there are bosses who have a serious impact on our mental and physical health. Some unintentionally. Others are fully aware of the harm they’re causing.”

What can you do when your boss is causing you so much pain and misery?

Read more from her post at

“Every time you say yes to one opportunity – cross off something on your calendar that you will now need to say no to.” – Greg McKeown

The Brain Loves A Challenge. Here’s Why.

Trying to do hard things is, well, hard. And exerting ourselves physically and mentally often feels bad. Yet we seek out these challenges without any obvious extrinsic reward. Our penchant for doing hard things that make us feel bad is what researchers call the Effort Paradox. Trying hard is costly and aversive, but it’s something humans value. Read more about why we love being challenged.

Our brain can process 100 pieces of information every second. It does so by scanning the daily horizon and honing in on patterns and preferences that are most relevant to us. It’s like doing an online search and then hitting the filter button that says: Makes The Most Sense to Me.


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

Student Employee Of The Year Nominations Now Open

The Office of Student Financial Aid is seeking nominations for Student Employee of the Year. The competition is hosted by the National Student Employment Association. There are five categories to nominate students within and scholarships will be awarded to the top student employee in each category. Students must be nominated by their supervisors. The deadline to nominate outstanding student employees is Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”  –  Nelson Mandella   

Curiosity: The Neglected Trait That Drives Success

Exploring your curiosity can be incredibly good for your mind, with benefits for learning, creativity and even job enjoyment. Scientists have now been looking for ways to cultivate more curiosity in our lives – and even simple interventions could reap enormous benefits.


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

Don’t Wait For Perfection

From Dani Saveker’s LEAPS Newsletter recently:

I think many of us have experienced being caught up in trying to create perfection: for our board report, cooking the most incredible meal, just the right email, our relationships, our appearance, our marketing campaign…I could go on. I’ve re-learnt that aiming for perfection can lead to a number of challenges, from stopping or delaying actions (or ‘failure to ship’ as marketing expert and author Seth Godin puts it) to feeling like nothing is ever good enough – and judging ourselves harshly as perfection hasn’t been achieved.

I’ve realized over the years that perfection is usually just a judgement call anyway. What I see as perfection may well differ to someone else. In things that I create, I judge in a far more detailed way – and apply a much more self-critical lens. I know I am guilty of actively looking for the mistakes rather than focusing on the positive points, most of us do this. This has got me thinking that we probably all need:

  • to get out of our way (or out of our own head)
  • to just send / begin / try
  • to realize we are the worst judges of our own perfection
  • to realize perfection is usually unrealistic – if even possible
  • to understand if you don’t send something out of fear, perfection is irrelevant anyway
  • to relax: we don’t always need to take things so personally

In summary, life is too short to wait for perfection, but trying our best and realizing that we can always improve and iterate is far more useful.

Tedx: Servant Leadership — How To Lead With The Heart

What should be the profile of today’s leader in an increasingly competitive context as it is today? How should a leader behave while facing many challenges and still required to get performant results. Challenges such as budget cuts, more competitive markets locally and internationally … more demanding customers … and a market that demands greater quality and agility in our products and services. Adding to that, employees which may find it difficult to adapt to these changes which are taking place faster and faster … Liz Theophille, a Senior IT leader with a multicultural international experience in many large corporate companies will tell us more about how she applies leading with the heart and servant leadership in her daily work with some concrete examples.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

Linkedin Learning: Grow Yourself, Grow Your Leaders with Whitney Johnson

Over the past several years, organizations have been thrust into a sea of relentless change and unpredictable disruption. Talent retention, employee engagement, and organizational structures are all being disrupted at a rapid pace. To succeed, leaders need to create conditions where teams not only survivechange, but also succeed and grow from it. Join thought leader and popular podcast host Whitney Johnson as she shares her original framework that’s proven to help individuals, and those they lead, accelerate learning and vault to success.

Whitney—a LinkedIn Influencer with nearly two million followers—introduces you to the S Curve of Learning, a simple model that provides a common language to talk about growth and change. As you get smart about growth, you’ll move up the S Curve individually, and in doing so, gain the tools to grow your team. Knowing that companies don’t disrupt, people do, you’ll be better able to embrace change and achieve your audacious goals.


:: Resources on Remote and Hybrid Team Management

The Best Team Building Exercises For Employees Working At Home

Working remotely has boomed in a big way. Many businesses were quick to pivot to a virtual office during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their employees healthy without sacrificing productivity. According to an MIT report, 34 percent of previous commuters worked from home by the first week of April 2020.

But even before the pandemic, the remote workplace has seen steady growth. Remote work grew by 44 percent over the past five years (and by 159 percent if we go all the way back to 2005). Close to five million non-self-employed people worked from a home office at least half-time before the pandemic began, according to statistics analyzed by Flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics.

According to a University of Chicago publication, workers could do 37 percent of jobs in America entirely from home. Therefore, it’s not shocking that many businesses plan to shift some their employees to permanently work from home. In fact, 74 percent of CFOs surveyed at the end of March 2020 said they anticipated 5 percent or more of their previously office-bound workforce to permanently work from home.

Working from home can offer a wealth of benefits. It can eliminate lengthy or stressful commutes (which is a win for the environment, too) and give employees the ability to customize their workspaces. But managing a remote team introduces new challenges. Managers must make sure employees feel connected to their colleagues when they don’t have the opportunity to catch up in person at the water cooler or in the break room.

Be Aware of Proximity Bias: The Flip Side to Return to Work

It wasn’t too long ago that having an office or desk next to coworkers could be a dangerous health risk. Now it could be a career booster, even for underperforming employees.

As leaders and employees engage in a tug-of-war over remote work, both sides are reporting, anecdotally at least, that those who are returning to the office are getting assigned to higher profile projects, having more of a say in decision-making, receiving more favorable performance reviews, and more. Known as “proximity bias,” it’s the idea that people in the physical presence of their teams or leaders are harder, more productive workers. Managers and employees say they are increasingly seeing those who are heeding the call to return to the office being rewarded—regardless of performance—while those who are resisting are being excluded.


:: Resources on Communication

Broaden Your Influence by Adapting How You Listen

As employees of a communication company, everyone on our team feels extra pressure to be a strong communicator. How well we actually listen to what clients tell us determines whether they think we can help them transform.

The truth is, we haven’t been consistently good at this. When two of my senior employees came to me a few years ago and said, “Nancy, we have a listening problem here at Duarte,” I wasn’t shocked. We’d had several projects that we’d estimated poorly and scoped wrong. Our communication experts were finding that when they met with clients to begin work on a project, its scope and goals were often different from what they’d been told they would be — a situation that was both frustrating and expensive.

“Life presents an endless series of interruptions and distractions. You will continually be pulled off course or asked to put out a fire created by someone else. People will disrespect your time and steal your attention—usually with no intention of malice, but simply because different people have different priorities. When your day is interrupted or your progress stalls, it’s easy for your mindset to collapse as well. You may feel guilty for not following through on what you intended to do. But you are not guilty, you are human. Everyone gets distracted. In many ways, the real divide is between those who get back on track quickly and those who let interruptions expand into longer periods of inactivity. Top performers get back on track faster than most. This is the skill to develop. You will be interrupted, but you can choose to keep it brief.” – James Clear

9 Tips for Setting Boundaries at a New Job (or Current One!)

From Arianna Huffington: “One of my favorite micro steps for setting boundaries with work is declaring an end to the day, even if you haven’t completed your to-do list, but have taken care of the essential priorities. Love these additional tips for setting the boundaries you need to succeed without burning out.” Click on the link in the post for a full article.