Planners’ Picks — April 11, 2023

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

Are you taking everything personally? [Hint: It might not be about you.] Let’s create psychological safety in our teams, talk generationally, and disagree with our bosses respectfully in this installment of PP.


:: Image of the Week

Someone's actions aren't about you; they're about them.

It’s Not About You

When someone is quiet in a conversation, what’s your immediate assumption? They aren’t having fun hanging out with me.

When someone cancels plans, what’s your immediate assumption? They must be trying to avoid me.

When someone is grumpy in a meeting, what’s your immediate assumption? They think I’m bad at my job.

We jump to these conclusions based upon someone’s behavior, and in the process, take their actions personally. When that happens, we miss the far-more-likely cause of the behavior: them, their needs, their challenges.

They’re quiet because they process information differently than you do. They’re canceling plans because they’re recovering from an illness. They’re grumpy because they are stressed about a sick loved one.

Taking it personally is really about making someone else’s behavior about us, when most of the time, it’s about them. While it’s positioned as a selfless thing to assume that someone’s actions are about you, it ends up being pretty self-centered. Look at those examples above: what’s the common denominator? Me, me, me.

The next time that you catch yourself taking it personally, take a step back and ask yourself, “What is going on for them right now? What am I missing?”

From the weekly newsletter The New Happy –


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

3 Powerful Ways To Stay Positive

We’ve all received the well-meaning advice to “stay positive.” The greater the challenge, the more this glass-half-full wisdom can come across as Pollyannaish and unrealistic. It’s hard to find the motivation to focus on the positive when positivity seems like nothing more than wishful thinking.

The real obstacle to positivity is that our brains are hard-wired to look for and focus on threats. This survival mechanism served humankind well back when we were hunters and gatherers, living each day with the very real threat of being killed by someone or something in our immediate surroundings.

Maintaining positivity is a daily challenge that requires focus and attention. You must be intentional about staying positive if you’re going to overcome the brain’s tendency to focus on threats. It won’t happen by accident.

“The goal of life is to die young — as late as possible!” – Ashley Montagu


:: Resources on Communication

Using Mirroring in Meetings and Conversations

This information is from Grace Judson’s weekly blog posts.

Mirroring is a fun, simple (almost too simple to be believed) way to get someone to “say more about that” — without actually asking a question. Why not just ask the question? Because questions can quickly put people on the defensive. Even “say more about that” (a classic coaching question) can bring up resistance. Mirroring is much more subtle.

How to use the tool: Simply repeat the last two or three words they said. When you get more practice with it, you’ll find that certain phrases will jump out at you from the middle of their statement, and you can use those.

Let’s say they just said, “I’m just not sure about this new role. I don’t know if it’s the career direction I want.”

You mirror: “Career direction you want?”

And then, as always, be quiet.

They will inevitably elaborate. It’s the closest thing to a sure thing that you can get in this world: given the space (your silence), they will tell you more, and they’ll do it without even being aware that you’ve prompted them.


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

Age Diversity & the Five-Generation Workforce

“‘OK, Boomer,’ ‘Gen X cynics,’ ‘entitled Millennials,’ and ‘Gen Z snowflakes.’ We have become so entrenched in generational name-calling—or, conversely, so focused on downplaying the differences that do exist—that we have forgotten there is strength in age diversity,” write the authors of this Harvard Business Review article on harnessing the power of an intergenerational workforce. As five generations work side by side today, the authors say that, “lack of trust between older and younger workers,” causes resentment and dampens productivity. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Age-diverse teams can be managed effectively, allowing members to “share a wide array of skills, knowledge, and networks with one another.”

Drawing from tools and tactics that, “have been used by cross-cultural teams for decades,” the authors offer a four-part framework for leading age-diverse groups.

1. Identify your assumptions
2. Adjust your lens
3. Take advantage of differences
4. Embrace mutual learning

For each of the four parts in the framework, the authors offer an activity with detailed instructions to bring each step to life. Working through these steps can help leaders frame age-diverse talent as “an opportunity to be seized rather than a threat to be managed.” Get the full story here.

The Cure For Burnout Isn’t Self-Care

A healthy amount of stress is so important for personal growth, but chronic stress that demands our attention 24/7 can disconnect us from our work, colleagues, and purpose.

This is burnout, and Jennifer Moss observes that we are facing an epidemic. She’s an award-winning journalist, columnist, and author of The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It.

But contrary to popular wisdom, making time for that bubble bath or movie night isn’t the solution. Burnout is a “we” problem, and the root causes are at the organizational level.

In this podcast episode of Disrupt Yourself with Whitney Johnson, Jennifer shares her surprising research on where burnout comes from, why it’s worse than it’s ever been, and why we need a system of preventative care.

What Science Can Tell Us About Building Great Teams

Assembling and managing successful teams is a core leadership skill, whether you are convening a temporary task force, managing a full department, or running a school fundraiser.

But how well do you understand what makes a great team? If you think it’s simply assembling a group of highly talented people and letting them do their thing, then you’re in good company. Research shows that’s what people tend to believe. But, unfortunately, you’d also be wrong.

Teams are more than the sum of their parts. In fact, sometimes having lots of top talent on a team actually hurts performance.


:: Resources on Hybrid and Remote Work

The Most Productive (and Unproductive) Time of Day

Have you ever noticed that some days, you are a productivity ninja, while others are filled with distractions and diversions? Not all days or hours of the day are created equal when it comes to productivity and cognitive performance. It turns out that timing is not an art… it’s a science!


:: Resources on Psychological Safety

The Power of Framing

Most people who have studied or practiced leadership over the past twenty years have been exposed to Amy Edmondson’s concept of “psychological safety,” which shows, through research, that in order to get better outcomes, leaders must create safe conditions for employees to voice their opinions, make mistakes, and be themselves.

In this fascinating Leading Sapiens post, Sheril Mathews drills down on one crucial aspect of creating psychological safety: The power of “framing,” which is all about how you shape and communicate information to constituents. He writes: “Leaders have an outsized influence on how things get interpreted, and the key skill is framing.” He cites a study showing the “single most powerful factor,” in the success of a new initiative was how the initiative was communicated.

Mathews says that while framing is, “a well-researched and well-understood phenomenon in the social and behavioral sciences,” still, “most leaders are not adept at using it skillfully.” To help, he has compiled a comprehensive guide—including an explanation of the key types of framing and five tips for getting better at the skill. Get the full story here.

A Leaders Role in 2023: Create Psychological Safety, Have Empathy & Be Vulnerable

It’s the Anxiety at Work podcast—Your hosts, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton have spent over two decades helping clients around the world engage their employees on strategy, vision, and values. They provide real solutions for leaders looking to manage change, drive innovation and build high-performance cultures and teams.

In this episode you will learn:
– Why we will benefit from the savviest generation of our time contributing to businesses
– Why leaders are no longer feared and on a pedestal
– Why leaders should be vulnerable and show their weaknesses
– 3 ways Leaders can manage their anxiety
– What leadership lessons can be learned from hockey?
(Be prepared: The players have the power)

Flip Your Language to Create Psychological Safety

How can we create workplaces and classrooms where everyone feels a sense of psychological safety — the freedom to speak up without fear of getting smacked down? Ozan Varol — author of the new book Awaken Your Genius — has a solution.

In his latest Pinkcast, Dan Pink offers a simple tip that every boss, teacher, and parent can use immediately. Watch the insight-packed 3-minute video here:


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

What Do Your Habits Say About You?

Habits are routine behaviors that are so ingrained in us that we repeat them on a regular basis. They include such things as our morning routine, gym schedule, and how we begin our workday. Even though most habits are performed without thinking, give this some thought: When was the last time you challenged your routines?

“Everything Worthwhile Has A Personal Cost.” ~ Frank Reagan, Blue Bloods

What Makes a Great Boss a Great Boss
(… and 9 Signs That You Have One)

People spend about 30% of their waking hours at work during their working lifetime. On average, people spend between 8 and 9 hours a day working (from an office or remotely).

It’s only natural to think that whatever happens at work will impact a person’s mental health, well-being, and wellness. And since people work with teams and bosses, it’s also evident that the “boss” can have both a positive and negative impact on the people they lead.

Recent research found that managers impact their employees’ mental health more than doctors or therapists and as much as their spouses or partners. It’s shocking, but not surprising, that the adage “people don’t leave companies, they leave bad bosses” is actually true.


:: Linkedin Learning Courses

Disagreeing with Someone Senior to You

Your boss is excited about a new initiative that you think is doomed to fail. Your senior colleague proposes a project timeline you worry is unrealistic. It’s tempting to just agree or go along with that person. After all, that can be easier than speaking up. But that’s not always the best approach. How do you decide when it’s worth saying something? And if you do speak up, what should you say? In this course, workplace expert Amy Gallo shows you how to assess if voicing your disagreement with someone who has more power than you is the right course of action (it often is!), and then how to do it in ways most likely to give you the best results. She also covers how to lay the groundwork in some of your most critical relationships, so that disagreeing is easier to do, despite the power dynamic.