Planners’ Picks — August 22, 2023

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

We are so grateful for those of you who came to our Summer of Gratitude Gathering last week and the other events we hosted this summer; our community is stronger because of your involvement, and we thank you for taking the time for some socializing and self-care!

This week we start to prepare for the beginning of another semester at UW-Madison: How do you embrace change, deal with unexpected news, and keep your inner child alive? How do you deal with imposter syndrome, or ease into work after a long leave? Find out below in these helpful resources.

:: Image of the Week

You may not always see the results of your kindness, but every bit of positive energy you contribute to the world makes it a better place for all of us. - LISA CURRIE

“You may not always see the results of your kindness, but every bit of positive energy you contribute to the world makes it a better place for all of us.” – Lisa Currie


:: Summer of Gratitude Resources

Can You Be Grateful Without Saying Thanks?

Practicing gratitude for life’s random blessings could make us happier and more generous—just like gratitude directed at other people. Though we tend to assume gratitude is always directed at other people, a new paper found that we can feel gratitude simply for the moment. In other words, gratitude may exist in different forms and still retain similar benefits for our happiness, which means that it is accessible in all kinds of situations in life.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

The 3 Best Things To Do When Life Throws You A Career Curveball

One day you’re casually moving through your career; the next, you’re sideswiped by negative, unexpected news. Your natural response to a negative event may be to lash out in anger, denial, or sadness (or a combination of all three), but an immediate reaction fueled by these powerful emotions isn’t always the wisest course of action as it often leads to bad decisions and regrettable actions. Forbes contributor Amy Blaschka tells us how to navigate these situations more gracefully.

“Time passes whether I stand still or move.”  – Anne Barngrover 

How Improv Makes You More Confident and Less Anxious

Just 20 minutes of improv theater can foster creativity and confidence, and help with anxiety, depression, and your ability to tolerate uncertainty. Listen to the Science of Happiness Podcast for more on this topic that is laughable for sure.

Keeping Your Inner Child Alive with Mark Reid

What is it you enjoy about being alive? Making the case for putting curiosity and playfulness on your daily to-do list. Moreover, see the inner child in Others. Embrace their imperfections and forgive their goofs, just as you would a child. Listen to this short podcast episode of Zen Sammich to understand how play and child-like wonder can bring us back to reality.


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

How to Start Better With Peers, with Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier is the author of eight books, including The Coaching Habit, which has sold more than a million copies and is the best-selling book on coaching this century.

Michael is the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that’s trained thousands of people around the world to be more coach-like. He has been featured in many publications including Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company. His TEDx Talk on Taming Your Advice Monster has been viewed more than a million times. Michael’s newest book is How to Work with (Almost) Anyone: Building the Best Possible Relationship*.

Most leaders recognize the critical nature of healthy, peer relationships. Yet, few leaders lay an intentional foundation for success as those relationships start. In this episode, Michael and I discuss how to start with peers using the five questions in a Keystone Conversation. Listen to this interview with Michael on some of the concepts from his book.

Career counseling available as an employee benefit

UW‒Madison employees have access to free career counseling. The Employee Career Counseling Program gives employees the skills to manage, develop, and plan their careers at UW‒Madison. One-on-one, confidential counseling can help participants develop self-awareness, explore career choices, set goals, and develop an action plan. Employees who are ready for their next opportunity or who are experiencing career challenges of any kind can benefit from career counseling. To set up an appointment with a career counselor, call 608-265-2257 or send an email to

More information »

“So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul, Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”  –  From “You Learn” by Jorge Luis Borges


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

Supporting Return to Work After Maternity Leave

Danna Greenberg is the Walter H. Carpenter Professor of Organizational Behavior at Babson College. Her main area of research focuses on understanding the intersection between individuals’ work and non-work lives as they move through their careers. Her scholarship is guided by the belief that individuals can and should be able to live full lives at work and at home and that by challenging current assumptions regarding work we can find better ways for businesses, families, and communities to thrive.

She is the co-author with Jamie Ladge of Maternal Optimism: Forging Positive Paths Through Work and Motherhood. When women return to work after a baby, there’s a lot our society implies about how that’s supposed to look. Danna’s research finds that this can look very different for every family. In this Coaching for Leaders podcast episode, a few things that women, their partners, and their managers can do to support a better transition in returning to work.

The #1 Fix For Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome holds you back and keeps you from taking that next big step. If you let it overpower you, nothing good will ever happen in your life. You will remain where you are, stuck in an unhealthy loop. In this episode, April Shprintz shares a simple yet impactful exercise that will help you escape the grip of imposter syndrome and unlock a more meaningful version of yourself. Join April as she brings her infectious energy, passion and expertise in helping people from all walks of life master their mindset and begin to create massive success in all areas of their life.


:: Resources on Communication

Do You Want to Be Heard or Understood?

Did you ever attend a party where one person dominates the conversation? They think they’re on stage, performing for an audience. Similarly, have you ever attended a meeting where one person rambles on and on and on? We assume they’re trying to make a point, but can’t figure out what. We wonder whether they’re trying to deliver a message or just want to hear themselves talk. In any case, the audience may be listening, but the message isn’t being heard.

There’s a big difference between being heard and being understood. Read more from Frank Sonnenberg on this topic of speaking to be understood.


:: Resources on Change Management

Four Steps to Get Unstuck and Embrace Change

Susan David is a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School; cofounder and codirector of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital; and CEO of Evidence Based Psychology. She is the author of the bestselling book Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life*. She covers four critical points in this recording to get unstuck and embrace change.

“Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.”  – Unknown


 :: Upcoming Events

CultureCon Webinar – PowerFOR+: The Whole Picture of Leadership

Date & Time: Sep 12, 2023, 11:30 AM

Join former UW-Madison facilitator Darin Harris to learn a simple, effective approach to solving complex problems called PowerFOR+. This method integrates health and wellness with strategy and planning. As a result, it improves employee retention, increases creativity, and builds organizational resilience. This approach has been field tested with hundreds of people across diverse sectors, most recently with public health directors across the State of Wisconsin during the pandemic.

After this session, you’ll know…

1) The four frames (dimensions) of ANY complex problem.

2) How to apply these frames to meetings, projects, and events.

3) Up to five simple, scalable employee engagement techniques to increase participation.

New LTD Course for Managers and Supervisors

Coaching Employees for Retention and Career Development provides managers and supervisors with the skills to retain and develop employees through coaching.

Upcoming class dates are:

  • 8/23/2023 (1-4 p.m.) in-person
  • 10/2/2023 (12:30-3:30 p.m.) in-person
  • 11/8/2023 (9:00 a.m.–noon) in-person
  • 12/12/2023 (8:30-11:30 a.m.) virtual


Also, see the Manager/Supervisor Compensation Resources, to support employees through compensation-related best practices.

What Matters at Work Course Preview

From former UW facilitator Harry Webne-Behrman:

I am thrilled to announce the launch of a new course site for What Matters at Work! Partnering with my awesome friend and former UW-Madison colleague, Julie Kovalaske, we are now offering both self-guided and live online courses  based upon material in my books, What Matters at Work and What Matters in This Moment.  The classes help all of us cultivate and nourish our capacities to lead change efforts that are truly collaborative, sustainable, and meaningful to our organizations and communities.

Julie and I are excited to roll out these initial classes, “Creating Capacity to Lead Meaningful Change” (a self-guided course) and “Leading Groups Through Uncertain Times” (live online in October). Both are now available for registration.

In celebration of this project launch, we will also be offering a free, one-hour webinar on August 29th, “A Taste of What Matters,” where participants will be able to experience a few of the activities we offer in our courses and take-away some valuable immediate learning.