Planners’ Picks — August 29, 2023

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning


It’s time to get lost in a good book before the busyness of fall sets in. It’s also time to figure out how to work with that person you can’t stand, and how to turn the power of mindset into action, all spelled out in this week’s installment of PP.

:: Image of the Week

Any accomplishment started as nothing. Someone had an idea; they were brave enough to just get started; to learn new things, to overcome setbacks, to keep going until their effort created something real.

This week’s image speaks to everyone who’s had an idea and was brave enough to just get started. Some CSN members could relate to this graphic after reflecting on the CSN Summer of Gratitude initiative; while the idea and the end result may not match exactly, it’s that crucial step of taking action that turns any great idea into reality through effort. Ideas without action are nothing.

Look around: everything you see was once just an idea that someone envisioned and turned into a reality. You have your own ideas and they’re within you for a reason: they want you to make them a reality. In order to do that, you have to overcome the greatest barrier there is: your own fear.

Everything you see was created by someone who struggled with this. They weren’t endowed with some sort of super-special armor that prevented them from feeling afraid. They felt it, but they found a way to work with and to overcome their fear, to quiet the voice in the head that said “You’ll fail,” or “This is a bad idea,” or “You will never figure this out.” That means that you can learn how to do this, too.

Here’s a reframe that will help, courtesy of the philosopher Bertrand Russell. He wrote: “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”

The next time that you are feeling doubt about your own ideas, remind yourself: that only means that you are filled with imagination and understanding.

What Russell is really saying is that the two go together. You can’t have wonderful ideas without the worrying thoughts, because both come from your spectacular imagination. When you choose to quiet your worries and bring your ideas to the world, you are choosing to let your imagination lead the way. That is how great ideas become real.


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

How Reading Rewires Your Brain For Higher Intelligence And Empathy

Get lost in a good book. Time and again, reading has been shown to make us healthier, smarter, and more empathic.

Reading, of course, requires patience, diligence, and determination. Scanning headlines and retweeting quips is not going to make much cognitive difference. If anything, such sweet nothings are dangerous, the literary equivalent of sugar addiction. Information gathering in under 140 characters is lazy. The benefits of contemplation through narrative offer another story.

The benefits are plenty, which is especially important in a distracted, smartphone age in which one-quarter of American children don’t learn to read. This not only endangers them socially and intellectually, but cognitively handicaps them for life.

“People don’t want a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” –  Theodore Levitt

A People Leader’s Guide to Mental Health Conversations

Creating a safe and supportive space for open dialogue about mental health is not only crucial in the workplace, but a fundamental tenet of the work of great people leaders.

People leaders play a vital role in fostering a culture of empathy and understanding, which is essential to people well-being, mental health success and, consequently, to business success. People leaders have a unique opportunity to create an environment at work where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health challenges and seeking support when needed.


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

Leadership vs. Management: What’s the Difference?

As disciplines, leadership and management complement and yet compete with each other. They’re interdependent but not interchangeable. They represent different roles, but not different people. Depending on your team’s needs and circumstances, you’ll have to get the right blend of both. See the full list from Leader Factor at the link below. Review the differences and then ask yourself: “What leadership-to-management ratio does my current role require?” Then ask, “Where are my gaps and how can I close them?”

New Research Reveals The 30 Critiques Holding Women Back From Leadership That Most Men Will Never Hear

A recent study of the 33 biggest multilateral institutions found that of 382 leaders in their history only 47 have been women. And the percentage of women running Fortune 500 companies has only just recently crested a meager 10%.

As researchers we wondered why institutions consistently fail to promote women to top jobs. Our recent study of 913 women leaders from four female-dominated industries in the U.S. (higher education, faith-based nonprofits, law, and healthcare) sheds light on this pernicious problem. As we found, there’s always a reason why women are “never quite right” for leadership roles.

Women are criticized so often and on so many things that they are acculturated to receiving such disparagement, taking it seriously, and working to make improvements. And any individual woman may take it personally, believing the criticism directed at her to be warranted.

But our research reveals that the problem lies elsewhere. Virtually any characteristic can be leveraged against a woman in a discriminatory fashion. Such criticisms often relate to facets of women’s identity in an overt or subtle way, such as race, age, parental status, attractiveness, and physical ability.

More on this topic in the Fast Company article.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

How To Get Better At The Things You Care About

Working hard but not improving? You’re not alone. Eduardo Briceño reveals a simple way to think about getting better at the things you do, whether that’s work, parenting or creative hobbies. And he shares some useful techniques so you can keep learning and always feel like you’re moving forward. Is the author of The Performance Paradox: Turning the Power of Mindset into Action, which will be released September 5th.


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

How To Work With Someone You Can’t Stand

You can pick your friends, but you can’t usually pick your coworkers. Chances are you’ll work with someone you don’t like during your career, and there may even be someone on your team right now that you can’t stand.

While working remotely limits the number of interactions you have to have with the person, it can also limit information and make the situation worse, says Carlos Valdes-Dapena, author of Virtual Teams: Holding the Center When You Can’t Meet Face-to-Face. Valdes-Dapena says there are steps you can take to make the situation more bearable.

New HR Webpage: Manager/Supervisor Compensation Resources

There has been continued work to strengthen UW-Madison’s position as an employer of choice and to support employees to grow and advance at the university. Managers and supervisors have a critical role in supporting employee career development. To equip you with the knowledge and skills needed, several compensation resources are available for you in supporting employees through compensation-related best practices.

New Learning and Talent Development Course: Coaching Employees for Retention and Career Development

This 3-hour class for supervisors and managers focuses on coaching to dialogue with employees about career development. Investing in an employee’s growth shows that you and the university value them. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend the Coaching and Developing Others workshop or be familiar with the content before attending this class.


:: Resources on Developing Better Habits

Adam Grant and James Clear on Atomic Habits

As a blogger and executive coach, James Clear spent years studying how to form and change habits. His research culminated in the book “Atomic Habits”, which has sold more than 15 million copies and been translated into over 50 languages. James speaks with Adam about changing our systems for achieving goals, building habits around identities as well as actions, and accumulating small wins that add up to big change.

“It’s hard to grow beyond something if you won’t let go of it.” —James Clear


:: Take Five*

*Note: CSN occasionally adds “Take Five” articles to take you off the beaten path. Articles will be about local or regional areas of interest, but not necessarily focused on leadership development. The intent is for you to take a break from being a leader and relax for a moment!

Campus After Dark

Nightshift workers played a significant part in your UW experience. You just didn’t know it.

At UW–Madison, it takes thousands of behind-the-scenes workers to keep the world-class research university and $3.7 billion enterprise operating overnight. They clean bathrooms, lock doors, open gates, heat buildings, and support students who seemingly never sleep. For most of these workers, a job well done at night means that in the morning no one else even notices that they were there.

Meet just a few of the dedicated workers who make the UW–Madison experience possible.


:: Upcoming Events

Elevate Wisconsin – The Course to Financial Security

As a UW employee, you have access to free financial education training from setting a budget, to understanding complex investment strategies. Elevate Wisconsin allows you to select and complete classes in any order that suits your needs and interests. Register your account today, and check it out!