Planners’ Picks — October 17, 2023

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

We look at the things in our control and decide how to move forward this week in PP. We also dip into love, disconnection, and empathy as we sift and winnow.


:: Image of the Week

If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.

What’s in your control? What can you influence? Focus on those things and you’ll be better off.

“The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence.” –– Roy T. Bennett


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

What’s in Your Control?

Author James Clear on decision-making:
“One filter I use for making decisions: How much can I influence the outcome after the initial choice is made? When I can do a lot to influence the outcome, I’m less worried about risk. Even if the choice appears risky on the surface, I can likely create a good outcome with effort. When I can’t do much to influence the outcome, I’m more risk averse. Even my best effort won’t move the needle. Your ability to influence the outcome after a decision is made is a crucial thing to consider.”

From James’ weekly 3-2-1 Newsletter:

“I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.” – Charlotte Brontë

Shifting from Star Performer to Star Manager

You’ve always been a high achiever—top of your class, captain of your sports teams, star performer at work. Now, you’re going to be managing a team of high-performers in a division of your company that everyone’s buzzing about. You’re confident that you can navigate this new challenge with characteristic success. This article from 2015 still resonates with those of us who are promoted into a leadership role based on our solid performance as a performer in our field.


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

The Pleasure-Pain Balance

While we need both pain and pleasure to survive, we’re wired to be more motivated to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. Studies have demonstrated time and time again that people will do much more to avoid short-term pain than they will to gain short-term pleasure. See more about the science behind this concept with our host, Dr. Melissa Hughes.

How Curiosity Can Help Us Overcome Disconnection

Here are four steps to practicing deep curiosity about the perspectives, stories, and humanity of others.

Curiosity begs us to ask questions that invite nuance and surprise. Rather than “What should I do to make money?,” we ask ourselves, “When I’m really flourishing, what does that look like?” Instead of “Are you a Democrat or a Republican?,” we ask others, “What values are important to you?” Rather than “Where did my ancestors come from?,” we ask, “How do I stay connected to them throughout my life?”

Author Scott Shigeoka developed an overarching framework called DIVE to help us access our deep curiosity.

“It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers.” —James Thurber


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

Love: A Workplace Value with Renée Smith

In this special segment of “To Work: With Love,” Nikki Lewallen Gregory invites Renée Smith to explore the transformative power of love in leadership and the workplace. Amid the prevalent challenges people face in modern workplaces, including stress, burnout, and loneliness, she advocates for a paradigm shift toward love-based leadership, believing operationalizing love in the workplace can lead to improved retention, engagement, creativity, and overall well-being for employees.

Breaking Free from Mind Traps!

The Anxiety at Work team had the great privilege of diving deep into a conversation with the incredible leadership coach, Hortense Le Gentil, on the latest episode of our podcast. We explored the journey to authentic leadership and the mental obstacles that often stand in our way. Hortense’s latest book is available to pre-order.  Grab your copy today!

Key Highlights:

  • The era of the “superhero” leader is over. Today, authenticity, vulnerability, and empathy are the cornerstones of effective leadership.
  • We all encounter “mind traps” – limiting beliefs and assumptions shaped by societal pressures and our own experiences.
  • Embracing the “path of roses” means having the courage to listen to our inner wisdom, rewrite our stories, and lead authentically.
  • Empathy isn’t just a buzzword – it’s a vital skill for understanding and connecting with our teams and customers.


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

How Minds Change
(UW-Madison’s Selection for the Go Big Read 2023)

Delving into the latest research of psychologists and neuroscientists, HOW MINDS CHANGE explores the limits of reasoning, the power of groupthink, and the effects of deep canvassing.

Told with McRaney’s trademark sense of humor, compassion, and scientific curiosity, it’s an eye-opening journey among cult members, conspiracy theorists, and political activists, from Westboro Baptist Church picketers to LGBTQ campaigners in California – that ultimately challenges us to question our own motives and beliefs. In an age of dangerous conspiratorial thinking, can we rise to the occasion with empathy?

An expansive, big-hearted journalistic narrative, HOW MINDS CHANGE reaches surprising and thought-provoking conclusions, to demonstrate the rare but transformative circumstances under which minds can change.

“A riveting read on the art and science of persuasion. David McRaney’s brilliant book will force you to rethink your views about how to motivate other people to rethink theirs. In a time when too many minds seem closed, this is a masterful analysis of what it takes to open them.” – Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the podcast WorkLife

Approachable and empathetic, How Minds Change is a thoughtful and pressing text for the current age. McRaney condenses dense scientific research into useful, ethical techniques for anyone interested in not just how we come to form beliefs, but why we come to identify ourselves with particular schools of thought. How Minds Change suggests that transformation is not just possible, but necessary as we strive towards meaningful connection in divisive times.

Find more information from Raney, including a video interview, at:

Join in a live discussion with David Raney at the UW-Madison Go Big Read event November 7th!


:: Resources on Communication

Are You the A*Hole?

Worried that you might be wrong in that argument you’re having? Intellectual humility can help. Watch this short video from The Greater Good Magazine about conflict and communication, to figure out how to decide if you are in the right or in the wrong when in a conflict. {CAUTION} some mild profanity, in that they don’t always say A*Hole during the video.

The Power of Empathy in Leadership: Building Stronger Connections with Your Team

Empathy is a powerful tool for building stronger connections with your team. As a leader, when you show empathy, you demonstrate that you care about your team members and understand their perspectives. This helps to create a positive work environment where people feel valued and supported, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction. Empathetic leaders are also more likely to create a culture of collaboration, where team members work together towards a common goal. They can identify and address any challenges or issues that arise, which helps to build trust and strengthens the relationships within the team. This approach can lead to better problem-solving, increased innovation, and higher levels of success for the organization as a whole. Read this article by Heather Younger about some ways to promote empathy in your communication and interactions with the team.