Planners’ Picks — December 12, 2023

Planners’ Picks 

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

December is in full swing: we are on the cusp of exams, a holiday break, and a new year. Are you ready? Let’s talk about progress, covering, and leading change this week.


:: Image of the Week

Straight line with “This is progress.”
Crooked line with “This is also progress.”
Really crazy squiggly line with “And so is this.”

Progress is rarely a linear process. Be okay with bumps in the road, detours, and pit stops. Sometimes that’s where the real value lies.

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” —Booker T. Washington


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

How to Practice Gratitude: The Evidence

Gratitude is one the most powerful mindset hacks that can have a massive impact on your resilience and quality of life. In this video, Dr. Jonathan Fisher discusses the scientific benefits of practicing gratitude and the best ways to get started.

“Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.” – Rumi


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

5 Ways To Be A Leader (Even If You’re Not The Boss)

A common misconception is that to be a leader, you have to be the boss; this is simply untrue. While the terms are used interchangeably (admittedly by me as well), they aren’t the same thing because they entail different qualities. Not all leaders are bosses, and not all bosses are leaders. If mentioning this difference doesn’t spark an immediate flash of recognition about some of your former managers, you’ve been lucky.

True leaders exemplify integrity, are not dishonest or bullies, and do not discriminate or harass. Explore the 5 Ps of leadership with Liz Elting in this Fast Company article.

Are You Covering?

This post from the writer of the weekly “Better Allies” allyship newsletter asks if we are covering or downplaying certain aspects of their identity to blend into the mainstream workplace culture.

Roughly 60% of respondents said they’d covered in the past year, and 40% stated their team leaders consciously or unconsciously expect them to cover.

Covering comes at a cost, impacting an employee’s ability to do their job. As Kenji Yoshino, a professor at NYU and co-author of the study, explained, “When people have to work their identities instead of working their jobs, that can be a huge tax on them and on the organization because the organization is likely not going to get the best from them.”  Read more about this concept below.

How to Work With ‘Almost’ Anyone

Navigating the evolving landscape of work, the focus is increasingly on building meaningful relationships. In this episode, we are joined by Michael Bungay Stanier, a thought leader on leadership coaching. He emphasized having intentional “keystone conversations” to align on how you will collaborate.

“Having these conversations sets the relationship up for success”

This involves asking and answering 5 powerful questions before starting work:

  1. The Amplify Question: What’s your best? Understand what ignites someone’s passion.
  2. The Steady Question: What are your practices and preferences? Learn how someone works best.
  3. The Good Date Question: What can you learn from successful past relationships? Draw on what has worked before.
  4. The Bad Date Question: What can you learn from frustrating past relationships? Take responsibility for your role.
  5. The Repair Question: How will you fix it when things go wrong? Have a plan to reconnect.

He also shared principles for maintaining connections, including openness, constantly adjusting, and repairing quickly. Michael invites you to initiate these relationship-building keystone conversations. “Be the one who reaches out first,”.

Want to work better with almost anyone? Check out the full discussion below.


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

A Short Motivational Speech by Mel Robbins

Life isn’t going to wait around for you to go after your dreams. You have to start working on them TODAY. Stop doubting yourself and get out there. Listen to this short video by Mel Robbins on paving the path to your dreams, regardless of what they are.

3 Pieces of (Bad) Leadership Advice Women Get

Women in leadership get a lot of advice, most of it unhelpful. The first step in finding our way is to recognize and reject poor direction, so let’s take a look at three main types of advice served up to women by career gurus:

    1. Lean in
    2. Aim to please
    3. Walk the tightrope

Jocelyn Davis is an internationally known author and speaker, formerly EVP, Research & Development, for The Forum Corporation, a global leadership and sales development consultancy serving Fortune 1000 clients. Read this article by her about ways to reframe these three pieces of advice into better calls to action.


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

Bending Granite: 30 + True Stories about Leading Change

Read from local leaders in the Madison area about their quests to implement process improvements and change initiatives within each of their organizations. These real stories of positive change share the hope that we can make things better, even if you must bend granite to make it happen.

This book is for practitioners of change:

  • Team leaders and committee chairs
  • Managers and supervisors at all levels
  • CEOs, Board Members, and executive leadership
  • Consultants
  • Educators, trainers, and students
  • Anyone working to create change for the better

“Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” – Kathrin Jansen


:: Resources on Remote and Hybrid Work

7 Questions To Help Your Team Reflect On The Year

Here’s a post from Karin Hurt and David Dye on checking in with your team. Being curious and engaging with them will instill belonging and trust about future goals and projects too!


:: Resources on Networking Opportunities

CSN isn’t the only opportunity to network at UW-Madison. Here are other options for more specific groups based on your needs.

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Employee Network

The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Employee Network is a group of campus employees focused on improving the overall work experience of BIPOC employees at UW–Madison through raising awareness of issues that impact BIPOC employees, advocacy, and community-building.

The BIPOC Employee Network’s goal is to intentionally center the voices and needs of BIPOC employees to create a campus culture and community that is more welcoming and inclusive, which ultimately contributes to enhanced BIPOC employee retention and work engagement. This group works to be inclusive of all employment categories and does not represent the university or any specific academic or work unit.

More info and contact information:

“You know you’re in a community of practice when it changes your practice.” — Harold Jarche

Lab Management – Community of Practice

Community-driven best practices for lab management professionals at UW-Madison. Collaborate with colleagues who share similar challenges. Share your expertise. Join us to discuss ways to optimize lab and core success. This community is for anyone who is in a lab management role including research labs, core labs and instructional labs.


A large list of other CoPs at UW-Madison can be found here:

Share these with staff when applicable!


:: Upcoming Events 

Seeking Proposals for Student Employee Diversity Forum

We invite you to submit a workshop proposal for the Student Employee Diversity Forum!  The annual forum is an opportunity to bring student employees together to exchange ideas which engage in a variety of topics on diversity, identity, and inclusion.  We are seeking dynamic and engaging workshops to inspire, empower, and educate our student employees.

The deadline for proposals is Sunday, December 17th at 11:59 pm.  Below are details of the forum and the link to submit a proposal.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Gordon Dining & Event Center

11:00am – 3:00pm

Forum Learning Outcomes & Goals

  • Communicate new perspectives and knowledge to participants, providing a foundation for mindful discussion.
  • Develop valuable skills that will foster and encourage an expanded awareness surrounding diversity, identity and inclusion.
  • Empower participants to express their identity and feel confident in their ability to create inclusive environments.

View a PDF of the Forum Proposal Forum 

Submit your Proposal Here (full link copied below)

If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Student Employment Team in the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Thank you for your interest in elevating this work with our student employees on campus.  We look forward to receiving your workshop proposals.

Proposal Link:

Webinar Helps Employees Manage the Winter Blues

LifeMatters and the Employee Assistance Office are offering a virtual webinar, The Winter Blues, on Monday, Dec. 18, from 12-1 p.m. via Zoom. The transition into the winter season can bring lowered energy and a change in mood. Webinar participants will learn about the causes and effects of the winter blues, the difference between “the blues” and Seasonal Affective Disorder, and tips for individuals and families. The webinar is offered at no cost to all UW–Madison employees. Register online to receive the Zoom link. Learn more at

Nominations Open for Academic Staff Excellence Awards

Each year, UW–Madison and Universities of Wisconsin honor academic staff members for their achievements and dedication to excellence. The UW‒Madison Academic Staff Excellence Awards will honor ten individuals in eight categories. A new award this year, the WISCIENCE Lillian Tong Teaching Award, will alternate each year between honoring an academic staff member and a faculty member. In addition to the UW-Madison Awards, the Regents Academic Staff Excellence Awards will honor academic staff in two categories. Nominations, including self-nominations, are welcome from the UW‒Madison community. Resubmissions are encouraged and should include updated materials. Nomination materials for all awards should be submitted electronically and must be submitted by Jan. 29, 2024.