Planners’ Picks — December 19, 2023

Planners’ Picks 

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

The shortest day of the year is this week. That means that every day thereafter will be longer. How will you use your extra light to shine?  This week we will touch on burnout, belonging, being intentional with our time, and more.

Stay tuned for next week’s PP as well, where we will feature a 20-image issue in our end-of-year gift to you as leaders!


:: Image of the Week

This is how we used to kill our anxiety and stress.
Photo of three pencils with bite marks all over them.

Burnout, in its essence, is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged and excessive stress. It’s when individuals feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, individuals begin to lose the interest and motivation that led them to take on a certain role in the first place.

Common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time.
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of personal accomplishment.
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities and isolating oneself from others.
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done.
  • Becoming increasingly cynical and detached from one’s job.

Read this article from Sharon Grossman on how to forecast the signs of burnout and ways to work on it.


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

Delegate: A New 5-Step Approach

Some leaders put weight on themselves and protect others from the weight. They don’t delegate. Failure to delegate is misguided compassion or short-sighted arrogance. Maybe both. Don’t insult people’s capacity with the ridiculous notion that work should be easy. Hard work is meaningful. Ease is unremarkable. Read this great article from Leadership Freak for more information. Thanks to Robert Merrill of UW-Madison for sharing it with CSN!

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion for Successful Teams

The most successful teams are diverse, but diversity in the absence of intentional and inclusive practices is not enough. The latest evidence from the field of Team Science—the interdisciplinary, scientific study of teams—reveals that diversity’s power depends upon purposeful inclusion. If you missed their excellent talk at UW’s Diversity Forum last month, you can catch up on this very topic in the recording of the session led by ICTR’s Dr. Whitney Sweeney and Dr. Patrick Kelly.

“I practice what I want to become. We practice what we want to create.” — Adrienne Maree Brown

Building The Team You Can Depend On

In the face of talent shortages, companies must invest in their workforce and focus on retention to prepare future leaders. Here is how training and development programs can prepare top talent, enhance recruitment efforts, and drive growth. Check out this comprehensive tool from Vistage on ways to build the team of your dreams.


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

Habit Development: Being Intentional About Your Time

Susan Fennema talks with Let’s Work Network about Being Intentional With Your Time. Time management is all about being intentional, not a victim to responding to what comes at you. A primary way to be intentional is to use your calendar by structuring your day to prioritize what matters most. Developing these habits will free you up for bigger and better things.

Listen for these key tips:

  • Block calendar time for personal priorities like self-care first, before work
  • Next schedule professional priorities – focused work, meetings, obligations
  • Limit interruptions by checking email, messages, and social media during set times
  • Don’t use email as a project management tool
  • Set expectations on response times to reduce constant “emergencies”
  • Use movable time blocks to accommodate changing priorities
  • Review and adjust your calendar daily to align with priorities and energy levels
  • Balance focused time with breaks to stay energized and avoid burnout

“On any given day, you may struggle with your habits because you’re too busy or too tired or too overwhelmed or hundreds of other reasons. Over the long run, the real reason you fail to stick with habits is that your self-image gets in the way. This is why you can’t get too attached to one version of your identity. Progress requires unlearning. Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity.” – James Clear

Core Principles of Leadership

Leadership is hard, and it’s hard because it involves leading others. If you’re not ready to lead others, you should avoid becoming a leader.

Leading effectively requires a unique blend of skills, traits, and strategies that can inspire, guide, and empower followers. As a leader, you must understand that your journey to success will be challenging and rewarding.

Here are some additional core principles that help to describe what it takes for leaders to lead their followers:


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things

Adam Grant has a wonderful new book on Becoming Better Versions Of Ourselves.

The book, as Adam puts it, is about “getting better at getting better” — and not just getting better at any skill you’re developing (like diving, writing, public speaking). It’s also about getting better at getting better as people, fulfilling our drive for self-discovery, self-knowledge, and becoming better versions of ourselves – more generous, more empathetic, more giving.

In the book, Adam describes the difference between personality and character. “Personality is not your destiny—it’s your tendency,” he writes. “Character skills enable you to transcend that tendency to be true to your principles…The true test of character is whether you manage to stand by those values when the deck is stacked against you.”

Instead of doing a generic book recommendation, please read Arianna Huffington’s full review of his work in this post on LinkedIn:

If you can find the time, this 3+ hour discussion between Adam and Andrew Huberman is fantastic, and well worth the investment.

“Use the talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”  —Henry van Dyke


:: Resources on Psychological Safety & Belonging

Stories of Belonging: Finding Wholeness in a White World

Cultivating belonging could be voted the top human challenge for the twenty-first century. Meeting it is not going to come from facts alone, but will be driven by stories—all of our stories, but especially the ones yet untold. Drawing inspiration from Anima CEO Annahid Dashtgard’s recent book Bones of Belonging: Finding Wholeness in a White World, this intimate discussion pulls in an array of voices on different themes of what it means to belong as racialized individuals—in a profession, to a country, even within our own skin.

“Our relationships are a result of our ability to listen. And when we listen, we earn trust and create connection. But only if we care enough to dance with our fear.” – Seth Godin in The Song of Significance

What Does it Mean to Belong?

Definitions are vital starting points for the imagination.” We can’t practice what we can’t name. We have a deep human need to belong: it is both the antidote to and the primary driver of our current crises. Belonging properly understood must be universal and omni-considerate: belonging that only cares for “us” but not for “them” is not belonging… it’s exclusion. We must refuse the temptation to engage in what John Powell calls “othering.” Read on for more from Brian Stout on belonging in his view.


:: Resources on Communication

One-on-one Meetings Quick Guide

Here’s the secret to 𝟯𝘅 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 employee engagement: Only 38% have weekly one-on-one meetings.

Employees that have regular one-on-ones are 𝟯𝘅 more engaged on the job.  (Source: Gallup)

One-on-ones are the best investment you can make in your employees.

Ready for 3x more engagement? Use this One-On-One Meetings Quick Guide.


:: Resources on Remote and Hybrid Work

Support Remote Coworkers

At a recent speaking event, an audience member asked Karen Catlin of Better Allies to comment on how the pandemic and remote work have impacted diversity and inclusion.

“I started by listing some benefits of remote work. For example, increased flexibility for caregivers (who are primarily women) and better conditions for people living with disabilities that make it hard to commute or do their best work in an office.

In retrospect, I should have also mentioned research done by Future Forum. It found that remote work can significantly improve job satisfaction for Black knowledge workers as compared to their white colleagues, doubling their sense of belonging at work.”

Allies, let’s be aware that members of underrepresented groups may opt for remote options if our organization offers them. And that this decision may lead to a disadvantage compared to being in-person. Wall Street Journal

Consider supporting your remote coworkers with these ideas:

  • Spend time getting to know remote coworkers.
  • When informal “water cooler” gatherings happen, offer to debrief those who weren’t there.
  • Review meeting invitations to ensure remote employees are included.
  • During meetings, pause occasionally and ask, “Let’s take a moment to hear from people who dialed in.”
  • Encourage everyone in a meeting (including in-person folks) to join the virtual meeting line to engage in chat conversations that are often vital for remote participants.

From the Better Allies weekly newsletter: