Planners’ Picks — January 23, 2024

Planners’ Picks  A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

As the campus welcomes back her students, we look at ways to improve our relationships, feel better, and say ‘yes’ more. We also ask you one last time for your advice on CSN’s future direction in this week’s PP.


:: Image of the Week

A group of people in circles with text

You Need 4 People In Your Life: 
Coach, Mentor, Friend, Cheerleader. 
And BE one of these for someone else!

There are a lot of opportunities on campus to develop your skills in coaching and mentoring. Look for them today!


:: Help Us Strategize for 2024! 

CSN 2024 Survey

Last Call: The planners of CSN are asking for your input! We have appreciated over eight years of connecting, collaborating, and celebrating with you. We want to continue to learn, grow, and support you all in the coming years, and would love to hear from you and how we create the community and learning space that helps you continue to develop as a person. If you haven’t already done so, please do this short survey to help guide our future programs and initiatives. This is YOUR community, after all!


:: Mental Health and Self-Care

Results of our Word of the Year Request

We received 42 responses to our Word of the Year Request. Words like Breath, Happiness, Glimmer, Healing, Abundance, and Connection appear there, along with one more of note: “Flexibility—Be Like Gumby.” Not a bad goal, in our opinion! Here’s to YOUR motivating word and being able to live up to it more throughout 2024. You can view the final results at

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston

9 Ways to Improve Your Relationships in 2024

Small nuggets of advice can sometimes lead to big changes in relationships. Catherine Pearson and her colleagues were fortunate to regularly interview psychotherapists, couples counselors, sex therapists, and researchers who share their most useful tactics for strengthening connections.

Here are some of the best tips they covered in 2023 that can help improve your bonds with friends, family, and others in the year ahead.

“Start every day with a smile—that way you get it over with.” —Oscar the Grouch

How to Feel a Little Better in 2024

As a bunch of journalists who are constantly thinking about what it means to be truly “well,” we wanted to offer you something different and more positive for 2024: A set of gentle guidelines—rooted in science, empathy, and our staff’s collective body of work—that will hopefully help you feel a little better this year. The reality is, “good health” might be hard to come by right now, especially because so many of the barriers are systemic—but even if that weren’t the case, we still wouldn’t want to give you a ton of rigid rules that feel oppressive or impossible to achieve.


:: Work Culture & Team Development

How is your Organization’s Mindset?

It’s easy to understand “mindset” as it applies to us personally. Most of us know when we carry a fixed (negative) or a growth (positive) mindset. We can always feel it. If this is true for us as individuals, how can we tell what type of mindset the organizations we work for have?

Before you began working with your current employer, how many of you considered what that company’s organizational mindset was? I’m betting not many. Here’s what you’re potentially missing.

You Can’t Help Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Be Helped

If you care about someone and see them struggling, it’s only natural that you want to help them. The same can be said for someone with promise, but who’s falling short of their potential. Even though you want to help, your assistance isn’t always welcomed. It may be met with resistance or rejected out of hand. Frank Sonnenberg tells us all about this in his latest blog post.

“Happiness is not a destination. Happiness is a direction. It’s not a matter of being, but of becoming.”   – Arthur Brooks 

Cooking Up a People-first Culture at Hellofresh

In this special edition of the HR Leaders Podcast, we’ll hear from Johannes Wilberg, who serves as the SVP of People at HelloFresh. The discussion delves into how the company, known for its innovative approach to home cooking, champions cross-functional development and internal mobility, making them core aspects of the employee experience.

One of their seven core values is “learning never stops.” As Johannes said, “We focus a lot on learning in the day-to-day and learning on the job.” They structure agile teams across functions like tech, product, and marketing to enable continuous skills building.

HelloFresh also drives an inclusive internal growth culture through a formal global mobility program. Johannes explained, “We have a very streamlined application process…that’s very quick and lean” allowing for easy movement between opportunities across countries. Listen to this HR Leaders podcast for some great suggestions on developing a better culture in your work area.


:: Self-Leadership Development

3 Reasons to Say ‘Yes’ More Often

In our journey through life, both personal and professional, we’re often faced with choices that prompt a simple yet profound decision: to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ While there’s wisdom in careful consideration and sometimes in refusal, I’ve found that saying ‘Yes’ more often can lead to remarkable growth and opportunities. Here are five reasons why we should embrace affirmative responses more frequently.

The Leadership Skills We Need To Build

Brené Brown and Simon Sinek are two of the world’s most influential thought leaders. They’ve shared their insights on the power of vulnerability and purpose in viral TED talks, hit podcasts, and bestselling books. Adam invites Brené and Simon to a lively discussion about the most important skills for leaders to build — and the most vital steps for organizations to put people first. Together, they also field audience questions on earning trust, giving upward feedback, and creating better leadership opportunities for the next generation.

Apple Podcasts:

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ― Voltaire


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

The Song of Significance: A Manifesto for Teams and the People Who Lead Them

A soulful re-envisioning of what work and leadership can be, from the visionary mind of renowned author and thought leader, Seth Godin.

“The purpose of a beehive isn’t to make honey: honey is a by-product of a healthy hive. A significant organization can please its customers and make a profit as well. But it begins by earning enrollment and then doing the work to make change happen.”

The Song of Significance is a rousing contemplation on work: why it is the way it is, why it’s gotten so bad, what all of us–especially leaders–can do to make it better.

Economic instability and the rise of remote work have left us disconnected and disengaged. Alarmed managers are responding with harsh top-down edicts, layoffs, surveillance and mandatory meetings. Workers are responding by quiet quitting and working their wage. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Through 144 provocative stanzas, legendary business author Seth Godin gets to the heart of what ails us; he shows what’s really at the root of these trends, and challenges us to do better in ways that matter.

“The real desire is significance. To do something that matters. To be missed if we’re gone. The universal desire to achieve dignity and be seen. Becoming significant means making a change happen: impacting people or the world around us so they’re different than if we had never been here. But to create change involves risk, the risk of living in possibility, and of the threat of failure (or success.)”

The choice is simple. We can endure the hangover of industrial capitalism, keep treating people as disposable, and join in the AI-fueled race to the bottom. Or we come together to build a significant organization that enrolls, empowers, and trusts everyone to deliver their best work, no matter where they are.

This is a book to share with bosses and co-workers, to discuss and put to action. No matter what our role, it’s within our power to change. Because, as Godin writes, “Humans aren’t a resource. They are the point.”


Seth talking with Robert Glazer about The Song of Significance:


:: Developing Better Habits

Kindness by Design

It’s systems that make the difference. Learning a system and implementing it to create a repeatable, ingrained Kindness Habit will produce the desired results.Read this LinkedIn article from Randy McNeely on how to implement a culture of kindness in your organization through habits.


:: Change Management

Six Secrets Of Change Leaders Who Are Driving Results Today

An organization’s ability to continually disrupt and reinvent itself is key to extraordinary growth. We call it “perform and transform,” and research shows that leaders following this approach grow their organizations 6.7% faster than their peers.

In today’s complex and uncertain business environment, the agility to dynamically manage current performance and simultaneously transform for the future is key. But how can you consistently do this at the same time?

To succeed, you need to harness two opposing forces into a single, strong approach. Sound easier said than done? Consider these six key levers.

“Think in decades and act in days.”  – Matt Griswold


:: Upcoming Events 

Affinity Group Mixer Networking

Thursday, January 25, 2024 3:00-5:00 pm CST

The Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement (DDEEA) invites all faculty and staff to the annual Affinity Group Mixer on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, 3-5 p.m., at Great Hall in the Memorial Union. This mixer is an opportunity for faculty and staff to build community, connect with colleagues across various affinity spaces, and create allyship. Please join the DDEEA for live music, games, prizes and refreshments. The event is free and registration is requested.

Journey to Group Power Featuring Liberating Structures

2-Day Face-to-Face Facilitator Skills Training Workshop
April 25-26, 2024

(Fees associated with this course)

Do you want to lead meetings that harness a group’s full POWER and have FUN doing it?

We are excited to announce another Face-to-Face version of the increasingly popular Journey to Group Power Workshop at the Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, WI. This highly interactive, 2-day workshop has been delivered over a dozen times virtually and face-to-face at several client locations throughout the country. Read testimonials for our highly successful workshop designed for an evenly paced, immersive experience…

This facilitator training course is for you! Whether you are a sponsor, group leader, or participant, you will fill your basket with group engagement tools and know-how and when to use them. You will be introduced to the dynamic facilitation framework of Integral Facilitation and a dozen or more Liberating Structures to fuel new levels of group engagement, productivity, and transparency

“Darin and Steve are a cut above the rest when it comes to facilitation and experience and modeling the golden standard for online learning, group collaboration and facilitation. It’s a breath of fresh air to experience their class act. While I was familiar with many of the techniques used in this training, the larger picture model of when and why to use these techniques was enormously beneficial. No matter what your current level of facilitation skills are, I truly believe you will walk away from this training a better facilitator.”  –Theresa Kim, Program Manager, LTD, UW-Madison

Led by former UW facilitator Darin Harris, this two-day experience is sure to please. Find more information and registration details at