Planners’ Picks — January 30, 2024

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

The weather can’t decide what to do, but we can set our sights on better relationships, more gratitude, and driving change in our resources this week. We’re one month into 2024; are you staying on track with your goals and aspirations?


:: Image of the Week

A quote on a blue background

"Creating a culture of kindness at work distributes the joy of problem-solving to everyone, creates a safe environment that unleashes innovation, and turns perceived liabilities into assets to create real equity value in every meaning of the word." 


“Creating a culture of kindness at work distributes the joy of problem-solving to everyone, creates a safe environment that unleashes innovation, and turns perceived liabilities into assets to create real equity value in every meaning of the word.” – JAMES RHEE


:: Mental Health and Self-Care

The Science of Recharging on Weekends and Vacations

Many people don’t use all their paid time off from work — and struggle to relax and recover on nights and weekends too. What does it take to make our breaks more restorative? Adam Grant examines the evidence on recovery and burnout, explores how workplaces can reimagine vacation policies, and highlights what kinds of hobbies are best suited to different times of day.


Apple Podcasts:

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”  –  John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

Gratitude Revealed Movie Streaming FREE on YouTube

Remember last summer when CSN featured the file Gratitude Revealed at the Marquee Theater in Union South? It’s now been released for FREE on the Moving Art YouTube Channel! Everyone can experience the epic film and watch it with family and friends. If you saw it with us on the big screen, you can relive the excitement and awe you felt that day again.

Gratitude Revealed is a remarkable cinematic documentary that has been forty years in the making. The film is a transformational cinematic experience aimed at teaching us how to lead a more meaningful life filled with gratitude. Through intimate interviews with everyday people, thought leaders, and personalities, Schwartzberg shows how gratitude is a proven path to overcoming the disconnection we often feel in our lives. Gratitude can help us reconnect with ourselves, our planet, and each other. If you yearn for deeper connections and seek personal transformation, then Louie has made Gratitude Revealed just for you.

 “Before you discover what you love: fewer commitments, more experiments. After you discover what you love: fewer experiments, more commitments.” – James Clear


:: Work Culture & Team Development

Be Mindful of Low-Ability Assumptions

Be careful and mindful about making assumptions of ability based on gender or other factors. Read this post from the author of the Better Allies newsletter on this topic.

Driving Results Through Relationships

In this podcast episode, host Michael Reddington and guest David Dye emphasize the importance of fostering human-centered leadership in driving results through relationships. They explore the pivotal role of relationships in driving results, combatting the allure of fear-based leadership, and fostering a culture of courageous dialogue. From personal anecdotes to professional insights, they provide a captivating discussion on the intersection of human-centered leadership, accountability, and compassionate communication.


:: Self-Leadership Development

4 Key Habits for Exceptional Leadership

Marcel Schwantes is a leadership expert and coach who delivers keynotes on the topic around the world. In this article, Schwantes shares 4 habits that help ensure one has exceptional leadership skills. These habits are:

  • Have faith in your team’s abilities – know their strengths and listen to their ideas
  • Model respect to members of your team and organization – help boost morale and motivate employees
  • Show a true interest in your people – encourage your teams’ career aspirations and discover what motivates them
  • Provide autonomy with accountability – trust your team to make the right choices and be there to help when needed

“Great things are not done by impulse, but a series of small things brought together.” —Vincent Van Gogh


:: Communication

How to De-Escalate an Emotional Conversation at Work

When people are fired up, angry, and defensive, it’s tough to have a productive conversation. One reason it’s so tricky to de-escalate an emotional conversation is that when these emotions kick in, they’re contagious. One person gets defensive, and the other person responds in kind. “Why are you getting angry? Can’t you see how right I am? What’s wrong with you?”

This cycle escalates until someone storms off, slams a door, turns off their camera, or commits one of those “career-limiting activities,” like saying something they regret or heating fish in the breakroom microwave. (Followed closely by burning microwave popcorn. Never use the microwave in anger–especially if you work at home.)

Nothing resolves. Frustrations and resentments build up and poison the work. But, if you can learn how to de-escalate these emotional conversations, you’ll give yourself and your coworkers the gift of a path forward.


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Award-winning Wharton Professor and Choiceology podcast host Katy Milkman has devoted her career to the study of behavior change. In this ground-breaking book, Milkman reveals a proven path that can take you from where you are to where you want to be, with a foreword from psychologist Angela Duckworth, the best-selling author of Grit.

Change comes most readily when you understand what’s standing between you and success and tailor your solution to that roadblock. If you want to work out more but find exercise difficult and boring, downloading a goal-setting app probably won’t help. But what if, instead, you transformed your workouts so they became a source of pleasure instead of a chore? Turning an uphill battle into a downhill one is the key to success.

Drawing on Milkman’s original research and the work of her world-renowned scientific collaborators, How to Change shares strategic methods for identifying and overcoming common barriers to change, such as impulsivity, procrastination, and forgetfulness. Through case studies and engaging stories, you’ll learn:

• Why timing can be everything when it comes to making a change
• How to turn temptation and inertia into assets
• That giving advice, even if it’s about something you’re struggling with, can help you achieve more

Whether you’re a manager, coach, or teacher aiming to help others change for the better or are struggling to kick-start change yourself, How to Change offers an invaluable, science-based blueprint for achieving your goals, once and for all.

Search online for her recent Action for Happiness interview too!


:: Developing Better Habits

9 Signs Your Perfectionism Is Out Of Control

We live in a world that idolizes perfectionism. From a very young age, parents, coaches, and teachers push us to be high achievers, but they fail to teach us balance. We live our lives with an ingrained desire to give our all in pursuit of lofty goals, but we don’t know when to pull back. We don’t know when enough actually is enough.

Most people lean hard into their perfectionism—they extol it as a virtue to the point that it becomes a vice. Doing so is troubling because separate studies from the University of British Columbia and the University of Tehran show that perfectionism is linked to depression, anxiety, and a slew of mental health issues.

More on this from author of the book Emotional Intelligence, Dr. Travis Bradberry.


:: Psychological Safety & Belonging

Why We Long to Belong, and How to Send Signals of Inclusion

The term belonging means different things to different people, but the American Psychological Association defines it as “the feeling of being accepted and approved by a group or by society as a whole.” We belong when we feel connected and part of the group, and our need for belonging can be traced to our pre-human ancestors. We evolved social skills and a social brain to ensure we remained within a group — our source of safety. How do we create conditions where people feel included and psychologically safe?

“The longer I live, the more deeply I learn that love — whether we call it friendship or family or romance — is the work of mirroring and magnifying each other’s light.” – James Baldwin


:: Upcoming Events 

Academic Staff Institute is Coming March 14!

Thursday, March 14
7:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Union South

The 2024 Academic Staff Institute will be held on Thursday, March 14, 7:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at Union South. This annual professional development conference for academic staff will feature a variety of breakout sessions and a keynote presentation by Diana Harvey, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communication at UW–Madison. Schedule updates will be made available on the Institute web page, and a complete program will be sent to registrants prior to the event. There is a $20 fee to register; all attendees will receive free membership to the Madison Academic Staff Network through June 30, 2024. Register by February 28 at

New Ignite and In Scope Professional Development Offerings

The Office of Strategic Consulting is excited to announce the spring 2024 schedule for our two professional development series: Ignite: Fueling Organizational Excellence and In Scope: Managing Projects at UW–Madison.

Both series are designed to promote and support efforts to improve organizational effectiveness at UW–Madison. Experts in organizational excellence and project management and delivery will facilitate focused peer-to-peer conversations and present engaging, useful tools and resources. You’ll walk away with new skills to advance initiatives, change, and innovation at UW–Madison. There are no fees to participate in these events, but registration is required.

For a full list of Ignite sessions for 2024, go to:

For a full list of In Scope sessions for 2024, go to: