Planners’ Picks — March 12, 2024

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

As the temperatures rise, we are springing forward with more leadership resources in this week’s newsletter. We’ll step out of our comfort zone, lead with values, and move from chaos to clarity in the content below. Enjoy!

*Note: Don’t fret if you can’t get to all of these resources! If you’re short on time, maybe choose one or two that are of interest to you to pursue.


:: Image of the Week 

 A paper with check marks and a clip When you plan for perfection (2 of 10 check marks) When you plan to just show up (7 of 10 check marks)

:: Mental Health and Self-Care

Happier and Kinder, Together by Mark Williamson, PhD

Dr. Mark Williamson’s talk from last year centers around the idea of creating a happier world through both personal and social well-being. He emphasizes the significance of small, intentional actions that have a positive ripple effect and contribute to the betterment of our society. Dr. Williamson’s message is rooted in the belief that each individual has the power to make a difference and that building a happier world starts with taking mindful steps toward personal and collective well-being.

“The secret is not to find the meaning of life, but to use your life to make things that are meaningful.”  – James Clear

:: Work Culture & Team Development

How to Fall in Love with Your Work

Paul Haury writes about how to fall in love with your work through a multi-step process in this article from 2020: start with loving yourself, which opens the door to belonging and to loving others. Then love your strengths and stop fighting your weaknesses, to move to the next level. Finally, you can move up to loving your team and your dreams. Read his post for the details.

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone with Simon Sinek

You probably know Simon Sinek ( as a bestselling author and accomplished speaker. But what you probably don’t know is that Simon struggled early on in his career to develop the confidence he’s so known for today. In this interview, we chat about the early challenges Simon faced on his leadership journey, how he overcame these challenges–and the advice he has for young people interested in developing their own leadership potential.

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – John Keating (Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society)

:: LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning: Teaching Your Team How to Grow with Whitney Johnson

Unlock your team’s learning potential by cultivating your leadership skills. Over the past several years, organizations have been thrust into a sea of relentless change and unpredictable disruption. Talent retention, employee engagement, and organizational structures are all being disrupted at a rapid pace. To succeed, leaders need to create conditions where teams not only survive change, but also succeed and grow from it. Join thought leader and popular podcast host Whitney Johnson as she shares her original framework that’s proven to help individuals, and those they lead, accelerate learning and vault to success.

Whitney—a LinkedIn Influencer with nearly two million followers—introduces you to the S Curve of Learning, a simple model that provides a common language to talk about growth and change. As you get smart about growth, you’ll move up the S Curve individually, and in doing so, gain the tools to grow your team. Knowing that companies don’t disrupt, people do, you’ll be better able to embrace change and lead your team.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify how to lead by unlocking your team’s potential for learning.
  • Recognize the three stages of learning by applying the S-Curve framework.
  • Interpret the actions a person should take when preparing for a change for themselves or their team.
  • Explain what effective leaders do to help their teams develop key skills.
  • Lead your team to build the skills needed to navigate change.

:: Self-Leadership Development

Leading with Values

When you lead – as a manager, executive, parent or coach – do you see your values aligning with your personal and professional goals? Robert K. Greenleaf, servant leadership scholar and thought leader once said this: “The great leader is seen as a servant first.”

In their January Servant Leadership Community of Practice, Christa Williams (Executive Director & Learning Facilitator at Sophia Partners) explored how your values can be the door through which you lead. Read about some of their information on servant leadership in this article.

:: Managing Up

How to Deal with a Passive-Aggressive Boss

Dealing with a passive-aggressive manager is tough. But your boss’s limitations shouldn’t completely dictate the degree to which you can contribute and thrive in your job. Pay attention to the patterns in your manager’s comportment and try to anticipate when the person will act out. Rather than feeling blindsided, limit your boss’s ability to make passive-aggressive choices at critical moments by setting parameters and clarifying expectations in advance of those moments. When your boss employs passive-aggressive behavior, don’t be tempted to act in kind. Reciprocating only reinforces your manager’s behavior by legitimizing it. And you don’t want to behave in a way that contradicts your own values. You also want to avoid assertively confronting your boss. It’s best to give your boss the benefit of the doubt. They may not know that they’re behaving inappropriately. It may feel unjust that you have to manage the immature behavior of the person who earns more money than you and has undue influence over your future. And on some level, it is. But you have to decide if your job and your company hold benefits for your career that outweigh the costs of managing a passive-aggressive manager.

“Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” -Viktor Frankl

:: Communication

Meeting Check-in Guide from A Human Workplace

The team at A Human Workplace are big believers in the value of the Check-In and we practice this consistently as a team. But sometimes folks are apprehensive about introducing check-ins to their meetings.

Some of you are worried they might be a distraction from the “real work” and turn into never-ending chats that pull you away from what you’re there to do. And honestly, no one wants that when your team is feeling overloaded and overwhelmed.

But here’s a thought: Maybe the issue isn’t with check-ins themselves but how we’re doing them.

From what we’ve seen (and what we practice as a team), a quick, focused check-in can seriously help a team build trust and work together better. Check-ins can help people become more aware of each other as people, set aside distractions, and focus on what’s needed. The bonds built in consistent check-ins get us ready to work through hard challenges or opportunities when the time comes.

If you’re worried about losing the professional edge, let us put your mind at ease. There’s plenty of evidence out there showing that people truly value leaders and teammates who take a genuine interest in them as people. It’s about connecting at a human-to-human level.

Feeling unsure about making check-ins work? No stress. Here’s a guide loaded with all the how-tos to keep your check-ins genuine, human and impactful at the same time.

:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

What Matters at Work

Harry Webne-Behrman is a veteran educator, mediator, facilitator, and consultant who has worked with hundreds of businesses, public agencies, community groups, and educational institutions to navigate complex issues and address entrenched challenges. Through his experience, he has developed and adapted a variety of tools and strategies that can help us all focus on What Matters in collaborative, effective processes that are readily applied to diverse workplace situations. What Matters at Work contains:

  • Dozens of Lessons, Exercises, and Challenges that teach the skills and processes you need to provide leadership regarding the issues that are most important to your work;
  • Scenarios that offer practice situations for those facilitating these efforts;
  • Worksheets that provide templates to copy in service to your ongoing learning and growth;
  • Comprehensive listings of these materials and additional resources to help you access what you need quickly and easily. Align your own Values and work practices with What Matters.

Help your work teams and co-workers talk through challenging issues, unlock innovative capacities, and apply their energies to What Matters. Lead your company or organization to fulfill the full scope of its promise and possibility by engaging all of its staff, partners, and customers in What Matters. That’s What Matters at Work.

This book was featured as CSN’s 2021 Spring Book Club book. Resources from our discussions can be accessed for self-study here:

:: Upcoming Events 

From Chaos to Clarity Community Event

Join the folks at People Forward Network for our next community event! From Chaos to Clarity: Practical Tips to Activate & Elevate Strategic Thinking on Your Team.

You’ll walk away with:

  • Knowing how to shift from overwhelm to clarity
  • Learning systems for managing a dynamic work plan
  • Learning how we measure to monitor progress

Presenter Lee Scott is the Founder & Chief Change Agent of Unleashing Leaders, an organization recognized for its commitment to empowering businesses in navigating intricate challenges, with a proven record of fostering a culture of leadership and integrity that extends beyond conventional boundaries.

Lee, a strategic planning extraordinaire, will mentor us on strategies to empower and equip our team members to think strategically, thereby facilitating how to improve workflows, minimize chaos, and enhance our ability to prioritize and achieve our objectives efficiently.

Date: March 27, 2024
Time: 1:00-2:00 p.m. CST
Online (link sent after registration)

Showcase will Feature Breakout Sessions Around Leadership

Attend Showcase on April 18, 2024, at Union South.

The annual Showcase event is designed to celebrate and strengthen a culture of innovation and continuous improvement at UW–Madison. It offers an opportunity for colleagues from across campus to share best practices, learn from each other’s successes, and connect.

Showcase is free and open to all UW–Madison faculty, staff, and students, as well as community members. The day includes poster exhibits, poster flash talks, a keynote presentation, and a variety of breakout sessions that highlight campus strategic initiatives and best practices in the areas of process improvement, change management, organizational design, project management, and leadership.

Note: Attendance is free, but you are required to register for this event.

Date: April 18, 2024
Time: 8:30 am-3:00 pm (see full schedule for times of specific events)
Location: Union South Varsity Hall

Breakout Sessions: