Planners’ Picks — March 19, 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

Two coffee cups 
one full up with “maximizing your day”
one with room for whip cream at the top and someone squirting some in with “optimizing your day”

Are you leaving space for the sweeter things?


:: Mental Health and Self-Care

Leveraging Stress for Success

Stress doesn’t feel good… it makes us grumpy, distracted, and tense. Some people overeat while others have no appetite at all. Some people withdraw and others lash out.  It affects us differently, but none of us are immune to the everyday stresses of life. More than 90% of doctors’ visits are for stress-related ailments.

Think about the physiological changes that come with stress. Your neck and shoulders get tense, your palms get sweaty and clammy, your heart starts to race, your blood pressure goes up, your breathing gets rapid and shallow, and your anxiety level increases. What if you could actually use all of that to your advantage? Dr. Melissa Hughes has some insight in this post.


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

Uncommon Greatness: Five Fundamentals to Transform Your Leadership

Transform your leadership from ordinary to extraordinary with this guidebook from a seasoned business leader and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Virtually every problem can be traced back to one root cause: leadership. Far too many leaders are struggling, merely maintaining the status quo and unable to find the way forward. What these leaders need is a fresh take on how to unlock their full potential.

Uncommon Greatness is the key many leaders have been searching for their entire career. This book will reframe much of what you know about traditional leadership theory and practice, challenge some of your deeply held assumptions, and provide scores of practical and concrete ideas you can use today.

Uncommon Greatness offers every leader the opportunity to:

  • Achieve unprecedented levels of performance
  • Discover new levels of joy and fulfillment from your work
  • Become a leader people want to follow
  • Create an impact beyond your wildest imagination

Rich Gassen was privileged to see an early copy of Mark Miller’s new book Uncommon Greatness. His structure of the material is well-presented, and the five fundamentals he focuses on are perfect for developing yourself as a next-level, uncommon leader in any organization.

Rich especially appreciated the 3rd fundamental: Reinvent Continuously. In business today, we need to be agile and constantly updating our skills, communication methods, and ways of succeeding. Being innovative and creative are likely the most important traits you can instill on your team, and Miller covers that well in his book.

“Creativity is a must for great leadership. Unfortunately, I rarely hear the topic discussed in leadership circles. In part, this is because of the different forms creativity takes in our world. The typical connotation is with artistic creativity. Artists are truly gifted individuals—they paint, draw, sculpt, and express things in beautiful ways. When I hear leaders say they are not creative, they are thinking about artistic creativity. However, I am an ambassador for a different kind of creativity/ The ability to THINK differently.” p103-4

Like many other recent leadership books, he also focuses on the heart-centered leadership style that is becoming less uncommon today. For those of us who’ve already adopted this mindset of leading the whole person, there is no going back to the old ways of managing.

The book ends with an additional resource: the Uncommon Greatness Digital Assessment, to see where you are in the Uncommon Greatness journey.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker


:: Work Culture & Team Development

What are the Subtle Signs of Leadership Potential?

We can all agree that identifying potential leaders is a crucial part of organizational success. But, too often, leaders are promoted purely for their technical ability. What would happen if organizations put equal weight on cultural competence in their promotion criteria?

Here are five subtle signs that someone could have leadership potential:

  1. They wash the dishes, take out the trash, and refill the paper towels.

True leaders aren’t afraid to do the dirty work. They recognize that you don’t graduate from some of the mundane realities that make you human. These kinds of leaders respect and regard their colleagues as equals, regardless of positional power.

  1. They acknowledge the efforts of silent contributors.

Taking credit for someone else’s work is one of the easiest and least risky things you can do as an aspiring leader. These leaders see collective achievement as the objective. They’re more interested in getting the thing done than getting praised for the thing.

  1. They spend their own money to learn.

    Learning agility will characterize the successful leaders of the 21st century. They don’t wait for the organization to push them, and they realize that learning is good for learning’s sake. These leaders take responsibility for their own development.

  2. They kill the snake when they see the snake.

    Henry Ross Perot once said, “If you see a snake kill it, don’t appoint a committee on snakes.” These kinds of leaders know how to move forward in the absence of complete clarity. They recognize that they can do a lot within the scope of their own autonomy.

  3. They say, “I don’t know” when they don’t know.

    Humility is the beginning of wisdom. These people understand that their job is to harness the collective potential of their team, not to provide the answers and solutions by themselves. They’re confident in their competence and can still recognize their weaknesses.

Listen to a podcast on this topic at LeaderFactor.

“The reason people get good ideas in the shower is because it’s the only time during the day when most people are away from screens long enough to think clearly. The lesson is not to take more showers, but rather to make more time to think.”  – James Clear

Focusing on Work-Life Integration is Key to Success

In the pursuit of professional success, the concept of work-life integration emerges as a game-changer, surpassing the traditional notion of balance. Caring Leaders understand that success is not about compartmentalizing work and personal life, but seamlessly blending them. This approach emphasizes aligning internal focus, prioritizing self-leadership, and integrating leadership across all areas.

Caring Leadership and Work-Life Integration

Caring Leaders recognize the significance of fostering a workplace where employees feel valued and supported in both professional and personal aspects. The integration journey begins with active listening, a cornerstone of Caring Leadership. By truly understanding employee needs, concerns, and aspirations, leaders can create an environment that promotes genuine engagement. Listen in as Heather Younger, author of The Art of Active Listening and The Art of Caring Leadership, interviews work-life integration with Michael A. Grace, President of West Virginia University Hospitals.


:: LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning: Managing a Diverse Team

Team leaders should aim to create an inclusive culture that celebrates differences and fosters the best performance from every team member. In this course, communication and leadership coach Daisy Lovelace equips you with practical knowledge and impactful strategies that can help you build a solid foundation for your team and create an environment where everyone can thrive.

Learn how to promote psychological safety, establish trusting relationships, and cultivate a culture of belonging and mutual aid. Build your team’s confidence by identifying and recognizing your positionality as a leader, as Daisy shows you how to establish inclusive meeting expectations, address tensions, and leverage microvalidations, microaffirmations, and more. By the end of this course, you’ll also be prepared to avoid typical hiring patterns and mentor and delegate more equitably.


:: Self-Leadership Development

Four Steps to Finding Your Path

There are times in life when we lose our direction. Here are some research-tested ways to figure out a way forward. In difficult life circumstances, you’re bound to feel anger, sadness, anxiety, or apathy. Whatever your situation is, it can be hard to look it square in the face. It might feel too painful or overwhelming to even know where to begin. This article from Jennifer Belus at Greater Good Science Center may help you.

“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” —Demosthenes


We all love opportunities – but what does the word actually mean, and where did it come from?

From Latin word OPPORTUNUS meaning “fit, convenient, suitable, favorable,” from the phrase ‘ob portum veniens’ which means “coming toward a port” (in reference to the wind). The word was formed from OB “in front of; toward” + PORTUS “harbor”. I feel that this highlights the importance that checking an opportunity is a great fit!

From Dani Saveker’s weekly LEAPS newsletter:


:: Productivity

Coping Strategies for Burnout

Oh no. It’s that time – again! Burnout O’clock. If you’re feeling overwhelmed all the time, you might be burned out. If you are procrastinating because you don’t know where to begin, you might be stuck in burnout. If your stress is so high that you’re having physical symptoms like headaches or fatigue, it may be burnout.

Here are three coping strategies for burnout that might be different from things you’ve already done or read about. These will all use your strengths to figure out where the burnout is coming from. And of course, you’ll get ideas for how to tweak the things you’re doing so you can get a new result.


:: Communication

How to Talk to Your Team About a Decision You Disagree With

When you’re part of an organization’s management structure, there will be moments when you’ll have to represent a decision people above you made that you don’t agree with to your team. Carrying the proverbial flag on behalf of the powers-that-be won’t feel good, but that’s part of the job. Barring a decision or action that is immoral, illegal, or unethical, standing behind decisions that don’t go your way is one of the most challenging things you’ll have to do as a leader. Doing so effectively requires thoughtful preparation. Here are six strategies to use when you have to convey a decision you don’t agree with.

 “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” – Ambrose Bierce