Planners’ Picks — April 16, 2024

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

Your taxes are filed, and we’re warming up outside. Time for some spring planting, coloring outside the lines, and creating an environment of commitment and accountability in our next installment of PP.

*Note: Don’t fret if you can’t get through these resources! If you’re short on time, choose one or two that interest you.


:: Image of the Week

A coffee mug with a small plant, a medium tree, and a full grown tree. 
“The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.”

What seeds are YOU planting? Better habits? New relationships? Eliminating distractions? All will bear fruit later on.


:: Mental Health and Self-Care

How Changing Your Story Can Change Your Life by Lori Gottlieb | TED

Stories help you make sense of your life — but when these narratives are incomplete or misleading, they can keep you stuck instead of providing clarity. In an actionable talk, psychotherapist and advice columnist Lori Gottlieb shows how to break free from the stories you’ve been telling yourself by becoming your own editor and rewriting your narrative from a different point of view. Watch this TED talk today!

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – DALAI LAMA  

Standing Meditation To Stop Overthinking

If you want to stop overthinking or quiet negative thoughts, this meditation is for you. This short meditation will help you get out of your head and back into your body. Here’s what Maureena said about it: “Oh my gosh! Bara that was so good! I followed and rated! Can’t wait for your next one to drop.”

Facilitator Bara Mann helps people who have read self-help books and tried to do the work but still don’t have the life they’re looking for. With a background in engineering and training in various energy healing modalities, Bara combines analytical thinking and intuitive wisdom to guide individuals toward lives filled with joy, confidence, and inner peace.


:: Work Culture & Team Development

Developing Next-Stage Organizations and Work Groups

Becoming a “Next-Stage” organization helps organizations face more and more complex and challenging environments.

Among the books we should consult in our quest for What Matters is Frederic Laloux’s profile of emerging “next-stage” companies, Reinventing Organizations (2014). Laloux builds upon Ken Wilbur’s Integral Theory, which shows how human cultures have integrated needed values, capacities, and behaviors to adapt to specific contexts and conditions over time. We are on the verge of a “second tier,” Wilbur and others in this field argue, one that takes the learning of all previous experience and applies it to our complex, emerging challenges. Indeed, much of what we are describing here about What Matters connects directly to Integral Theory, as facilitation techniques offered here build from that work.*

Laloux brilliantly and lucidly articulates how many organizations can apply this theory to business practice, both for-profit and nonprofit, across diverse industries and settings around the world. He identifies several breakthroughs that are responsible for the success of these organizations. See what Harry Webne-Behrman has to offer on an exercise for your group to develop this next-stage thinking.

 “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” —Michelangelo 

Career Success Demands Coloring Outside the Lines

Want to start coloring outside the lines of your current role? Ask yourself:

  • What do I wish I could do more of in my current role?
  • What kinds of experiences might inspire me to feel more engaged and excited about the work I’m doing?

In addition to approaching our work with creativity, we can also enjoy greater satisfaction and success with a ‘color outside the lines’ career advancement mindset. Many of us have been lulled into an ‘onward and upward’ approach to career development and progression, waiting (and expecting) to be routinely invited up yet another rung on the corporate ladder. But given flatter, leaner organizations and the organic nature of work, the world doesn’t operate in this kind of ‘paint by numbers’ way any longer.

Read this article on creativity by Julie Winkle Giulioni for more tidbits on working creativity into your work.


:: LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning: Creating Great Workplace Habits

Gretchen Rubin on Creating Great Workplace Habits is a practical and focused approach on how to apply noted happiness and habits expert Gretchen Rubin’s eye-opening research to the workplace. Gretchen explains the four tendencies individuals have and how they drive our habits, as illustrated in her book Better Than Before: What I Learned about Making and Breaking Habits—to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life. She introduces practical strategies to create better work habits and tips for ongoing success. With these techniques, you can build the foundation for a happier, healthier, and more productive life.


:: Trust, Psychological Safety & Belonging

Why Trust in Leaders Is Faltering and How to Gain It Back

Three key leadership measures tracking behaviors that drive alignment and execution for organizations have declined since the start of the pandemic. Most notable is a drop in trust in leadership. Only 21% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization. This marks a noteworthy decline from its 2019 peak (24%) and raises a serious question about morale in American businesses.

Trust begins to build when employees feel inspired by senior leaders and see strategic actions leading to business success. As such, the declines in employees’ confidence in the financial future of their organization and feeling inspired by their leadership further indicate that employees’ trust in leadership is evaporating. And all of this coincides with a historic decline in employee engagement.

Read this Gallup article for more on this topic.

“It’s clear that as you work to develop your leadership craft, you must inspire trust at every step along the way. You really have no choice. Your entire suite of leadership behaviors depends on it.” – DOUG CONANT


:: Self-Leadership Development

Creating an Environment of Commitment and Accountability

In this Magic in the Room episode, Hannah, Chris, and Luke discuss a new skill: creating an environment of commitment and accountability.

The core idea in this conversation is that people can only be accountable if they know what they are committed to. People can hold themselves accountable once we have a common understanding of commitments.

Listen and find supporting documents here:


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

Crucial Conversations

By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Learn how to keep your cool and get the results you want when emotions flare.

When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences; or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most. Crucial Conversations gives you the tools you need to step up to life’s most difficult and important conversations, say what’s on your mind, and achieve the positive resolutions you want. You’ll learn how to:

  • Prepare for high-impact situations with a six-minute mastery technique
  • Make it safe to talk about almost anything
  • Be persuasive, not abrasive
  • Keep listening when others blow up or clam up
  • Turn crucial conversations into the action and results you want

Find the book here:

This book was the featured read at the CSN 2018 Summer Book Club. For discussion materials regarding the book, go here:


:: Upcoming Events

Showcase 2024 This Week!

Showcase 2024 is happening this week Thursday, April 18, at  which will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Union South. We have an exciting day planned with nearly 50 poster exhibits, poster flash talks, a keynote fireside chat with UW–Madison Provost Charles Isbell (discussing “What It Means To Be an Elite Public University for the 21st Century”), and eight different breakout sessions—on topics ranging from the science of high-performing teams to navigating change.

It’s not too late to register! Go to now and get in the action.

Two Servant Leadership Communities to Join in Wisconsin

Are you interested in Servant Leadership? The UW-Madison has been hosting a servant leadership community of practice for a long time, which meets the third Friday of each month online. For information on this month’s session, see below. There is also a group from Sophia Partners in the Fox Valley who host a monthly meeting on SL too, and all are welcome. See the information for those meetings below as well.

1. April UW Madison SL CoP

Do you have an interest in strengthening personal and professional relationships? How might we permeate the barriers defined by hierarchy and subordination? Edgar Schein (pronounced “shine”) wrote a fascinating book, “Humble Inquiry – the gentle art of asking instead of telling.” We are facilitating the meeting on Friday, 4/19, from 8:30-10am. I hope you can join us.

Date: Friday, April 19, 2024
Time: 8:30-10:00 a.m. Online

Meeting Link:
Meeting ID: 960 0403 2917  |  Passcode: 031378

The link for pre-reading (about 20 pages) is

More information on UW SL at

2. April Sophia Partners CoP

April Topic: Q&A about Servant Leadership

“Leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It’s about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage. The world is desperate for braver leaders. It’s time for all of us to step up.” – Brene Brown

In this month’s Servant Leadership Community of Practice, we will be doing a special Q&A about Servant Leadership using the book: Questions and Answers about Servant Leadership by Dr. Kent Keith. Some of the questions will include:

  1. Is servant leadership a style of leadership?
  2. Can I be a servant leader if my boss isn’t?
  3. Is there a downside to servant leadership?  
  4. Can only certain organizations practice servant leadership?

This book will be especially useful to those who naturally begin with questions, whether they are new to servant leadership or have been on the journey for many years!

Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

RSVP Here for a registration link:

More info at