Planners’ Picks — May 21, 2024

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

Let’s make things effortless this week, by making the most sensible actions the easiest ones. We’ll also develop better habits, become emotionally fit, and tap into servant leadership more fully to help us and our teams thrive.

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


:: Image of the Week

“Do your best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

“Do your best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most

Do you ever feel like:

  • You’re teetering right on the edge of burnout?
  • You want to make a higher contribution, but lack the energy?
  • You’re running faster but not moving closer to your goals?
  • Everything is so much harder than it used to be?

As high-achievers, we’ve been conditioned to believe that the path to success is paved with relentless work. That if we want to overachieve, we have to overexert, overthink, and overdo. That if we aren’t perpetually exhausted, we’re not doing enough. But lately, working hard is more exhausting than ever. And the more depleted we get, the harder it is to make progress. Stuck in an endless loop of “Zoom, eat, sleep, repeat,” we’re often working twice as hard to achieve half as much.

Getting ahead doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. No matter what challenges or obstacles we face, there is a better way: instead of pushing ourselves harder, we can find an easier path. From author Greg McKeown, Effortless offers actionable advice for making the most essential activities the easiest ones, so you can achieve the results you want, without burning out.


:: Servant Leadership Study

Why Middle Management is the Hardest Job

The middle management team is stuck between strategic and tactical thinking – they’re the translator between the two. Things break when we don’t train people how to lead OR the senior leadership’s focus isn’t aligned with the people below them. What do you do as a middle manager? You lead your way and ignore things outside of your control. Hear Simon Sinek’s position on this topic in a short video.

“Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people.” – Stephen R. Covey  

What is Servant Leadership?

Servant leadership is a management style that prioritizes the team’s growth and well-being over the organization’s or leader’s own ambitions. Unlike traditional leaders, a servant leader focuses on coaching and developing individuals, not just achieving the goals of the organization.

Servant leadership traces its origins to Robert Greenleaf. In his 1970 essay “The Servant as a Leader,” he described servant leadership like this:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.”

A lot of companies look at employees as cogs in a wheel who exist solely to help the organization advance its goals. Leaders act as taskmasters who dole out authority and don’t care how work gets done, as long as it’s delivered on time. Servant leadership flips the typical leadership script by putting people ahead of power.

Read this article which features the ten principles of servant leadership, along with a short video from Team Gantt.


:: Work Culture & Team Development

How Burnout Became Normal — and How to Push Back Against It

Slowly but steadily, while we’ve been preoccupied with trying to meet demands that outstrip our resources, grappling with unfair treatment, or watching our working hours encroach upon our downtime, burnout has become the new baseline in many work environments. From the 40% of Gen Z workers who believe burnout is an inevitable part of success, to executives who believe high-pressure, “trial-by-fire” assignments are a required rite of passage, to toxic hustle culture that pushes busyness as a badge of honor, too many of us now expect to feel overwhelmed, over-stressed, and eventually burned out at work. When pressures are mounting and your work environment continues to be stressful, it’s all the more important to take proactive steps to return to your personal sweet spot of stress and remain there as long as you can. The author presents several strategies.

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” –  Lin Yutang

Prioritize and Level Up Emotional Fitness with Dr. Paul Zak

Dr. Paul Zak believes grounding leadership in emotional fitness is crucial to both professional success and personal well-being. In this episode of the Gut + Science podcast from the People Forward Network, Paul joins Nikki Lewallen Gregory to explore the critical role of emotional fitness within leadership and workplace culture. A renowned expert on human connection, Paul advocates for leaders to craft emotionally fit environments that serve employees and promote a harmonious work-life balance.

Emphasizing the link between engaged workers and positive energy in both professional spaces and at home, Paul spotlights impactful strategies such as the emotional fitness app Tuesday. This episode underlines leaders’ need to embrace emotional health as a foundation for a dynamic and fulfilling organizational culture.


:: Self-Leadership Development

Feeling Unmotivated? Here’s How to Get Out of the Rut

Worker disengagement is on the rise around the world. Even those of us who generally like our jobs sometimes find it hard to muster energy and focus. So what’s the key to regaining motivation? Harvard Business School professor Boris Groysberg and research associate Robin Abrahams share a four-part process to help you get your groove back: detachment, empathy, action, and reframing. They offer simple tips like thinking in the third person, helping others, and gamification to help get back on track. Groysberg and Abrahams are the authors of the HBR article “Advice for the Unmotivated.”

Listen to this HBR recording of a conversation between Harvard Business School’s Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams on shifting your mindset and energy at work.

            “In life’s ledger, depth counts more than duration. A short purpose-driven life can surpass a long one lived without meaning” –  Greg McKeown

How to be Seen as a More Authentic Leader and Person

In many facets of life, we claim to value authenticity. By authentic, we mean that people consistently act in a way that is consistent with their underlying and deeply held values. The interesting thing about authenticity is that people’s actions are public and visible, while these underlying values are private and invisible.

So how can you be perceived as authentic?


:: Communication

6 Compliments That Land Every Time

Xuan Zhao, a behavioral scientist at Stanford University who’s the CEO and co-founder of the well-being start-up Flourish Science, has spearheaded research that suggests we tend to underestimate the positive impact compliments have on both ourselves and the receiver. As a result, we don’t give as many as we should. “The compliment is one of these really powerful, small actions that brighten your day and brighten someone else’s day,” she says. “And it costs nothing.”

Why is a compliment so impactful? One of the most important things to humans is to feel valued and respected by others, and like we belong, says Vanessa Bohns, a social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University, who has researched compliments. See the six suggestions in this article.