Planners’ Picks — June 11, 2024

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

Let’s meditate, collaborate, and count our positive emotions in this issue of PP. We’ll also explore employee loyalty and use a Q-Tip for more than cleaning our ears.

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


:: Image of the Week

Q-TIP Quit Taking It Personally.

QTIP—Quit Taking It Personally. This mindset encourages individuals to approach interactions objectively, reducing the emotional impact of negative experiences and fostering better understanding between people.

Most of the things happening around us are not because of us. Some tips on how to not take things personally:
1. Question your assumptions about what has happened
2. Challenge or change your expectations
3. Recognize your own insecurities
See more at


:: Communication

15 Must-Read Books That Will Make You An Outstanding Storyteller

Storytelling has been the best way humans can share information. Stories are easy to understand since we can visualize what somebody is talking about. And when you’re telling a story, it’s important to know how to actually tell a great story.

“It’s all invented anyway, so we might as well invent a story or a framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us.”  – Ben Zander, The Art of Possibility

How to Manage Tensions with Colleagues

Having to get along with different kinds of people is a normal part of working life, and some disagreement is inevitable. It is even a sign of a healthy business, experts say.

“Conflict is a sign of a high-performance workplace . . . of people who care, people who are passionate,” says Leigh Thompson, professor of dispute resolution and organizations at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Illinois.

Conversely, organizations, where people are too fearful of confrontation, can suffer because no one wants to say they disagree or offer a different perspective. “We’re hard-wired for likeability, it’s how we have survived as humans,” says Amy Gallo, contributing editor at Harvard Business Review and author of Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People).

“We worry about hurting people’s feelings — women, especially, because of the way we’re socialized.” But sometimes there is someone you hit a brick wall with. What then?


:: Mental Health and Self-Care

Happiness Break: A Meditation On How to Be Your Best Self

Visualize your best possible self and tap into your inherent enough-ness with this guided meditation by Justin Michael Williams.


:: Productivity and Innovation

What Matters and Innovation: Using Collaborative Negotiation to Unleash Creative Ideas

The collaborative negotiation can help people reach mutually beneficial outcomes especially when they feel stuck.

One important skill set for innovation is the ability to collaboratively negotiate effective solutions to complex challenges that arise along the way. We define collaboration here as “working together to achieve a common goal or purpose.” Notice that collaboration is much more than simply “working together.” It is to do so “to achieve a common goal or purpose.” It is a process that engages participants in a genuine exploration of their common needs and interests, through which they seek mutually beneficial outcomes. It can be easily contrasted with coordination (where we communicate from our separate positions and needs, but try not to step on each other’s toes) and cooperation (where we seek to achieve our independent interests, rather than focus on those that are shared). Collaboration has the potential to invent new identities and ways of relating to one another, ways of forging a sense of “We” beyond “You” and “I” in our work together.

Here’s a method that can be especially beneficial when people are stuck, unable to consider ideas beyond those that they pre-conceive as being “the only options.” It helps us get out of the box that inhibits free-flowing idea-generation, prototyping, or other behaviors that we know benefit the creative process.


:: Gratitude

7 Benefits of Starting a Thank You Note Habit

According to the New York Times article, “Do Thank-You Notes Still Matter?”, the author states, “The thank-you note may seem to be an archaic holdover from a time of Rolodexes and rotary phones. But etiquette experts and social observers argue that a handwritten expression of gratitude has never been more important. It can even be a gift itself.”

The article goes on to say, “And while an emailed thanks is a nice gesture, many experts say that, in this virtual age, a traditional, physical note is more powerful than ever.”

One of the best ways to say thank you is with a handwritten note. It’s a classic, meaningful way to show appreciation and motivate employees with a keepsake of your gratitude. Start your own thank you note habit and share the benefits with your team for a shift in workplace culture.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – G. K. Chesterton


:: Self-Leadership Development

The BLUEPRINT Leadership Summit Replays

Conant Leadership’s celebrated, bi-annual meeting of top leadership minds and luminaries returned in April featuring lively discussions about the most pressing issues facing today’s workplaces. Each day for a week, they hosted riveting conversations about leadership development with some heavy hitters. If you missed it, no worries. You can find video replays of all five sessions below.

How to Unlock Limitless Leadership Potential – A Conversation with Jessica Foster

Leading with Cultural Fluency – Insights from ‘Leadership Toolkit for Asians’ with Jane Hyun

Finding Your Leadership Superpower(s) as an Administrative Professional – A Conversation with Lucy Brazier & Bonnie Low-Kramen

The Secrets to Inspiring a Culture of Accountability – A Conversation with Dr. Vince Molinaro

The BLUEPRINT Power Panel – A Conversation with BLUEPRINT Boot Camp Alumni Monique Helstrom & Amy Rapp

“Figure out what you’re good at without trying, then try.” – Isabel Unraveled on X

Student Supervision Certification Exploration

The Student Employment team in the Office of Student Financial Aid is exploring creating a student supervision professional development certificate, similar to the Principles in Supervision and Management – but especially catered to student supervision. We have questions for student supervisors across campus to ensure that as we develop this certificate program it’s built with their needs centered from the beginning. If you supervise students,  Please take 5 minutes to share your thoughts!

Coaching Services from the Office of Strategic Consulting

The Office of Strategic Consulting is a campus resource dedicated to helping you steer through the organizational challenges that impact your operations and mission delivery. They are offering two new pathways to make it even easier for campus change-makers to access their services.

Organizational Office Hours offer a no-cost, personalized opportunity for one-on-one conversations with organizational effectiveness consultants. Whether you have a general question, find yourself “stuck” in your current work, or seek guidance on a specific organizational issue, these one-hour conversations are open to all UW Madison faculty and staff. They provide a space for you to explore ideas and gain valuable insights to propel your work forward.

Individual Leadership Coaching is available for both experienced and emerging campus academic and administrative leaders. Certified professional coaches offer confidential guidance and support to leaders at all levels, helping you enhance your effectiveness, drive performance, and achieve your professional goals. They provide a complimentary sample coaching session along with a six-session introductory package. Leadership coaching is also an excellent way for supervisors to invest in the growth and development of promising leaders within your unit or team.

To learn more about our full list of services, visit the Strategic Consulting website, send an email to, or contact Alyson Pohlman, Assistant Director of Consulting Operations.


:: Work Culture & Team Development

List Of Positive Emotions You Might Experience At Work

Here’s a list of positive emotions you could experience at work. Recognizing your emotions is important so that you can choose how to respond to them.

Emotional intelligence around teammates, clients, employers and your managers will help you guide your interactions. Rather than letting your emotions jerk you around like a rider on a herky-jerky roller coaster, you can decide in advance how they get to impact your actions.

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”   –  Herman Melville

The Balanced Teammate: Leading & Following with Grace

See this article by Administrative Professionals Conference keynote speaker Chrissy Scivicque on finding balance in your work and with your teammates. In our modern work environment, the dynamics of teamwork have evolved, demanding more from each individual. To thrive in this setting, professionals need to understand what it means to be a balanced teammate.


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

The 7 Intuitive Laws Of Employee Loyalty

Every organization wants engaged employees. Employee engagement has become an essential part of modern HR practice. The term and concept are now prevalent. In response, an abundance of information and research on the topic has emerged. In other words, articles on employee engagement are easy to come by. But as you read about the topic, you’ll notice many of the same ideas and tactics appearing everywhere.

For example:

  • Offering flexibility & greater work-life balance
  • Professional growth opportunities
  • Giving employees autonomy
  • Developing a meaningful mission

While there is no shortage of knowledge available on what drives employee engagement, many organizations STILL struggle with keeping employees happy and engaged. Where is the problem? A major shortcoming with standard employee engagement advice is that it’s conceptual.

The book The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty is concise, easy to read, and packed full of value.

Through a series of stories and case studies, the author breaks down what leaders and companies need to do to engage and retain their employees. Author Heather Younger goes beyond superficial ideas. Detailed recommendations are provided on how these engagement tactics can be implemented. Younger is not new to the field; she is an expert in human resources. She is the CEO and founder of Employee Fanatix, a consulting organization with a mission to train leaders and help organizations with strategies to improve employee engagement.

She has been writing about employee engagement, work, and people management for many years. And The 7 Intuitive Law of Employee Loyalty is peppered with quotes from readers of her articles. Quite often, these comments are candid, giving us an unfiltered view of employee opinions and psychology. Here are the 7 laws:

  1. Give them great supportive managers
  2. Recognize employees often
  3. Give them a voice and do something about it
  4. Grow and promote their talents
  5. Foster deep connections with them
  6. Make teamwork the focus
  7. Pay them equitably

Find more information and a link to the book at


:: Upcoming Events

Peer Leadership: Better Together (DreamBank)

Whether you’re new to leadership or seeking to become a more collaborative influence among your peers, this interactive session will help you gain the tools and confidence you need to serve as an effective peer leader! Drawing on 25+ years of collaborative leadership insights, Lucia Page, a specialist in cultivating inclusive work cultures, will help you understand the power of peer leadership in the modern world and give you the tools you need to navigate change, inspire your teammates, and drive innovation alongside your peers. With plenty of time for a Q&A, you’ll leave ready to lead authentically and make an impact — no matter your career path.

This would be a great session to share with some of your team leads and admin positions within the organization!

“At American Family Insurance, life’s better when you’re under our roof because when you feel supported and protected, any dream is possible. That’s why we created DreamBank, an inspirational community destination and virtual experience that provides events, signature experiences, and resources to help people pursue, achieve, and protect their dreams.”

Date: Thursday, June 20
Time: 12-1 pm CST
Online (registration required)