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10 Steps to Strategic Planning

By: Amber Rosen, Founder
April 27, 2016

With April coming to an end, the closing of Fiscal Year 15/16 (FY15/16) is quickly approaching.  Departments are closing inventory, finalizing financial reports, consolidating, processing year-end depreciations, backing up data and so much more!

Meanwhile, daily work functions, meetings, and planning for the following year are all very high on the priority list.  Which brings me to the purpose of this article:



 Below are 10 key steps to creating a successful plan.  But first you must set the tone and lay the foundation to any strategic planning venture:

  1. ENERGY: create a motivational environment with free flowing ideas and thought!
  2.  TIME: create an environment where time is not a concern and employees are encouraged to focus on the present.
  3.  SPACE: create a physical space that is relaxing and gives employees a sense of “escape” from their daily duties.  Create an emotional space that is free of judgment and allows open conversation.

Yearly planning: business plans, marketing plans, sales initiatives, and financial plans should not be crafted by one person from each of the corresponding departments or you are headed down the road of poor 2execution, shortcomings, employee frustration, and mismanaged time, which all equates to a loss of profit.

If you are truly looking to create a robust plan for 2016/17 set aside at least 2 to 3 days of uninterrupted time and focus on the overall wellness of your company…it may seem like a lot, but it is well worth it and will save you in the long run!  If your company is small, use the whole team!  If it is large, take your senior team but also pull a handful of your key middle managers and some from your administration team (they know the processes, they hear the complaints…you need to hear their perspective).

Best case scenario, you take your team off-site for a company wellness retreat for 3 days.  This removes distractions and allows employees to truly focus on eachother and the task at hand.  However, if the budgetary dollars aren’t there, create solid time blocks (3 to 4 hours) for internal meetings and incorporate team building or a post activity at the end of each session.

Here are some general guidelines in developing a 2016/2017 Fiscal Year Strategic Plan that is cohesive, measurable, and attainable.  Set the tone and use your time wisely:

  1. Get personal and develop stronger relationships by integrating activities that encourage team building, understanding of one another, and some activities that are mindless and just Fun!
  2.  Create a motivational, transparent and creative environment free of judgment.  Lay down the ground work and make sure you lead by example.  Remember the 3 foundational components: energy, time and space.
  3. Recap the previous year and analyze the wins and the loses.  Collectively go through a SWOT analysis of each department, allowing other departments to give positive and constructive feedback.
  4. Develop the overall company initiatives for 2016/2017 (CEO’s are encouraged to pre-plan and have a good idea of what these may be…but don’t  be glued to them…your employees may surprise you!).  What are the top 5 areas your company will focus on? Make sure they are specific and measurable.  Make sure they are hefty initiatives…nothing that one person (even the best employee) or a single department could handle on their own!
  5. Strategize how those initiatives will play a role within each department and how to manage a synergistic approach.  What will department A need from department B to make this happen.  What insights can department C provide so that everyone succeeds, etc.  Will department D need to streamline processes to achieve this goal?
  6. Then develop department goals as a COLLECTIVE team. Each department should have at least 3 to 5 large goals under each company initiative.
  7. Then take department goals back to each department (or in break out groups done onsite) and use those goals as a basis for each individual to develop their own goals (goals should be outlined with action steps, completion dates, and should be measurable).
  8. Compile a master document that has been vetted and edited.
  9. Schedule a half day team building event to rally the team together and clearly communicate what everyone has committed to as a unit and pledge to hold each other accountable.  You have developed your companies road map for the year and all have significant buy in!
  10. Schedule team meetings or individual check-ins on a monthly basis where goals are brought to the table and each person gives a status report.  If goals aren’t being met, then ask for the reasoning behind it…LISTEN…because there may be a simple fix (go back to the synergistic approach and see if there is a process breakdown).

BONUS: Continue to regroup and hold each other accountable throughout the year.  It is also encouraged to tie incentive plans to goal completion: yearly raises, a bonus plan, or a large trip with a +1 option, etc. Get your employees excited to be apart of the big picture.

In conclusion, the process is not easy, there is no quick fix or simple way through strategic planning;  but when done right, can transform a business and make each individual feel empowered while moving the company forward with great stride.

In any event, i.Art Fitness partners with companies in planning corporate strategic planning retreats.  We assist by providing the following activities that create a tone for a successful planning session:

  • Corporate Keynote: The Art of #U
    • This keynote is a motivational, multi-media presentation that focuses on understanding your personal value system and how to leverage those values to improve your overall personal wellness, enhance your life, and stick to the goals you set for yourself.
  • Corporate Keynote by Live Your Dash Now ( 
    • Your life is a dash between two dates. It’s your past, present, and future.  What are you doing RIGHT NOW to move yourself forward with purpose and excitement to the future you really want.  That’s your DASH.
  • A morning or late afternoon yoga session
  • A morning or late afternoon spin class
  • A fun wellness workshop from our wellness menu
  • Retreat agenda planning and guidance for the company leadership team
  • Worksheets for planning sessions

For more information, contact Amber at or call 916-224-4591.  Let us help you in creating a dynamite strategic planning retreat and remember Successful Strategic Planning = Continued ROI!

Retaining Millennials: the blurred line.
By: Amber Rosen, Founder
April 18, 2016

Millennials blur the divide between work and personal life, whereas the mast majority of previous generations dedicate significant time to work and then go home and live completely private lives. Millennials don’t adhere to the metaphoric “punching in and off the clock” as a creation of boundaries and separation from coworkers, they actually take a completely different approach.#Teambuilding

Millennials mix personal life with work life. Millennials want to socialize and do things with their coworkers, so creating planned and regular activities in the workplace (or after hours) fits nicely into this generational trait. This can stem anywhere from onsite fitness classes, planned happy hours, potluck luncheons, teambuilding activities, and company sponsored recreational sports teams and run/walk races. One pivotal key to retaining Millennials is creating an active and fun culture that they deem necessary and healthy to their everyday lifestyle.  Like any strategy based approach, build out an activity calendar that is a constant flow of activities that foster socialization.

TeamMillennials also want you to give them opportunities that allow them personal exploration of interests.  This ties closely into creating activities, but focuses more on personal skill sets and self-help applications.  Millennials blur the line between personal growth and career growth, at the end of the day, growth in some way is key.  Consider integrating classes and workshops about computer applications; do an 8-week guitar course, quilting course, or cooking class onsite that allows Millennials personal exploration.  Again, integrate this into the yearly activity calendar and highlight as growth opportunities.

Lastly, Millennials talk about their personal lives with their team members, and may expect to talk about personal aspects of life with managers. While you don’t want to be invasive, expressing both a genuine interest and concern in the personal lives of your Millennial employees shows you care about them.

When it comes to work life and personal life, creating a work environment that isn’t an “exclusive” priority is the key, allowing them to blur personal life with work life. By providing a mix of socialization at work as well as other benefits that allow them personal exploration of interests, you’ll be on your way to creating an ideally balanced healthy environment. Give them the chance to find that work/personal mix that they want on an individual level.

art0188i.Art Fitness can help companies of various sizes create and implement their activity calendar to directly reflect employee interests.  We create a customized wellness activity plan for your company and ensure all aspects of event execution.  Contact us to get started!