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Assignment: Personal Strategic Plan
By: Chad J. Czelusniak-Serviss
Course: Strategy, Innovation & Resilience
Professor: Donna Mellen, Ed.D.
Antioch University New England
Step 1: Mission - Find Your Purpose……………….…………………..……….….…pg 3-12
Step 2: Vision – Imagine the Sweet Smell (Sound, Look, and Feel) of Success.…...pg 12-14
Step 3: Name Your Critical Success Factors……….………………………………pg 14-16
Step 4: Find Your Sweet SWOT……………….………..……………………………pg 16-17
Step 5: Set Goals: Your Steps To Success…………………………………………pg 18-19
Step 6: Perform a Time Study………………………………..………………………pg 19-20
Step 7: Select Successful Strategies: tools to set You on a Productive Path.……...pg 20
Step 8: Pulling it all Together - Conclusion.………………………………………..…...pg 21
Works Cited………………………………………………………………….…………..…pg 22
A Strategic Plan is where you take steps to clarify the overall purpose and
desired results of an organization, and how those results will be achieved. For this
assignment I will develop my own Personal Strategic Plan.
There are eight steps in which to take for completing a Personal Strategic Plan,
based on the information gathered from “The Joy of Strategy, A Business Plan for Life”
by Allison Rimm. Step One is the Mission, where you find your purpose. Step Two is
the Vision, where you imagine the sweet smell (sound, look, and feel) of success. Step
Three is where you name your critical success factors. Step Four is where you find
your sweet SWOT. Step Five is to set your goals, your steps to success. Step Six you
perform a time study. Step Seven you select successful strategies, which are tools to
set you on a productive path. Finally Step Eight is pulling all together, the conclusion.
For this paper I will perform the steps, exercises, and activities suggested by
‘The Joy of Strategy’ in developing this Personal Strategic Plan.
Step 1: Mission - Find Your Purpose
Part One: Your Proud Accomplishments
To start off Part One is an exercise that gets you to think of ‘Your Proud
Accomplishments’. Start by thinking of an accomplishment you’re proud of, something
that succeeded because of the unique blend of talents you provided. (Rimm, 2013)
One of the most proud moments of my life is when I took a dance student, Joan
(name changed for this paper), to a competition. Joan has turner syndrome (TS), which
is a condition in which a female is partly or completely missing an X chromosome.
Signs and symptoms vary among those affected. Often, a short and webbed neck, low-
set ears, low hairline at the back of the neck, short stature, and swollen hands and feet
are typical. Many times they are without menstrual periods, do not develop breasts, and
are unable to have children. Heart defects, diabetes, and low thyroid hormone occur
more frequently. Most people with TS have normal intelligence. Many, however, have
troubles with spatial visualization such as that needed for mathematics. Vision and
hearing problems occur more often. Due to these items listed, Joan had many
difficulties learning techniques that were required for dance competitions. It was
important to Joan to learn the technique as required; she did not want any modifications
to her training due to her condition. Joan had the option to compete in the
handicapped division of the competition but refused, it may have been a sense of honor
For many months I taught Joan routines for ten ballroom dances, in preparation
for the competition. As an example; Foxtrot is a smooth, progressive dance
characterized by long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. Foxtrot is
a dance that travels around a room in a counter clockwise direction, where the lead
dancer generally faces and heads down the line of dance, with a following dancer who
is in front of the lead dancer. It is danced to big band (usually vocal) music. The dance
is similar in its look to waltz. The follow dancer reacts to clues that the lead dancer
provides. The result is two people dancing in unison around the room.
One of the things that most dancers take for granted is the simple fact that most
people’s own two legs are about the same length; this was not the case for Joan.
Joan’s right leg was considerably shorter than her left. This made it almost impossible
to have continuity in our dance routine performances. Regardless, Joan insisted I
teach her, and we perform, at the standard dance performance level.
During the competition we performed at the normal level and Joan performed
quite well, you would barely know she had (what is considered) a disability. Students
are scored on a gold, silver, bronze standard. Most of Joan’s performances scores
were silver, with a few being bronze. We were very happy with the outcome.
At the end of the performances and scoring I felt so proud of Joan’s
accomplishment. As the instructor I worked to help her develop the skills she needed to
achieve her goal.
One of the reasons I became a dance instructor was because I wanted to find a
way to continue dancing for my own interests of entertainment, exercise, and a creative
outlet. I did not go into dance instructing for the joy of teaching and helping someone
else achieve their goals, but eventually that shifted. Once I started working with Joan,
and others, I really made it my focus to be a good instructor. This also led me to being
a good choreographer as well, I needed to teach steps that fit the criteria of the dance
program but also fit well with Joan’s abilities.
The next part of the process for developing a personal strategic plan is to ‘Think
About What Made You so Successful’? It is suggested to jot down what it was about
yourself that made you so successful. What combination of skills and abilities made you
uniquely suited to pull it off? (Rimm, 2013)
A sense of reality came to light for me when I realized that the student is the
focus of my job and responsibility. My boss at the time pointed out that it is important to
be a good dancer for yourself, but that when you take on the responsibility of an
instructor you should learn the best way to teach. With Joan’s physical limitation I felt
compelled to help her the best way that I could and being a good teacher was the only
way I could see to achieve that goal. So I started to evaluate how a dance movement
can be taught and learned in different ways to give the most effective experience
possible. What I learned from Joan was that she needed repetition. The more I taught
her the more she needed to physically repeat the movement. I could not just show her
a step, pattern, or technique and expect her to immediately incorporate it into her dance
Once we repeated the taught material enough it would become what is called
muscle memory for Joan. She did the movement so much that, like walking, she no
longer had to consciously think about the movement anymore, she could just do it.
I think the reason I was so concerned about becoming a great instructor was
because growing up I had a learning disability and had to take special classes. Even
though the classes, at the time, seemed to be holding me back, I now realize that the
special attention really helped me get ahead.
Being someone who went through learning with special needs I understand how
Joan felt and I wanted to develop the skills to help her with her special needs.
The next exercise suggested for my personal strategic plan is a ‘Talent
- What are my unique skills, talents and strengths?
The unique skills, talents and strengths that I have are more of an overall
process understanding and development ability, basically systems thinking. “Systems
Thinking focuses on how the thing being studied interacts with the other constituents of
the system – a set of elements that interact to produce behavior – of which it is a part.
This means that instead of isolating smaller and smaller parts of the system being
studied, systems thinking works by expanding its view to take into account larger and
larger numbers of interactions as an issue is being studied. This results in sometimes
strikingly different conclusions than those generated by traditional forms of analysis,
especially when what is being studied is dynamically complex or has a great deal of
feedback from other sources, internal or external (Aronson, 1996).” Having the ability to
understand systems and systems thinking has led me to take a step back and consider,
from the book ‘The Practice of Adaptive Leadership’ by Ronald Heifetz, the balcony
perspective, which is a metaphor for getting up in the balcony for the perspective of
looking down at a dance floor instead of only having the perspective of actually being on
the dance floor itself (Heifetz, 2015).
Getting into the balcony and looking at a situation from different perspectives
helps me to consider not only how a situation can benefit me and my needs, but also
how whatever I do effects so many other aspects of the situation, and can lead to many
different outcomes for others as well. I have trained myself to constantly put myself in
the balcony and feel that it has granted me the ability to try and take as many
perspectives into consideration.
-What’s my first instinct when approaching a new challenge?
My first instinct when approaching a new challenge is to find ways of
understanding as much of the situation at hand as possible. In the past a boss has told
me that she can put me into a new situation, that may be new or a surprise, and I will
succeed as long as I am fully aware of what is expected. But when I am not informed or
don’t understand some aspects of what is expected, I don’t perform as well. I’ve
learned to ask questions to alleviate this challenge.
-What is the first thing I do when I enter a room?
When I enter a room the first thing I do is look around and assess where items
and people are located. Then I take some time to check the moods of the people in the
room. Do people look at you when you enter? Do people smile when they greet you?
Are people in a good mood, bad mood, and indifferent mood? I am always evaluating
the emotional temperature of the people and then adjust myself slightly to
-What do I spontaneously contribute to the activity of a group?
There are two things that come to mind in regards to my spontaneous
contribution to the activity of a group. The first is a sense of order and direction. When
there is a group activity I want to make sure we all understand the situation and that we
are all on the same page walking in to the situation. The second is a sense of humor.
Because I am constantly paying attention to everyone’s attitude I usually can tell when
tensions are getting high and a relief is needed.
-What do I feel compelled to do for others?
In the past I have felt compelled to help people see what strengths they have and
how their strengths can be guided to a desirable direction, or how what may be
considered bad behavior can lead to bad outcomes.
I also feel compelled to have conversations with the intent of understanding one
another. When I have conversations with people I pay attention to the things they say,
how they are saying the content, their body language, and their overall tone. Many
times I feel compelled to basically inventory the information for future use. So when the
time comes I can have an inventory of information to back up my suggestions or
conclusions. Although I have reached the point in life where I still watch and evaluate,
but I try to only give advice when it is asked.
-What are others seeking when they come to me for help?
In general it seems I am called upon for help regarding decision making. Both
when there is not enough information for the asker to make said decision and when the
asker is just not personally capable of making a decision without some kind of guidance
The next exercise suggested for my personal strategic plan is to ‘Name Your
-What are some peak experiences I’ve enjoyed in my life?
One I have already discussed early from the teaching experience with the
student Joan. That gave me such a sense of accomplishment that I really enjoy.
Another is simply when I achieve a goal, like obtaining my own education. A few
years ago I realized that I was not doing the type of work that meant something to me
more than simply doing a job. I wanted my job to be more fulfilling beyond the task at
hand and I thought obtaining an education to enhance the then current knowledge I had
would be the best move for me. I get such a thrill out of learning and love to share that
knowledge with others.
-What activities am I naturally drawn to?
I am naturally drawn to the type of activities that are team oriented and learning
based. No matter what I am doing, weather it is for work or recreation, I am happier
when I am able to develop skills and just generally have fun doing it.
-What is my favorite kind of vacation?
The type of vacation that is my favorite is one where I am exploring a new area
and culture. I’m pretty much happy to go anywhere but when I do plan a vacation I will
spend a lot of time researching the area for the best places to see, to eat, and to shop.
-How do I spend my spare time?
Being in graduate school has not afforded me too much spare time but when I do
have spare time I usually like to read, do yard work or garden, get involved in
community activities, hike, and walk our dog.
-What are my hobbies?
My hobbies are reading, crocheting, dancing, and hiking.
-What do I do when I’m procrastinating?
When we owned the house we lived in many times I would simply hang out in the
back yard with our dog Mischa when I was procrastinating. Even now living in an
apartment when I find myself procrastinating I’m usually doing something with Mischa,
she makes me happy.
The next exercise suggested for my personal strategic plan is to ‘Answer these
-If you didn’t have to earn a living, how would you spend your time?
I would spend my time exploring the world. I would learn as many languages as I
could. I would create a sanctuary for myself, family, and friends to have a creative,
-If you had a million dollars to donate, what cause would you support?
I would donate to homelessness, education, and Alzheimer’s research.
-What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Start my own business with innovative sustainable products and a business
structure that was designed to respect and incorporate the human (better yet ‘living’)
personality aspects, along with developing a relationship with nature instead of using it
as an asset. Of course all of that would be going on while the company is generating a
Part Two: Write Your Mission Statement
This is a declaration of your life’s purpose – why you are here. Craft your mission
statement as if you couldn’t fail. (Rimm, 2013)
My Mission Statement:
I will choose the ethical way by making a personal commitment to honesty and
integrity. I will build a reputation of being dedicated to every goal I choose to pursue
while having successes in both my personal and professional life. I will find
peacefulness within myself by looking inward while using my heart to guide my dreams
and desires, and my mind to pursue knowledge, creating balance among all of my
obligations. I will remember where I have been and where I will go through maintaining
positive relationships with family and friends. I will find content in my surroundings so I
will always know where security lies within my life. I will enjoy every moment along this
journey finding laughter, love, and happiness with each day that passes. (School, 2015)
Step 2: Vision – Imagine the Sweet Smell (Sound, Look, and Feel) of Success
The first exercise for this section is to develop ‘Your Personal Vision Statement –
Weaving the Threads’. We are to consider the guiding questions below and then create
a vision statement that incorporates the elements that are most meaningful.
-What do I need to have in my life to feel joyful and fulfilled?
For me a sense of joy and being fulfilled comes from balance. Balance between
things like work/play, focus/release, sadness/happiness, and being with people and
being alone. I especially feel joy and a sense of fulfillment when I can combine
achievements with the balance that I seek.
-When do I feel at my best?
I feel at my best when I am physically and mentally healthy, active, playful, and
informed. Also when I am being creative, especially when it is a challenge, is when I
feel I am at my best.
-What are some of the peak experiences of my life? What was special about them that I
want to have more of in my daily life?
Learning to dance, and learning how to teach dance. Learning interior design
and then being able to use the skills learned to create an interior space. Basically my
peak experiences have been situations where I have had the opportunity to learn
something I am interested in, then sharing that information in a creative way.
-If I/my organization/my project is wildly successful, what is happening?
There is a lot of dialog, and communication is most important for an organization
or project I am working on to feel wildly successful. When there is positive energy
created by a team working together for a common goal I couldn’t be happier.
-If I didn’t have to make money to live, how would I spend my time?
If I didn’t need to make money I would probably spend a lot of time in a library or
a book store. I would also spend my life learning – going from one degree program to
another. Not to obtain more degrees just to have them but to learn something new
every day. I am also at the point in my life where I would like to find ways of helping
the community and world in a much broader way.
-Whose life do I envy? What do they have that I want in my life?
This one is tricky for me to develop, because one of the things that I have worked
on is not to envy anyone. That may seem odd but I admire people and look up to them
when they inspire me, but I don’t really envy them. If I did have to choose someone to
envy it would be Dr. John D. Radigan, Professor at Paul Smith’s College. John is a
friend of mine, introduced by a mutual friend in the Lake Placid NY area. John has a
BA and MA from SUNY Binghamton in English, MFA from Norwich University in Poetry,
and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University in English. John has recently become very
involved in permaculture and is in the process of becoming certified in some capacity. I
cannot say that I am familiar with many details of his education and his current
investment in permaculture but our mutual interest in the worlds sustainability
conversation has lead us to some great shared insight. The way he carries himself in a
pleasant, almost all knowing without pretense, manner is exactly how I would like to be
-Who are the people in my life who support my vision? How are they helping me? How
am I interacting with them?
This one is a bit tricky to fully develop because many people in my life don’t really
understand my mission or vision. Once I started heading down the bigger picture
concepts of sustainability many of my family and friends just did not and do not
understand. I think this may be the reason I try so hard to make sure that when I
explain something it is understandable to as many people as possible.
Right now there are two people in my life who support my vision; Tim my
husband, and Sara my best friend. The two of them help me by listening to what I have
to say, no matter how in depth or confusing it may be, and by engaging in conversation
with dialog. The way I interact with them is to also ask what their visions are and see if
there are ways to assist.
Your Personal Vision Statement:
My vision is realizing the full potential of myself and of others. My personal vision
is to use myself as an example to impact positive attitudes and share my can do and
never die attitude with whoever crosses my path in life. I wish that I can inspire and
motivate others to discover and develop their own potential and live life to fullness. In
order for this vision to be fulfilled, I need to get a career first so that I can help more by
helping myself first.
Step 3: Name Your Critical Success Factors
The exercise for this section is to ‘Make Your List’. The instructions suggest
pulling out your vision statement and taking a look at all the individual aspects that
combine to comprise your ideal future. Simply make a list of those things that need to
be in place for you to fully occupy the picture you’ve drawn for yourself. In the next
step, take an inventory of those factors that you have in place and those that you will
have to acquire.
The first part of my vision is realizing the full potential of me and of others. To
achieve this realization of my full potential the act of going back to school and having an
organized structure to my growth seemed to make the most sense. One of the main
goals of going back to school was to find a way of incorporating sustainability into my
toolbox. What I realized is that adding sustainability for me was adding a sense of
humanity to business, which historically has lacked the emotional connectedness that
just feels natural to me. Having this sensitivity to business sustainability and emotional
connectedness is a very inclusive concept and logically includes others, which will be
the way I will incorporate the full potential of others. I'm hoping to be able to develop
that sense by possibly obtaining a Sustainability Fellowship, in Organizational
Development type of position, which will give me another organized structure that will
connect the concepts.
The second part of my vision is that my personal vision is to use myself as an
example to impact positive attitudes and share my can do and never die attitude with
whoever crosses my path in life. By my actions of volunteerism and keeping the big
picture concepts in mind I will be able to impact positive attitudes, and then shared with
as many people as possible.
The third part of my vision is that I wish that I can inspire and motivate others to
discover and develop their own potential and live life to fullness. Being a positive role
model through my volunteerism and advocacy will be the start of inspiring and
motivating others. With the potential of a Sustainability Fellowship, or Organizational
Development type position I will also be able to incorporate techniques that will inspire
and motivate others.
The final part of my vision states that in order for this vision to be fulfilled, I need
to get a career first so that I can help more by helping myself first. I am only a few
weeks away from completing the MBA in Sustainability from Antioch University New
England and am in the process of job hunting. One of the first tasks is to update my
resume, which is now complete. Now that the resume is updated I will have to decide if
I am going to apply for a fellowship, temp to hire position, or a regular full-time
position. Because I am in the middle of a career shift, it may behoove me to consider a
fellowship, or temp position to obtain the skills needed to be in the industry of my
Step 4: Find Your Sweet SWOT
A SWOT Analysis is a tool that identifies the strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats. The first exercise is to create a SWOT Analysis
1. Strengths: Will take a look at the vision statement and critical success factors.
2. Weaknesses: Will explore what is needed to be successful.
3. Opportunities: Take a look at what’s happening that could present a great
4. Threats: Will explore the things that are perceived as hazards in the
environment that have the potential to blow you off course?
I am sincere, warm-hearted and empathetic.
This helps me to see the best in other
At times, I can become unsatisfied if new
challenges are not presented.
I am determined to find solutions considering
all aspects of the problem and the people
Although driven to be successful and to
inspire others, at times I do not
acknowledge my own needs.
Strong communication skills.
Good at working within teams. Lack of management experience.
Good problems solving and presentation
Easily bored with routine work.
I am a hard worker, and am determined to
take my time over task's to produce the best
piece of work I can.
I am not always organized on paper, which
can make it difficult for others to know my
I am a strong public speaker and find this
task (such as giving presentations)
Difficulty deciding when getting spread thin
which ultimately leads to poor performance
My drive to be successful pushes me to
continue to expand and build upon my hard
and technical skills that will lead to great
things in my future.
My drive for challenges could derail me if I
do not find opportunities to learn and grow.
Fortunately, I am eager to continue to
developing in all facets of my life, so during
these times I am sure I will find something to
conquer to maintain my level of satisfaction.
These strength traits help me relate to others
honestly and authentically, while being
motivated to be responsive and proactive.
Because I like to be challenged, I'm often
eager to take on a new task or project - the
stimulation keeps me motivated. As I take
on more and more challenges, I
occasionally lose balance because I am not
taking care of my own needs, thereby
reducing my resilience.
The expectation that after one obtains an
MBA there is ample job opportunities.
Tendency to sometimes leave things till the
last minute (organizational skills and time
My willingness to talk to anyone to start
Current economic climate does not guarantee
me a job when I complete the MBA.
Step 5: Set Goals: Your Steps To Success
The first goal that I have is to complete the MBA in Sustainability program at
Antioch University New England. For this program I have a year-long Practicum
Project that I am focusing on Learning Organizations, and would like to find a way to
develop the skills in a professional setting.
‘Learning Organizations’ is an “organization that acquires knowledge and
innovates fast enough to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing environment. Learning
organizations create a culture that encourages and supports continuous employee
learning, critical thinking, and risk taking with new ideas, allow mistakes and value
employee contributions, learn from experience and experiment, and disseminate the
new knowledge throughout the organization for incorporation into activities (Business
It has been suggested to me that if I want to get an in-depth look at the starting
point of Learning Organizations that I should consider an entry-level type position in the
field of Organizational Development, or develop skills through a fellowship.
Another long-term goal is to potentially teach at the college level. To start
heading in that direction, in the short-term, I may consider teaching at an
Undergraduate School as an adjunct.
A life, long-term, goal is to find a way to make the work environment a more
productive and enjoyable experience that incorporates systems thinking concepts.
Although I do enjoy Peter Senge’s exploration into Learning Organizations with his
research published in the book The Fifth Discipline, I find some of the concepts
incomplete. A long-term goal would be to explore other types of applicable frameworks
that assist in developing Learning Organizations, to see which overall structure works
best for my thinking.
Step 6: Perform a Time Study
Daily Schedule: Activity
6:oo AM Wake up - start the day.
7:00 AM Walk dog - get back and relax w/ breakfast.
8:00 AM Go to work
9:00 AM Work
10:00 AM Work
11:00 AM Work
12:00 PM Work
1:00 PM Work
2:00 PM Work
3:00 PM Finish work - go home - walk dog
4:00 PM Prepare dinner - clean house
5:00 PM Sit and eat - relax watch tv
6:00 PM tv
7:00 PM Homework assignments (reading or write papers)
8:00 PM Homework assignments (reading or write papers)
9:00 PM Homework assignments (reading or write papers)
10:00 PM Homework assignments (reading or write papers)
11:00 PM Stop doing homework and wind down to relax
12:00 AM Head to bed
Considering my current schedule there is not much more time for me to add
recreational time. When I walk the dog is when I usually will try and find a way to
incorporate fun activities as well. The main thing I realized by looking at this is that I
really don’t give myself too much down time. The older I am getting the more I realize
that I need time to think and process. Having a schedule like this has started to add a
level of pressure and stress, because of the lack of work/life balance.
Currently I am willing to make some sacrifices in my down time because I only
have a few weeks left to the MBA program, and feel I can push myself just a bit more to
get to the end of the program. Even reading that statement back I am already stressing
about the imbalance, which tells me I do need to find a balance even though I only have
such a short amount of time to complete the program.
Step 7: SelectSuccessfulStrategies:tools to set You on a Productive Path
At this point there is little I can do to limit the amount of school work that I have,
unless I simply no longer attend the program (which is simply not going to happen).
What I plan on doing is condensing the amount of time I dedicate to school work by
organizing how I approach assignments and readings. By organizing the approach I will
possibly be able to take an evening and spend it with family and friends to have the
I would also like to spend more time doing community service projects. When I
do participate in community service projects it is usually a onetime event. There is few
community service projects that need someone who has a limited schedule like mine
that can help more than the one time help I normally give. It may be possible to find an
activity that is on a weekend day, so I can guarantee the time is available to participate.
Step 8: Pulling it all Together - Conclusion
In my final reflection on my Personal Strategic Plan, I can’t help but remember
the opening statement of Chapter 2, The Joy of Strategy by Allison Rimm, “If you don’t
know where you are going, any road will get you there – Lewis Carroll (Rimm, 2013, p.
43).” Working through the exercises and activities that were developed by Allison
Rimm, has guided me through steps that really gave me an opportunity to ‘dive deep’
and reflect on my personal/professional life. In Step One I created my Mission, where I
found my purpose and was happy to see that I am driven to help others. Then in Step
Two I created my Vision, where I imagined successes that also lead me to basically
helping others as well. Step Three I named my critical success factors and developed
concepts that may help me implement my Vision. Step Four I developed a SWOT
Analysis and realized that weaknesses and threats can be balanced with skills
developed in my successes and opportunities. During Step Five is where I set short-
term and long-term goals and developed ideas on how to move ahead to achieve said
goals. Step Six I performed a time study and realized that I need to seriously focus on
balance in my life. Step Seven I reflected on all the other steps and developed
successful strategies to find the work/life balance that was established in Step Six.
My intentions are to continue developing this Personal Strategic Plan, utilizing
the steps, to maintain a working document that will guide me throughout my life.
Aronson, D. (1996, January 1). Overview of Systems Thinking. Retrieved from Thinking
Business Dictionary. (2015, November 29). Learning Organization. Retrieved from
Business Dictionary: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/learning-
Heifetz, R. (2015). The Practice of Adaptive Leadership. Boston: Harvard Business
Rimm, A. (2013). The Joy of Strategy (A Business Plan for Life). Brookline:
School, C. C. (2015, November 16). Writing a Personal Mission Statement. Retrieved
from Carroll County Public School: http://www.carrollk12.org/