The Four-Year Plan

Making the most of a playful reminder that our work moves, grows, and is accomplished in cycles.

“What’s our five-year plan?” It’s a common question. Planning, goal-setting, and communication are all part of good organizational operations. But when we focus on the handy number five, we miss an opportunity that is staring at us on the calendar: Leap Year. Every four years we get an extra day added to February to keep in sync with celestial motion, so why not use it? Here are some ideas to make the most of the helpful hint that’s already scheduled on the calendar.

Leap Into Action

  1. Start asking yourself and the people you work with this question:
    • What would we leap toward if we knew we wouldn’t sprain anything in the process
  2. Between January 1st and February 29th­—2/29 is Leap Day—reflect on the wild ideas, small hopes, and tactical steps that would make a real difference to the health and success of your work. Think of it like strategic planning with a planetary/orbital boost.*
    • Pick the leap—large or small—that sparks your collective interest and that you want to hold as part of your collective vision and orientation to your work for the next four years. The thing that you leap toward can keep your attitudes oriented toward beneficial, enjoyable outcomes for your work and your team.
        • *You actually have the entirety of the year to do this, but the first quarter of the year is handiest.
  3. Then begin! On February 29th, our extra day, take one small step for your aspirations, one giant leap your enjoyment of work.
    • Whatever tools you use for planning or project management (online templates, spreadsheets, Post Its, sidewalk chalk… whatever you like!), use them to help you organize the ideas and actions that will help you leap. Just remember that the timeline is now four years and oriented to the arrival of next Leap Year, four years ahead (management models are known to be wildly more enjoyable when oriented to cosmic timing).
  4. Your use of Leap Year and Leap Day is a playful reminder that our work happens in cycles. With an eye toward the whimsical and the playful, we can add a little zip to what we want to accomplish while savoring that once-per-four-years extra day!
    • Plus, we get an annual, calendar-based boost of encouragement to our ongoing progress every year on March 4th—the date that is also an imperative command: March Forth!

Here’s to finding inspiration in the daily details and here’s to leaping into making work better and finding more enjoyment in how we work with other humans.


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