In today’s blog post, I will share how to use the SOAR analysis for your strategic decision-making.
This tool guides your company´s strengths and potential to create a shared vision of a positive future.
Rather than focus on weaknesses or areas for improvement, the SOAR analysis encourages you to focus on what your company excels in.
In essence, the SOAR analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used to help your company create and execute its powerful strategy for success.
- ⇒ What does SOAR stand for?
- ⇒ Who created the SOAR analysis?
- ⇒ What are the advantages?
- ⇒ How does SOAR compare to SWOT?
- Questions to ask during a SOAR analysis
- Questions to ask during a SWOT analysis
- ⇒ How to conduct a SOAR analysis
- ⇒ What are great questions to asked in each element?
- ⇒ Summary
What does SOAR stand for?
- SOAR is an acronym for Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results.
- Strengths and opportunities focus on your present situation, whereas aspirations and results focus on your desired future situation.
- For example, in the strengths category, you can ask “What do we excel at?” and “What are our greatest accomplishments?”
Who created the SOAR analysis?
The SOAR analysis was invented by Jacqueline Stavros, David Cooperrider, and D. Lynn Kelley. It was first introduced by them in 2003 as a new strategic planning tool for businesses.
What are the advantages?
The main advantages of a SOAR analysis are:
- Helps to set goals and targets to achieve
- It’s forward-looking and positive, unlike SWOT
- SOAR analysis is better than SWOT analysis for startups
- Focus the attention and efforts on the company´s strengths
- Beneficial to get clarity of what’s already working and to do more of
- Encourage action that supports the growth of the company
How does SOAR compare to SWOT?
- A SOAR analysis focuses on company’s current strengths and vision for the future. What is the company doing best and excels in?
- Helps to develop strategic goals to carry the company into the next phase of growth.
What differentiates a SOAR from the SWOT analysis?
- SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
- SWOT examines also perceived threats and weaknesses to the company’s success. It is a more top-down approach.
- SOAR enables you to examine all levels and functional areas of a company.
- SOAR focuses on enhancing tactics and strategies that you are currently doing well.
To understand how the two approaches differ, it can be useful to look at the various questions one might ask during a SOAR analysis versus a SWOT analysis.
Questions to ask during a SOAR analysis
- What are our greatest strengths?
- What are our best opportunities for growth and success?
- What future are we working towards?
- What measurable results will show us that we have achieved that vision of the future?
Questions to ask during a SWOT analysis
- What are our greatest weaknesses?
- How should we improve?
- What complaints do we regularly hear from our customers?
- Who are our direct competitors?
How to conduct a SOAR analysis
A SOAR analysis is best performed as a group exercise with key stakeholders.
The following six-step process will help you to perform the SOAR analysis:
Step 1: Determine objectives
- Why are you performing the SOAR analysis?
- What do you hope to achieve?
- What is the timeframe within which you want to achieve the results?
Step 2: Create a team
- Put together the team that will brainstorm ideas
- Include people from all levels of the company and important external stakeholders
- Ask each stakeholder to complete an initial questionnaire to gather their initial thoughts on strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results
- These information will form a key input into the brainstorming session
Step 3: Brainstorm
- Brainstorm and complete the first draft of your SOAR analysis as a team
Step 4: Prune
- Trim your SOAR analysis so that only the most important aspirations and results remain
- Decide which are the most attractive opportunities you want to pursue
- Create your compelling vision of the future and determine how you will measure success
Step 5: Execute
- After completion you need to delegate tasks to be executed
- Each task identified should have a single person ultimately responsible for it
Step 6: Monitor
- You need to track progress regularly
- How will you know you are making progress towards your aspirations and the results you want to achieve?
When conducting a SOAR analysis, answer these questions:
- What are our greatest strengths?
- What are our best opportunities?
- What is our preferred future?
- What are the measurable results that will tell us we’ve achieved our vision of the future?
What are great questions to asked in each element?
- What makes us unique?
- What is our greatest achievement?
- How do we use our strengths to get results?
- How do our strengths fit in our business environment?
- What about us is world class?
- What are our stakeholders asking for?
- What are the top 3 opportunities to focus on?
- Who are our new customers?
- How do we differentiate ourselves?
- What are our new markets?
- Reframe challenges into opportunities. Are new skills needed?
- What do we care deeply about?
- Who are we/ who should we become/ where should we go?
- What are our most compelling aspiration?
- What strategic initiative would support our aspirations?
- How do we know we are succeeding?
- What are meaningful measures?
- Key Point #1: SOAR analysis is a strategic planning tool.
- Key Point #2: Helps to determine the company´s strengths, best opportunities, preferred future and measurable results.
- Key Point #3: This technique can be used to help your company to create and execute its strategy.
- Key Point #4: There are six steps to conduct a SOAR analysis:
- Step 1: Determine objectives
- Step 2: Create a team
- Step 3: Brainstorm
- Step 4: Prune
- Step 5: Execute
- Step 6: Monitor
- Key Point #5: Success requires to ask great questions in each element, such as “What makes us unique? or What are our new markets? or How do we know we are succeeding?”
I´m available to support you through this difficult time by re-imagine your business. The SOAR analysis will help you in your strategic decision-making process.
We will develop a tailored strategy that will help you to get your business fast running at its peak performance.
Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute strategy session:
Coming up next month
In my next blog post, I´ll share how to use the Blue Ocean Strategy.
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