In a past blog of mine, Growing your Company thru SOAR, I discussed not replacing a SWOT Analysis but using SOAR when setting a vision. SOAR an Appreciative Inquiry, a Strength-Based tool sometimes can deliver differently and I think more challenging results at times. As you may know from previous blog posts, Not as easy as you think, A SWOT Analysis, I do not use the simple 4-quadrant SWOT matrix that most of us have become accustomed. This method typically turns SWOT into nothing more than a brainstorming session. I practice an adoption from Marketing Plans for Service Businesses, Second Edition: A Complete Guide by Malcolm McDonald. That name may be recognizable from the Business901 podcast that can be found at The Process of Marketing Segmentation.
I notice recently that I have never blogged or release my SOAR Analysis template that I use. As you can see in the picture or the downloadable PDF, the actual SOAR part does not start till we have addressed and weighted the critical success factors for the Strengths/Aspirations analysis. If we do not address these factors and weight them, your SOAR will not be anything more than that brainstorming session I mentioned above. The Excel Sheet automatically tabulates the factors as you put them in. If you would like the Excel template let me know.
Completing this analysis of how well our Strengths and Aspirations compare to our competitors, we are then prepared to view the Opportunities and Results(outcomes) that the outside world influences. Areas that have or will continue to impact our business. After the SOAR is done then and only should we decide on the Key Issues that need to be addressed. Completing this exercise, we proceed with noting the key assumptions we have made in formulating this analysis. Doing this before we list our key objectives and strategies. This is sort of a gut-check on our analysis before we decide on the key objectives (From what to what by when) and Key strategies (How will we do this?). The last block is assigning some type of financial measurement to meeting a particular objective. We may consider that even more powerful than a gut-check.
If you are not familiar with SOAR framework it is an appreciative inquiry technique introduced to me in the book The Thin Book of SOAR; Building Strengths-Based Strategy.
- Strengths: Internal to organization; What is our core
- Opportunities: External to organization; What might be
- Aspirations: Internal to organization; What should be
- Results : External to organization; What will be