SOAR analysis

What is SOAR analysis?

SOAR analysis is a strategic planning technique which helps organizations focus on their current strengths and opportunities, and create a vision of future aspirations and the result they will bring.

In contrast to SWOT analysis, the SOAR model uses appreciative inquiry to focus the business on what is known to work, rather than internal weaknesses or perceived threats that might not eventuate.

The output from a SOAR analysis is a set of actions that leverage strengths and opportunities to strive for shared aspirations with measurable results. It provides a basis for further in-depth analysis using other business tools.

Why do a SOAR analysis?

SOAR analysis is a powerful tool to bring stakeholders together to recognize the potential of the organization and create a shared vision of the future. Building on strengths requires less effort and resources than trying to correct weaknesses. The technique is more action oriented than a SWOT analysis and is focussed on outcomes. Use the SOAR model to:

  • To explore new initiatives
  • To develop a strategic plan and during annual strategy reviews
  • To focus and redirect efforts and resources
  • As part of a leadership development program
  • To plan an individual’s career or develop their performance plan

Who can use a SOAR analysis?

A SOAR analysis is a good option for new, less developed organizations. It works for everyone, no matter what position or level they hold and can include both employees and external stakeholders. It applies to:

  • All industries
  • All levels of an organization
  • Existing and new businesses
  • Companies striving for breakthroughs rather than gradual improvement
  • Individuals as part of their development plans
Related templates
Tips for facilitating an effective SOAR analysis

SOAR analysis template

A SOAR analysis template is structured as a simple 2 x 2 matrix, resulting in four quadrants highlighting Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results.

Strengths

What the organization does well, along with its key assets, resources, capabilities, and accomplishments.

Example questions:

  • What do we excel at?
  • What are our greatest accomplishments?
  • What are we most proud of?
  • What makes us unique?
  • What do we provide that is world class?
  • What strengths are most valuable in our marketplace?
  • What do we do or have that’s better than anyone else?

Aspirations

An expression of what you want to be and achieve in the future. A vision to build on current strengths, provide inspiration, and challenge the current situation.

Example questions:

  • What do we want to achieve in the future?
  • What should our future business look like?
  • How can we make a difference?
  • What are we passionate about?
  • What strategies and actions support our perfect future self?

Opportunities

Circumstances that your team could leverage for success, eg. to improve profitability, market share, or competitive edge.

Example questions:

  • What partnerships would lead to greater success?
  • What changes and trends in the market align with our strengths?
  • What threats do we see that we could reframe as opportunities?
  • What needs and wants are we currently not fulfilling for our internal and external stakeholders?
  • Are there gaps in the market that we could fill?

Results

Tangible outcomes and measures that demonstrate you’ve achieved your goals and aspirations.

Example questions:

  • What measures will tell us we are on track to achieve success?
  • How do we translate our vision of success into tangible outcomes?
  • How do we know when we’ve achieved our goals?

How to do SOAR analysis effectively

To get the best possible outcomes from your SOAR analysis, choose participants with a broad range of perspectives. The group should consist of people from across different departments within your organization and could even include other stakeholders such as clients, suppliers, and partners.

If it’s difficult to get all participants in one place at the same time, screen sharing software and video conferencing allow facilitators to use traditional brainstorming tools like poster paper, whiteboards, and sticky notes. However, making sure everyone’s ideas are incorporated and transcribing, collating and prioritizing can be challenging. Online collaboration software such as GroupMap solves many of these problems and provides an efficient way to include, and consolidate all relevant information.

The time required to conduct an effective SOAR analysis will vary. However, it’s possible to set the scene, brainstorm, and prioritize within 45 minutes. Development of an initial action plan may take a further 30-60 minutes

Objectives

Define a clear, one sentence objective for the SOAR analysis.

Brainstorm

Gather input and ideas

Collate

Clarify content, group similar ideas, and delete duplicates.

Prioritize

Vote and prioritize issues according to impact on the organization.

Action Planning

Create an action plan assigning responsibility for each issue to a group or individual.

Share

Share outcomes, including the action plan with relevant stakeholders.

Cross Device Compatibility

Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.