SOAR Analysis Strategize by Naming Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results
SOAR Analysis much resembles a SWOT analysis. A SOAR Analysis is a tool to improve the strategic planning process and is best done in a group setting.
A SOAR analysis looks very similar to a SWOT analysis, but it very different in one regard: it expresses desired outcomes. So you still plot Strengths and Opportunities, but against them you plot Aspirations and Results, in a two by two grid that looks like this:
The idea behind SOAR is to move from seems like something static and just stating how things are now, to one that defines where you want to be.
Strengths: What can we build on?
Opportunities: What are our best future tracks?
Aspirations: What is deeply important to us?
Results: What will indicate that we are succeeding?
I always stressed to participants in a SWOT, that they should concentrate on the Strengths and Opportunities, while tending to kicking out of the way, the Weaknesses and Threats. However proponents of SOAR suggest that it is much more future oriented and will be more ‘can do’. My own feeling is that it might encourage groups to ignore things that are getting in the way of progress. We tend to be better at identifying the negative, rather than the positive. This is not to say that we’re pessimists—it’s just the way the brain works.
In this regard the Force Field Analysis has a good lesson. People have a tendency to be better at how to get rid of restraints than naming the positives. In addition if barriers can be eliminated goals are likely to more easily achieved.