Strategy – it’s about creating a movement not just a plan, providing shared purpose, direction, coordinated and inspired action.

Traditional strategic planning involves a top-down process where a few experts and leaders are invited to develop the direction for the organization.  They typically begin with a “SWOT” analysis, a thorough examination of internal Strengths and Weaknesses, as well as external Opportunities and Threats.

By exploring the weaknesses and threats, however, organizations often spend more time examining the past (what’s broken) versus looking forward.  This narrows the focus around what isn’t desired, carrying little momentum to inspire innovative ideas around desired outcomes for the future.

At Spartina we replace the traditional SWOT analysis with its positive reframe, SOAR, a scan of key Strengths and Opportunities, Aspirations and Results – outcomes most desired that propel strategic vision and action forward.  What we look for we find, and what we pay attention to grows.

To stay relevant, while garnering the support of the movers and shakers needed to see the strategy through, we seek the engagement of employees from across functions and levels, giving voice to key internal as well as external stakeholders.  People commit to what they help to create.

The result: SMART goals backed by inspired action, having engaged the hearts, minds, and feet that turn calculated ideas into strategic decisions, committed follow-through, and collaborative camaraderie.

Our SOAR framework for strategic planning is adapted from The Thinbook on SOAR: Building Strength-Based Strategy, authored by our colleagues, Jacqueline M. Stavros and Gina Hinrichs.

Free Resource: SOARing from SWOT

Click below to download the article SOARing from SWOT: Four Lessons in Strategic Planning Done Right

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