From the beginning, Spartina starts in a unique place compared to traditional approaches. Many strategy development efforts begin with a “SWOT” analysis, an 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 (and 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.

Spartina instead uses a SOAR* analysis, an environmental scan around key Strengths and Opportunities, but with an intentional focus on Aspirations and Results – outcomes most desired that propel strategic visions forward – and with results-driven clarity so “we know it when we see it”. See our blog, SOARing from SWOT.

SOARSOAR engenders a spirit of inquiry (openness to what can and should be) and inclusion (engaging key stakeholders in a manner that guarantees buy-in and ownership).

Our approach allows people to tap into strengths, affirm core principles for success, and explore still greater possibilities—opportunities for innovation and improvement. Through key stakeholder appreciative interviews, creative visioning, rapid prototyping, and other practices, we maximize participation for creative idea generation and implementation. The result: solid strategies for moving forward; decisions grounded by participants’ proven, positive past; and the seeding of new, practical (yet bold) ideas for innovation. Pockets of cynicism and resistance are replaced by a renewed sense of possibility, shared commitment, and positive action. Many of our strategy projects culminate in a high-engagement retreat or summit, resulting in a high-level Strategy on a Page and a strategy roadmap that ensures momentum and inspired action for the path ahead.

*The SOAR framework was developed by Jackie Stavros. See: Stavros, J., & Hinrichs, G. (2009). Thin book of SOAR: Building strengths based strategy. Bend, OR: Thin Book Publishing.

Free Resource: SOARing from SWOT

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