Although the SOAR analysis might sound similar to the SWOT analysis, the two tools are very different from each other. SOAR stands for Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results, and it is a strategic planning technique that looks into the organizations strengths and opportunities in order to develop its strategic goals for the future. The SOAR analysis applies for a range of businesses and industries, ranging from well-established international businesses to small sub-departments.
The SOAR analysis is divided into four quadrants and each one of them is explained below:
The first quadrant is Strengths and these are the firm’s core capabilities or in other words what the company does well. The questions that need to be asked here are:
- What are the company’s strengths and what differentiates the firm from the competitors?
- What makes us unique?
This quadrant represents the situations that can be leveraged to a firm’s advantage in order to attain tangible or intangible benefits such as increased profitability, enhanced brand image and so on. Some of the questions asked here are:
- Do we see any opportunities in the external environment?
- Could we fill any market gaps?
- What can be improved?
- What are the current market trends and where will they lead in the near future?
The third quadrant describes the place the company wants to be in the future, including its vision and mission. Here, we ask:
- Where do we want to be in a year from now and where in 10 years from now?
- What do we want to achieve?
- What do we need to change to achieve our goals?
The last quadrant describes the tangible outcomes or intangible rewards as a result of reaching the goals set.
- Have we achieved our target?
- What are the KPIs suggesting?
- Do we need to make any changes?
The main benefit of the SOAR analysis is that it looks into both the present and the future. This is something that other models neglect to consider. Therefore, SOAR analysis not only assesses a firm’s current situation, but it also crafts the strategic plan for the future by identifying its main strengths and areas of improvement. Some other benefits of the SOAR analysis are:
- Culture of continuous improvement
- Increased awareness of where the firm stands against its competitors.
- Strong focus in the future
- Engagement of all employees within the organization
- Increased employee morale and enhanced productivity.
- Overall organizational performance
How to do a SOAR analysis
1. Define clear objectives that you want to achieve with SOAR analysis
2. Build your SOAR team
3. Start brainstorming different ideas and share thoughts in an open session meeting. Fill in the four quadrants accordingly.
4. Clarify what you have gathered, sum up and delete any duplicates or claims with insufficient information. You need to be left with the key factors.
5. Create an action plan, delegate tasks and assign responsibility to different groups
6. Track your progress, identify errors and improve anything that is not good enough