Need a Strategic Plan? Consider SOAR in Place of SWOT
In strategic thinking circles, the SWOT model is a commonly used framework for strategic planning and stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The model is generative and has been helpful to many strategic planners over many years.
Having said this, there’s an alternative that is getting increasing attention called SOAR or strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results. SOAR grows out of the movement toward appreciative inquiry in which emphasis is placed on considering positive opportunities and possibilities as opposed to problems. While SWOT spends half of its distinctions on the what might go wrong, SOAR spends 100% of its categories on creating intention for future positive outcomes.
The shift from problem solving to opportunity finding is a subtle one, but results from positive psychology and innovation studies support the approach. For more on SOAR consider the Thin Book of SOAR and for more on appreciative inquiry consider the Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry.