The SOAR way!

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Two weeks ago I had a  call with Margaret Greenberg along with Dina Markind from our ICF-CT chapter president. It was around explaining how SOAR worked. I have been using different frameworks to assess organizational performance and strategic planning review over the years. The conversation was a comparison between SWOT and SOAR. SOAR meant that we would be discussing Strength, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results. The first question that challenges the previous paradigm is: where is weaknesses (W) and threats (T) here in the conversation? The second is what is the difference between Aspirations and Results? The third would follow: how do you bring them together?

After she explained a bit to me, I grasped the concept but had no idea what the application would bring. Next, I am facilitating a 30 min marketing strategy board meeting. I explained to our team the exercise and what we are going to do. I divided them to two groups alternating to work on the SO on one hand, and the AR on the other. I nevertheless gave them a focus which was:

“What were the marketing strengths that the chapter possesses?

What opportunities exist to utilize these strengths?

What aspirations does the board have for the chapter?

What results would they like to see? “

I also asked them to identify in the discussion some issues that need resolving and why (covering the WT part of the SWOT as instructed by Margaret).

The next 15 min was energy and positivity. I then asked for the results to be presented to wrap up the discussion. I then promised to collect this and send it to every one. If I had time we would have probably worked together to refine the lists and come up with the goals. That would have take another 90 minutes.

At my office I re-wrote the four elements of SOAR in a much organized manner. I then identified 24 marketing goals. Only 9 of them fell in the marketing territory while the others overlapped with other board members roles requiring that we collaborate.

I think the whole experience of SOAR in the way we did it is that it brought cohesion. There was clarity and identification of my own boundaries. The other board members were interested and the goals they brought to the discussion were considered as food for thought for everyone and their own roles. I developed more clarity and team focus. We are a new board and we have a year full of work. I love the energy and the team building that has resulted and will continue to result from SOAR. I like to pay a special thanks to Margaret and her work with us as a member coach. I also thank our president who is doing a marvelous job in supporting us in our new roles.

Nothing prepares you for the hands on experiences in life until you take on the adventure and work on your skills, that is how I feel about my role. I thank the board for being tolerant of me pushing my emails and goals around. I am sure we will come to a point when they actualize. We are a team working with spirit and that is what counts.