What people are saying about SOAR
"I love the Thin Book of SOAR! I have used it myself and I have promoted it to many clients as well as to many, many HR and other professionals who are coaching students in the program in which I'm faculty. SOAR is a welcome alternative in the world of strategic planning and I am grateful to Jackie Stavros and Gina Hinrichs for putting it out there for us." Patricia Rachel Schwartz, M.A., P.C.C., B.C.C. Business Strategy Coaching; Leadership Training
"Masterful in its simplicity, this book captures the essence of strengths-based planning in a way that any business could readily adopt. Stavros and Hinrichs have delivered a whole system approach to strategic planning that harnesses the positive energy embedded in every organization. SOAR provides a flexible framework for strategic planning that has universal application to any business dilemma." Tim Lukenda, President and CEO, Extendicare Health Services, Inc.
"The SOAR concept offers a proven approach for inspired action! It avoids the trap of analysis paralysis, and fosters responsive and nimble decision making. It also provides a framework for timely course corrections, enabled by alignment and teamwork, through continuous collaboration and communication...shaped by relevant world experiences." Pat Pinkston, Vice-President Agriculture and Turf Global Platform Services, John Deere
"This book introduces a straightforward way to identify and unlock the positive energy in organizations by involving multiple stakeholders. You will find the book to be practical and easy to implement to build a strategic foundation in your organization. I recommend that you capitalize on the practical experience and wisdom contained in this book." Kim Cameron, Professor, Ross School of Business and School of Education, University of Michigan
"I have spent my life seeking and providing positive perspectives so others can focus their vision and see the extraordinary. In the area of strategic planning, SOAR provides an approach that will help people in your organization gain the focus and the courage to pursue what's right. It will help them discover the courage to soar!" Dewitt Jones, National Geographic Photographer and keynote speaker.
"The SOAR approach to environmental scanning represents a tremendous innovation to the strategic planning process as well as a generative integration of the appreciative strengths-based approach to building organizational capacity. Leveraging an organization's positive core, the SOAR process seeks to increase organizational capability and performance by pushing it beyond its existing boundaries to a more expansive state integrating strategic goals, objectives and activities (what we do) with values, practices and behaviors (how we do it) thereby creating shared purpose and meaningful engagement. This is a great book and a great contribution to the strategic planning process!" Thomas J. Griffin, Ph.D, Vice-President, Organizational Learning, U.S. Cellular, Chicago, Illinois
"The powerful combination found within SOAR of traditional strategic planning and Appreciative Inquiry has created a way for organizations to tap into new levels of strategic opportunity. Organizations have begun to discover that the old strategic planning methods of focusing on the negative aspects of the business lead to a downward spiral of counter-measures, instead of the upward spiral of potential opportunities and growth provided by SOAR. The motivational aspects of SOAR are also incredibly powerful, as employees and stakeholders find their voices resonating in the future plans of the organization. This makes implementation work. It would be a mistake to underestimate the potential of SOAR to dramatically change the strategic planning landscape as we know it. This is very impressive book – great job!" D. Lynn Kelley, Ph.D, Vice-President, Textron Six Sigma, Providence, Rhode Island
"In today’s world with its ever increasing speed of change, it is refreshing and hopeful to see frameworks emerge that will help us cope with change in a positive and constructive way. More than ever we need to discover our strengths as only they will help us to find our true identity, that of the communities we live in and the organizations we work for. All of us dealing with change will be inspired by the thinking behind SOAR - and the practical tools suggested - as described in this book. And as such this book is an invitation to start using SOAR to help your community, your organization to move into the direction of its strengths. It was a great pleasure to read this new Thin Book. And, others will find it quite useful." Joep C. de Jong, Director Learning Solutions, BT Global Services, The Netherlands
"Our organization learned how to use the Quick SOAR described in this book and it exceeded our expectations. Not only was it an efficient planning tool, it was inclusive, engaging, flexible, and adaptable. Most importantly Quick SOAR was fun and inspiring. How many hospital meetings achieve that?" Karen Buhler, Acting Head, Department of Family Practice, British Columbia Women's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada
"The Thin Book of SOAR is a practical guide for navigating a world of complexity with an easy to understand framework and questions that can change how we see the world from one of lack to one of possibility. It leads the reader to a new way of seeing based on finding strategic solutions which often results in great than expected outcomes." Deborah Maher, Principal, Touchstone Consulting Group, Washington, D.C.
"This is one of the best strategy books I've read. The SOAR framework and its approach build strength on strength in a practical proactive way. Strengths-based strategy puts right brain and left brain together with a whole brain-whole systems approach for planning in business, government, education, and non-governmental organizations." Dr. Marge Schiller, President, Positive Change Core, Boston, Massachusetts
"This book is excellent! It is an essential read for anyone looking to accomplish extraordinary results. It provides the framework for working with people in a positively deviant fashion that capitalizes on strengths and makes weaknesses irrelevant. The authors do an excellent job explaining what is SOAR and how to simply use SOAR as a whole system collaborative approach that brings out the best in people and their action plans." Fadi Baradihi, Chief Operations Officer, Hantz Financial Services, Inc., Midland, Michigan
"This is an excellent framework for engaging your organization—moving strategy from ideas to execution. Jackie and Gina have given us an inspirational, yet practical frameworks for helping leaders engage people in creating actionable strategies. A short read, but a depth of understanding that can only come from those who have been on the front lines. A must read for those interested in creating strategies and strategic plans that live beyond the annual planning meeting." Mona A. Amodeo, Ph.D, Founder & President, idgroup, Pensacola, Florida
"It is amazing the power that can be derived from focusing on the strengths of our selves and our people. It is also amazing that it surprises us. What could be more natural and more powerful!" Michael A. Rinkus, Senior Vice President, National Group Manager, International Trade Services,Comerica Bank
"This book is a must read for everyone engaged in organizational change. The SOAR Framework is brilliant! It simultaneously addresses business management solutions while encouraging collaboration among all stakeholders. I experienced exceptional results after applying SOAR principles in my organization. SOAR is easy to use and offers the holistic, strengths-based, approach to decision making necessary for transformation. Large and complex organizations such as the U.S. Department of Defense will benefit when SOAR is used to affect enterprise transformation. " Major Loyd Beal, III, Acquisition Officer, U.S. Army, Louisville, KY
"I love the stories in this book and plan to order for all my employees. SOAR offers a way of being in a relationship to the organization. An organization lives in the mind of employees and the results come from an employee’s way of thinking, planning, and acting. SOAR is a thought starter to think positive about strategy and new program potentials to inspired action." Tom Heinrichs, Retired Manager of Training and Development, Healthcare Services Organization, Gross Pointe, Michigan
"Without engaging the hearts and aspirations of your teams and employees, your business cannot achieve its real potential. The future of your business depends on every employee - at every level - giving all that they have and doing all that they can. SOAR provides a means to invite everyone into the success of the business and ensures the alignment required to compete in a global market." James R. Jenkins
"In a few short pages, Jackie Stavros and Gina Hinrichs, both pioneers in the use of an Appreciative Inquiry approach to organization change, manage to shift the readers perspective from seeing organization change in parts to an understanding of organization change grounded in holistic thinking – the organization as a living and constantly shifting entity totally connected in ways that require an image of organizations as healthy human systems. Beginning with the well-respected “parts” model for organization change called SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) these two exceptionally innovative and creative women, grounded in a more holistic view of human systems, have managed to take a very useful and often successful SWOT process and shift the focus from dichotomy to wholeness. The process so articulately and powerfully described in this valuable Thin Book is called SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results.) This shift not only results in useful plans and processes, it also leads to energy and excitement within the system and commitment to creating an organization capable of continuous and generative change in response to today’s climate that will tolerate nothing less. This Thin Book, like so many others in this series, is a MUST READ!" Jane Magruder Watkins & Ralph Kelly, Appreciative Inquiry Unlimited, Williamsburg, Virginia
"I usually hesitate to recommend any business book since we are all in differing settings but this one looks to be a keeper. How can we argue positive strategizing? All too often in our daily lives, work and at home-we focus on what we struggle with instead of the things we do well. This book is a positive approach to planning in work settings (this would work at home too). I just know in our current economy, I believe that a positive approach/analysis will increase outcomes in just about all aspects of working." Pamela McKenna, Administrator Tendercare Munising, MI
"When I was first introduced to the SOAR framework approximately 3 1/2 years ago I knew is was a strategic management approach I need to adopt. At that time I had spent nearly 30 years in the auto industry working for organizations that were primarily focused on what the company was doing wrong. An ever increasing downward spiral of trying to find out who to blame consumed most of the company resources. As I integrated the SOAR framework into the plant I managed I began to see great results using this "positive" approach. I encourage anyone that is in their own negative spiral to read this book and use it to vastly improve your company performance. The book shares many examples of organizations that have realized tremendous success by adopting the SOAR framework. Further support is recent academic research I conducted on the impact of the SOAR framework on trust, environmental management systems, and supplier performance where it was found that SOAR use had a statistically significant impact on improving each of these factors. There are too many success stories to ignore this strategy framework any longer!!!" Joseph R. Sprangel Jr
“I was fortunate enough to attend Jackie Stavros’ session on SOAR in Sydney last July and have continued to think and hopefully apply some of the foundations of appreciative inquiry within the SOAR approach in my day to day work. As a former community development worker, now sitting in a corporate strategy position, the whole approach resonates really well with me.
In NSW, local government is moving towards an integrated planning framework that results in a community strategic plan spanning all agencies (Fed/State/Local Government as well as business, NGO's etc). In Wollongong we are currently 'planning to plan' by reflecting on what the community has told us previously, reviewing existing data and other research bits and pieces. We will start engaging with community early next year with the aim for the visioning/action phase around October when it is possible we will also have a new group of Elected representatives (Councillors) on board and who will have a key role in leading the process.
You have helped me to understand how to build the internal thinking around SOAR as an approach and in particular AI in everything we do. Integrated planning is a significant change process for our organisation where we need to bring together the engineers, the accountants, the CD worker, and the community to identify what we want our city to be into the future, and collectively how we can actually do that financially, workforce wise and in terms of assets and infrastructure.
Really appreciate your time. Loved the workshop, the Thin Book of SOAR, and can't wait to learn, absorb and practice some more.” Kerry Hunt, Corporate Strategy Manager, Wollongong City Council, Wollongong DC, Australia