Collaboratively creating the next level of success

Discovering and capitalizing on the strengths and successes of your organization is the key to creating your preferred future. Next Ascent uses a profoundly positive approach for strategic planning–SOAR (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results). SOAR is a relatively new, but well-documented and established strategic planning framework that is an alternative to the traditional SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis.

SOAR is a collaborative process that engages and empowers key stakeholders in strategic conversations. Cross-functional and cross-managerial hierarchy associates and other key stakeholders (often times customer, supplier, director, investor, and partner representatives) engage in a series of structured conversations with each other to identify an organization’s strengths, opportunities, aspirations and desired results.

Based on the principles of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), SOAR is a strength-based approach for individual, group, organization, and community development and growth drawing on a substantial body of interconnected research areas including image theory, neuro-sciences, organizational development, positive psychology, and social constructionism.

The philosophy and science supporting AI is based on some basic concepts such as: (1) what you search, study, or look for, you will find; (2) there is no such thing as a neutral question; and, (3) the key question is “What works around here?”

While SOAR methodology focuses on strengths, weaknesses and threats are recognized as very real and reframed to discover underlying possibilities and opportunities presented by them. For example, instead of focusing on how to do more with fewer resources, one of our client’s reframed the focus to be on how to do less (effort) to get more results. Positive psychology and neuroscience research provides evidence that focusing on weaknesses and threats amplifies the deficits and things that can’t be controlled, drains energy, and inhibits productive thinking. Focusing on possibilities and profoundly positive perspectives leads to innovation, creativity, engagement, and commitment.

Next Ascent provides clients with the following strategic planning services:

  • A customized process to accommodate your organization’s needs and culture and to produce desired understanding, “buy-in,” and commitment by stakeholders
  • Facilitation and assistance in the execution of your planning process steps
  • Alignment of your core values, mission, vision, strategic goals, strategies, operational capacities, core competencies and performance metrics
  • An annual planning and execution process which is linked to your strategic plan
  • A professional development path for your people and guidance on creating a positive culture to achieve the established strategic goals
  • Performance metrics to monitor your progress
  • Production of the written strategic plan and assistance in regular updates to it
  • Structured monthly (for first year) and quarterly (for subsequent years) reviews of plan execution and results
  • Consultative access to and coaching of individuals and teams of executives who will execute the strategic and tactical plans

Campbell_5x7web(1)“Next Ascent energized and engaged our entire organization in the strategic planning process. The dialogue, the way the questions were asked and the outcomes that we were getting has created a sustainable energy level for our entire organization. The possibilities keep coming. Now we don’t say ‘We can’t.’ We are always talking about how we can grow. Abundance thinking is incorporated in all that we do.”
Thomas Campbell, MS, LPC, NCC
President & CEO
Family Service of the Piedmont

arthur samet head blue 2012“If you want to be a $70M instead of a $50M company, you have to start acting like it and put the necessary structure in place. Jim helped us focus on human capital and putting the right people and operational strategies in place to grow successfully.”
Arthur Samet
President and CEO
Samet Corporation