Articles · · 2 min read

Two effective (and accepted) ways to choose between multiple ideas

There are multiple ways a team can achieve a goal. Learn two of the most effective ways to make a hard decision and get a clear, shared plan moving forward.

When organizational trust is high, the traditional SCR structure of storytelling we works pretty well. Your audience will generally accept your resolution and the format helps you build conviction around it.

In circumstances where trust between people is low, adding a forcing function to SCR often works better. The hybrid approach I recommend incorporates one of two analytical frameworks; SWOT or SOAR.

When there's a lack of trust, it's important to present multiple options for resolutions. SWOT and SOAR are good for highlighting the opportunities and risks of different solutions, which increases the level of confidence to prioritize next steps. These acronyms may be familiar to you, but as a reminder, here’s what each stands for.

What is SWOT?

SWOT is an analysis approach used to identify the key internal and external factors important to achieving an objective. SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Visualized with a 2x2 grid, the analysis focuses on the internal strengths and weakness of an organization and the external opportunities and threats presented to an organization. SWOT is a well-known structure commonly used inside large corporate environments.

What is SOAR?

SOAR is a variant of SWOT that is better for smaller, less-developed organizations, SOAR stands for Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results. The main difference between SOAR and SWOT is a primary focus on the positive end of the spectrum. SOAR analysis covers the asserted strengths and opportunities of the current state of an organization, as well as the future aspirations and results that drive organizational action.

Companies use SWOT all the time

SWOT is the more familiar and understood version in the real world. Since it's a technique used quite frequently, this article is going to focus on it.

Strengths and Opportunities look at the pros of a decision, while Weaknesses and Threats are all about the cons. Here are some example questions you can use as prompts to conduct the analysis:

Strengths focus on internal factors:

Opportunities focus on external factors:

Weaknesses focus on internal factors:

Threats focus on external factors:

By incorporating SWOT or SOAR analysis into your SCR storytelling, the only elements that change are the resolutions. Rather than one answer, present multiple options with pros and cons can help you keep moving forward. I’ve found this structure incredibly helpful to getting alignment quickly when multiple stakeholders are involved in a decision.

Btw, if you’re working with partners who want to be heavily involved in the decision, including SWOT or SOAR can help you show how there's risk in every decision. If you’re working with a devil’s advocate, be ready with SWOT or SOAR scenarios when they chime in: “I’m glad you mentioned that Todd. We looked into that and here are the scenarios we worked through. If you have any additional information that would be helpful, we’d be happy if you could share.”


Learn more about SWOT
Learn more about SOAR

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