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Practicing Organization Development: Leading Transformation and Change, 4th Edition by Roland L. Sullivan, Jacqueline M. Stavros, William J. Rothwell

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Chapter EighteenSOAR

Building Strategic Capacity

Jacqueline M. Stavros and Patricia Malone

Strategy should be more fluid, generative, and dynamic to make a positive impact. This suggests a perspective of strategy that requires organizations to build strategic capacity. Strategic capacity is “the ability of an organization to obtain its vision, mission, and goals, ultimately leading to its sustainability. In short, strategic capacity is a deeply embedded ability that enables an organization to bridge the gap between its current performance and its potential” (Malone 2010, 8). Malone researched strategic capacity and the impact of the SOAR framework on building strategic capacity.

SOAR is “a profoundly positive approach that allows an organization to construct its future through collaboration, shared understanding, and a commitment to action” (Stavros and Hinrichs 2009, 3). The SOAR acronym stands for strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results. SOAR is best understood as a strengths-based framework with a participatory approach to strategic thinking, planning, and leading “that allows an organization's stakeholders to co-construct and execute its future through collaboration, shared understanding, and a commitment to action” (3). SOAR is a generative framework that supports and accelerates building strategic capacity, ultimately transforming individuals and organizations (Malone 2010; Stavros 2013).

This chapter starts with a brief historical perspective of strategy and ...

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