• Sheila Adkins, MS, CPLP

Learn How to SOAR!

How does an organization soar? There are no wings or engine power to help it glide through the sky. But there are basic principles that determine how to maneuver to avoid falling. While an organization's mission and vision are the strongest influences of its culture, it is the values that set the tone and expectations of how we behave and relate to one another within our culture and with our customers.

These six key values will guide any organization to SOAR! The acronym SOAR stands for synergy, opportunity, authenticity, and results. When we add a foundation of integrity and embed compassion, it is a great model for creating a cohesive, engaged, high performance organization that delivers service excellence to its customers.

Build a Foundation of Integrity

Zig Ziglar said that, "With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide."

Integrity is the cornerstone for building relationships and your reputation. It means doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. It means that we let our actions speak for who we are and what we believe in.

An organization that has built integrity into its culture keeps promises, tells the truth at all times, and stays true to their values, even when faced with serious consequences for the choices they have made. Integrity becomes an expectation and natural behavior of colleagues, which translates into a strong brand and reputation, loyal customers, and bottom-line results.

Embed Compassion

At the heart of any organization's culture should be compassion. When we have the ability to see the perspective of a person, feel their suffering, and are motivated to alleviate that suffering, we have compassion. It's more than saying, "I understand how you feel." It's finding ways to make a difference and work with colleagues and customers to find solutions.

Create Synergy

Aristotle said that, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Organizational success is driven by the ability of its people and teams to connect and build relationships, instead of existing in silos. When we exist in silos, everyone loses - individuals, teams, the organization, and the customer. But when we connect and understand how our role relates to, impacts, and adds value to the organization as a whole, everyone wins.

To create synergy, we must move out from behind our desks. When we are working with a customer, we need to understand not only our own role, but what happens at every touch point on that customer's journey.

Recognize Opportunity

"Too often, the opportunity knocks, but by the time you push back the chain, push back the bolt, unhook the two locks and shut off the burglar alarm, it's too late." Rita Coolidge

Why wait for opportunity to knock? It is always present. Develop a habit of looking everywhere for a chance to learn, grow, and change. Just because we are looking, doesn't mean that we need to jump on every opportunity that comes our way. An opportunity should be consistent with our core values, otherwise it's not for you.

An organization that looks for opportunities to improve customer service or enhance professional development programs for its colleagues, is already through the door, not waiting for it to open.

Make Authentic Connections

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in our own vision and forget the importance of delivering service excellence to our customers. When we open a genuine channel of communication with them to hear what they need and want, it will lead to an authentic connection. If we don't listen with our full attention and understand, how are we going to solve problems and provide excellent service?

Authentic connections are meant to happen with colleagues as well. Sometimes we get so caught up in getting to the next meeting or finishing a project, that we forget to take a moment to connect with the people who are driving our success. The back to back meetings to discuss vision and strategy become pointless if we aren't connecting with the champions who speak to and understand what our customers want and need.

Drive Results

When senior leaders develop the vision and strategies for the organization, it is important to clearly communicated it to everyone. When a vision isn't communicated, people tend to perform their tasks without having a complete understanding of why and results diminish. To drive results, we need to effectively communicate, build trust, and inspire our colleagues to believe in and live our vision.

Which of these practices resonate most with you? I am on a mission for us to create workplaces where we are each inspired to do our best work, and the SOAR principles are a great place to start.

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