Industry Reports

Strategy On A Page (SOAP)

“To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Leadership is seriously important, dynamic and challenging. It is seriously important because its core to the results and success – or failure – of every enterprise. It is dynamic because it’s characterized by constant change. It is challenging because it requires effort, determination and perseverance.

I’ve recently published a book with two colleagues called the Leaders’ Journal which shares what we’ve learnt about leadership, often from others, over many years. It is intended to help people from all walks of life to be more effective in their leadership roles via 40 days of reading, exercises and reflection.

“Leader’s Journal is a down-to-earth, thought provoking companion on the personal journey of leadership.” said Andrew O’Shaughnessy, CEO of Newsweaver, “It guides, supports and challenges without being prescriptive.”

My friend and co-author Andy Coombe uses the tagline “connecting people with purpose” to describe his work. Your people will be much more engaged if you can connect them to purpose.  Willis Towers Watson’s research shows higher employee engagement in organizations with a clear purpose.

Leaders’ Journal has one tool called SOAP.  It is designed to clarify purpose through seven questions designed to get your strategy onto a page.  We’ve used it with boards and individuals.  It’s a demanding, time-consuming exercise but powerful and fruitful.

  1. What is your big aspiration?
  2. What are your values or top three golden rules?
  3. What will success look like in the longer term?
  4. Where are you now?
  5. What opportunities do you have to progress?
  6. What risks do you face that may hold you back?
  7. What are your three mid-term priorities?

There is an English saying that “there is no SOAP without flannel”. It means that wherever you have important content you will tend to have unimportant content.  However, if you want to connect people with purpose, you need SOAP (your Strategy On A Page) without flannel.  Leaders’ Journal is built around the SOAP – the Leader’s Map.



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