Why This Works
The secret sauce to our outstanding service is our use of Agile principles and strategies.
What Is “Agile”?
“Agile” is a mindset that:
- Embraces the value of creating human-friendly work environments; environments designed to best facilitate the way humans naturally think/work/create.
- Is centered around creating value for the customer. All operations and projects "start with the end in mind," ensuring value is core to everything a company does.
Being “agile” is an ongoing process that evolves as businesses and their teams evolve. However, it is centered around a handful of proven principles that allow teams to work lean and with maximum efficiency. Many studies confirm that an agile approach can improve a team’s efficiency by 5x or more! (Our initial and ongoing expereinces confirm this to be true.)
- Systematically collects/incorporates feedback from all “players” in the game, from the owner to the customer service team. (Especially the customer service team!)
- Provides full visibility and transparency throughout the entire process.
- Makes it very easy to adapt to new/unexpected changes or opportunities because it is based on “iterative planning” (“short cycles,” typically weekly).
- Includes continuous planning/feedback cycles, to ensure that:
- Value is delivered from the beginning of the project.
- Risks often associated with development are lowered because feedback is provided early and often along the way.
- Product quality is extremely high because of frequent feedback cycles.
- Efficiencies across other projects/systems are detected on a regular basis, often allowing one task/project to accomplish multiple objectives.
By far, the most overwhelming complaint from entrepreneurs and business owners is over the difficulty in hiring reliable help:
“How do I find good help?”
“I can’t find anyone who can do this correctly!”
“Why is it so hard to find good employees?”
Sometimes, the problem is related to poor hiring practices.
Usually, however, the problem is that entrepreneurs don’t have enough time, energy, and bandwidth to give the proper support or create the proper environment that employees need to thrive.
Several studies confirm that the quality of the working environment —the culture, the systems, the psychological safety— are the greatest indicators of an employee’s success… far more influential than that the initial talents or capabilities of the individual.
SOAR’s ability to build agile teams allows us to avoid most of the pitfalls in finding and hiring reliable help. Then, we have the joy of seeing the people on our teams thrive as they learn new skills and solve problems together!
The Two-Man Saw
At its core, “agile” is about collaborative problem-solving. But, we quickly learned that we must proactively manage conflicts that can arise with “collaboration.” So, we coined a term for a process we now call the “two-man saw.”
The “two-man saw” is a constructive name for the tension that can develop over problem-solving, when opposing ideas appear to be “clashing.” In those instances, we agree to “two-man saw” it.
In other words, we continue challenging each others’ perspectives and ideas, but with the ultimate goal of refining both sides into a better solution or outcome than either party could develop on their own. We use this process within our team, our family, and especially our marriage. We also use it with our clients. It always leads us to better solutions for everyone!
When you engage SOAR, you are enlisting a partner to stand on the other side of a two-man saw. (Quite often, our team-members will “two-man saw” problems/solutions on your behalf!) We will provide recommendations and suggest strategies to meet your objectives. However, if you are uncomfortable or have concerns, we will always listen. Then, we may challenge you. But, it will always be in the spirit of working with you, to refine ideas, solutions, and systems to optimally meet your objectives.
The SOAR Team
SOAR provides the power of an agile team to accomplish objectives and tasks.
“One” is a very dangerous number in business; it is a liability and a bottleneck. When one person holds all of the keys to your business:
- You become entirely dependent on that one person. You are at their mercy. You have no “plan B” if they should choose another path or, God forbid, should become incapable of working for you.
- There is no transparency. There are no “checks and balances” to ensure systems are executed correctly or in your best interest.
- You have narrow problem-solving resources. Human beings are designed to work socially and collaboratively to identify optimal solutions. “One person” lacks the resources for this collaboration.
- You are vulnerable to poor decisions and/or venomous actions. (We learned this the hard way with our damaging sabotage.)
- You eventually reach another bottleneck in capacity. When it is time to hire someone new to alleviate that bottleneck, the original person doesn’t have time to train the new person. (With a collaborative team, the “onboarding” process is naturally part of the company culture and is distributed across the team, not on the shoulders of just one person.)
To provide a glimpse of the intentionality and expertise we put into our company, we share the following excerpt from our company’s Employee Handbook:
“We glean the SOAR mindset from:
- Ken Blanchard’s “Lead Like Jesus” (YouTube video)
- Principles of prioritizing and task-management that we teach in SOAR Learning & Soft Skills.
- Task documentation and follow-up described in Getting Things Done by David Allen.
- Company structure illustrated in E-Myth by Michael Gerber.
- Effective task-descriptions described in Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.
- The philosophies and documentation process explained in Work the System by Sam Carpenter.
- Agile project-management philosophies and procedures, as inspired by Menlo Innovations, Ann Arbor, MI, a global pioneer in developing a positive/rewarding workplace culture (described in the book: Joy, Inc by Richard Sheridan), Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland, andAge of Agile by Stephen Denning."
Now that you know why our approach works so well, find out… Is SOAR for Me?