Strategic Planning to Actionable Items: From SWOT to TOWS Analysis

SWOT analysis is a technique developed at Stanford in the 1970s, frequently used in strategic planning. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and is a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements of an organization, project or business venture.

A SWOT analysis is a simple, but powerful, framework for leveraging the organization’s strengths, improving weaknesses, minimizing threats, and taking the greatest possible advantage of opportunities.

  • SWOT analysis is a process where the management team identifies the internal and external factors that will affect the company’s future performance.
  • It helps us to identify of what is happening internally and externally, so that you can plan and manage your business in the most effective and efficient manner.

Edit the Above SWOT Analysis Template Online

What is TOWS Analysis?

TOWS Analysis is a variant of the classic business tool, SWOT Analysis created by Heinz Weihrich. It is a variant of the classic business tool, SWOT Analysis. Both TOWS and SWOT are having the same acronyms for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and in reverse order of the words.

TOWS analysis first matches internal factors to external factors to help identify relevant strategic options that an organisation could pursue. By combining the external environment’s opportunities and threats with the internal organization’s strengths and weaknesses, we can come up with four basic strategies. It can help an organisation to see how it can take advantage of opportunities, reduce threats, overcome weaknesses and exploit any strengths.

Four TOWS strategies

As a result, you structure your thinking to cover all strategic perspectives with corresponding action items:

Strengths/Opportunities (SO):

Consider all strengths one by one listed in the SWOT Analysis with each opportunity to determine how each internal strength can help you capitalize on each external opportunity.

Strength/Threats (ST):

Consider all strengths one by one listed in the SWOT Analysis with each threat to determine how each internal strength can help you avoid every external threat.

Weaknesses/Opportunities (WO):

Consider all weaknesses one by one listed in the SWOT Analysis with each opportunity to determine how each internal weakness can be eliminated by using each external opportunity.

Weaknesses/Threats (WT):

Consider all weaknesses one by one listed in the SWOT Analysis with each threat to determine both can be avoided.

The inner four squares inside the Matrix represent what happens when the corresponding column and row labels come together.

TOWS vs SWOT Analysis

SWOT matrix is a planning tool, whereas TOWS matrix is an action tool. In SWOT analysis you identify all the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in point form. After that you think of each point as a singular perspective.

Whereas, TOWS matrix identifies the relationships between these factors and selecting strategies on their bases. Strengths and weaknesses are abstract concepts that can be hard to think about without any sort of context.

For example, you connect internal points (Strengths and Weaknesses) with the external points (Opportunities, and Threats) to find the actionable plan as shown in the Figure below:

Consider all weaknesses one by one listed in the SWOT Analysis with each threat to determine both can be avoided.

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The more experienced you and your team get at a TOWS analysis, the easier it will be to immediately think of strengths and weaknesses in terms of opportunities and threats.

Do It Yourself TOWS analysis Templates

The more experienced you and your team get at a TOWS analysis, the easier it will be to immediately think of strengths and weaknesses in terms of opportunities and threats.

Edit the Above TOWS Template Online

Edit the Above TOWS Template Online

Edit the Above TOWS Template Online

Edit the Above TOWS Template Online

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