TOWS analysis is a strategic planning tool that stands for Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Strengths. It is based on the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis but takes the process a step further by considering how external opportunities and threats can be used to address internal strengths and weaknesses. TOWS analysis helps organizations develop strategic actions and plans to leverage their strengths, minimize weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and mitigate threats.
How to Define TOWS Analysis:
- Strengths (S): Identify the internal strengths of your organization. These are attributes, resources, or capabilities that give your organization a competitive advantage.
- Weaknesses (W): Recognize the internal weaknesses or limitations your organization faces. These are areas that need improvement and can hinder your organization’s performance.
- Opportunities (O): Analyze external opportunities in the market or industry that your organization can exploit to its advantage.
- Threats (T): Examine external threats or challenges that your organization might face. These are external factors that can impact your organization negatively.
Best Format for TOWS Analysis:
When structuring a TOWS analysis, the best format is often a matrix that helps in visually mapping the relationships between internal and external factors. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a TOWS matrix:
- Step 1: Create a Table: Create a 2×2 matrix by drawing a table with four quadrants. Label the quadrants as follows:
- Quadrant 1 (Top-left): S-O Strategies (Strengths-Opportunities)
- Quadrant 2 (Top-right): W-O Strategies (Weaknesses-Opportunities)
- Quadrant 3 (Bottom-left): S-T Strategies (Strengths-Threats)
- Quadrant 4 (Bottom-right): W-T Strategies (Weaknesses-Threats)
- Step 2: List Factors: In each quadrant, list the key internal strengths, weaknesses, external opportunities, and threats. Be specific and concise.
- Step 3: Generate Strategies: Analyze how you can use your strengths to take advantage of opportunities (S-O), how to overcome weaknesses and seize opportunities (W-O), how to use strengths to minimize threats (S-T), and how to address weaknesses and avoid threats (W-T).
- Step 4: Develop Action Plans: Based on the identified strategies, develop actionable plans for implementation. These plans should be aligned with your organization’s goals and objectives.
- Step 5: Review and Refine: Evaluate the strategies and action plans with key stakeholders. Make adjustments as needed to ensure they are feasible and effective.
By following this format, you can create a comprehensive TOWS analysis that aids in developing well-informed strategic plans for your organization, taking advantage of opportunities, mitigating threats, and leveraging internal strengths. It is important to regularly review and update the TOWS analysis as the business environment evolves and new opportunities and threats emerge.
A TOWS analysis is typically conducted by a team of managers or executives who are familiar with the organization’s internal and external environment. The team will identify the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and then they will discuss how these factors can be used to create a competitive advantage.
The best format for a TOWS analysis depends on the specific organization. However, there are some general guidelines that can be followed. The TOWS analysis should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. It should be written in a way that is understandable to both technical and non-technical audiences.
The TOWS analysis should be a living document that can be updated as the organization’s environment changes. It should be reviewed and approved by all stakeholders before it is finalized.
Here are some tips for conducting a TOWS analysis:
- Start by brainstorming the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- Once you have a list of these factors, group them into four quadrants: strengths-opportunities (SO), strengths-threats (ST), weaknesses-opportunities (WO), and weaknesses-threats (WT).
- For each quadrant, discuss how the organization can use these factors to create a competitive advantage.
- Document the results of the TOWS analysis and share it with all stakeholders.
By following these tips, you can conduct a TOWS analysis that will help your organization to identify and evaluate its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Here are some examples of different formats for a TOWS analysis:
- Table format: This is a good way to organize the information in the TOWS analysis. It is a good choice for organizations that have a lot of data.
- Matrix format: This is a more visual way to represent the information in the TOWS analysis. It is a good choice for organizations that want to make the TOWS analysis easy to understand.
- Free-form format: This is the most flexible format for a TOWS analysis. It is a good choice for organizations that want to be creative with the way they present the information.
The best format for a TOWS analysis depends on the specific organization. However, any of the formats listed above can be used to create a clear and concise TOWS analysis.