Focusing on action and outcomes with TOWS

When looking at a SWOT analysis and seeking to use the insights to make an action plan there is not much help. TOWS, a variant of SWOAT, allows you to prioritise actions on those areas that provide the greatest strength and also tackle the weakest areas. This grasping maximum and tackling minimums is something we like in TOWS. It doesnt give the answers but it focuses attention on the areas where action is required and gives some indication of the nature of that action.

The matrix

The TOWS matrix looks like below. The outer areas are the traditional SWOT analysis. The strategies are the meeting boxes in the middle. The two main areas of priority are reaping maximums and tackling minimums. TOWS is about taking advantage of opportunities, reducing threats, overcoming weaknesses, and exploiting any strengths.

Grasping maximums

Taking hold of the best strategic options that an organisation could pursue to develop is known as developing ‘maxi-maxi’ strategies. The plan made in this area builds on internal strengths and external opportunities (SO).

Tackling minimums

Facing the vulnerability that threatens an organisation is known as developing ‘mini-mini’ strategies. The aim is to facilitate strategies that face weaknesses as well as minimise and avoid threats (WT).

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