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Adding TOWS Value to SWOT Analyses

The traditional SWOT analysis produces a document that characterizes the internal Strengths and Weaknesses of a firm and the external Opportunities and Threats of a business in search of situational awareness and market position.

This solution adds value to traditional SWOT artifacts by adding the TOWS (toes) dimension (which is just SWOT spelled backwards). The TOWS artifact enhances the traditional four-box grid with an inner dimension that facilitates the definition of concrete action items born from matching the Strengths and Weaknesses to specific Threats and Opportunities that were identified during the initial SWOT analysis.

TOWS analysis is considered more valuable in strategic planning projects.

Solution Preview

A SWOT analysis is a four-phased approach to formulating new strategy for a business: STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, THREATS & OPPORTUNITIES. You first characterize the strengths and weaknesses of the firm (it's internal core competencies and failings). Then you identify the external components: Threats and Opportunities. These are market threats and opportunities ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides instructions and examples for conducting SWOT and TOWS (toes) analysis. TOWS (SWOT spelled backwards) analysis adds one dimension to the traditional SWOT artifacts not usually included in the base SWOT four-box grid. TOWS adds a cross-referenced analysis of the identified internal strengths and weaknesses against the identified external threats and opportunities. The result is not only a characterization of market position and situational awareness, but also a set of concrete action items that can be infused directly into a 3-year strategic plan.

Attachments include a MS Word TOWS template with several examples already inserted (based on an analysis of a PoP Warner Little League Football franchise). There is also complete step-by-step instructions for conducting TOWS analysis by Heinz Weihrich, Professor of Management, University of San Francisco, and a graphic showing a fairly simple, but complete matrix illustrating the cross-referenced strengths (S) against Threats (T) and Opportunities (O), etc.

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