What is the TOWS Matrix, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of TOWS Matrix
The TOWS Matrix is a tool that can be used to compare and contrast different strategies to select the best one for the organization. The matrix breaks down the strategies according to internal (Strengths and Weaknesses) and external (Opportunities and Threats) factors. Within the TOWS Matrix, the organization considers the interaction of the internal and external factors (e.g., strengths-opportunities, weaknesses-threats) to identify the strategy that provides the most benefit to the company. Specifically, using this method allows the organization to see how it can simultaneously maximize its opportunities, minimize threats, conquer its weaknesses and take advantage of its strengths.
Description of TOWS Matrix
There are four combinations of criteria in the TOWS Matrix that are used to compare strategies. The organization should be looking for one that offers the greatest chance for success.
- Strengths-Opportunities (SO): The first strategy includes using the organization’s strengths to make the best use of any existing opportunities. For example, if an organization has a positive and strong brand image, they can use that asset to explore and dominate a new area of the market.
- Weaknesses-Opportunities (WO): Another strategy the organization can implement is one that offers the company options and plans to overcome its weaknesses so that it can benefit from any existing opportunities. For example, an organization that does not have anyone with a particular body of knowledge that is necessary to grow and attain a competitive advantage in the industry should take advantage of the opportunity to partner with a company that has that information.
- Strengths-Threats (ST): These strategies require the organization to use its strong points to bypass any hindrances to its goals. For instance, when facing competition in a particular area of the market or if trying to acquire a new client base, the organization needs to emphasize its most advantageous qualities, such as its customer service, longevity, high quality goods, efficient processes, etc.
- Weaknesses-Threats (WT): Strategies in this category are centered around minimizing an organization’s weaknesses so it is less susceptible to external threats. For example, if an organization has not yet marketed its products to an emerging demographic group(s), research can be conducted to understand the target audience and market appropriately.
After organizing all the available strategies into their respective categories, the leadership team meets to discuss which strategy is the most aligned with the larger goals of the organization as well as its mission and vision statements.
Tools & Templates
A SWOT analysis can be used to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the company. Using this information, a TOWS Matrix can be created.
upBOARD's Online TOWS Matrix Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional TOWS Matrix techniques, upBOARD’s online TOWS Matrix tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other business strategy best practice tools and templates, including:
ADL Matrix, Affinity Diagrams, Baker’s 4 Strategies of Influence, Balanced Scorecard, Benchmarking, Blue Ocean Strategy, Bowman Strategy Clock, Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop, CAGE Distance Framework, Competitive Analysis, Competitive Landscape Analysis, Contingency Planning, Core Competence Analysis, Critical Success Factors, Discovery Driven Planning, Five Forces Model, Force Field Analysis, Gap Analysis, GE McKinsey 9-Box Matrix, Go To Market Strategy, Hambrick & Frederickson’s Strategy Diamond, Hedgehog Model, Hook Model of Behavioral Design, Hoshin Planning System, Kay’s Distinctive Capabilities Framework, Kotler’s Five Product Levels Model, Kotler’s Pricing Strategies, Lafley & Martin’s Five Step Strategy Model, McKinsey’s Seven Degrees of Freedom for Growth, Mission Statements, Mullin’s Seven Domains Model, OGSM Framework, Ohmae’s 3-C’s Model, PEST Analysis, Porter’s Diamond, Portfolio Management, Purpose Statements, Pyramid of Purpose, Scenario Planning, Simonson & Rosen’s Influence Mix, SOAR, Strategic Goals, Strategic Roadmap, Strategy Map, Strategy Roadmap, Strategy Uncertainty Map, SWOT Analysis, TOWS Matrix, Triple Bottom Line, USP Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, Value Disciplines Model, Value Net Model, Values Statement, Vision Statements, VRIO Analysis, and Weisbord’s Six-Box Model.