When used as a planning tool, the TWOS analysis will help your organization recognize factors which could ultimately contribute to or hinder achievement of goals. Threats are elements in the environment that could cause trouble for your organization or its future. Weaknesses are attributes of the organization that places it at a disadvantage relative to others. Opportunities are those factors that your organization could use to its advantage.
In identifying strengths, consider characteristics of the organization that gives it an advantage over others. When done in TWOS order rather than the traditional SWOT, you end analysis of your organization on a positive note.
Rather than just making a list of threats, weaknesses, opportunities and strengths, the matrix below allows a comparison of strengths and weaknesses to opportunities and threats. Decisions about what direction to take can be made based on the matrix.
Setting Strategic Direction
Now is the time to set strategies for the organization. There will probably be a handful of core strategies on which the organization needs to focus on moving forward, such as how to secure funding, how to operate programs and how to attract and retain key personnel. There are a variety of approaches to this process of defining key strategies, and they frequently are not linear. The process you employ to set strategic directions will depend on who is involved, where your organization is currently in its quest to fulfill its mission, and how much time you have.
Many organizations have found it helpful to employ the aid of an unbiased third party such as a professional facilitator to assist in the strategic planning process. This allows all stakeholders in the process the ability to fully participate in the discussion. The facilitator ensures neutrality in that all voices are heard and no biases are allowed to dominate.
For all organizations, sound finance is the underpinning to achieving the vision and mission. The organization needs to establish clear financial goals annually for three to five years into the future. The financial plan ensures that the mission can be met. It may include fundraising, gathering grant money, sound investment practices and/or earning income.
Hand-in-glove with financial goals, the organization must know what it will do – what approaches it will use – to achieve its financial goals, increase value to its customers and meet its mission. While setting strategic goals, the organization must keep its budget in mind. Adjustments may need to be made to the budget to ensure that funds are available to support achievement of strategic goals.