CATWOE Checklist to Find Business Solutions

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According to Peter Checkland, a British management scientist and emeritus professor of Systems at Lancaster University, CATWOE is just a checklist of one of six parameters that help to stimulate thinking and find the simplest and elegant business solutions.

Well, any methodology implies a clear structure to find the right solutions always and everywhere even if the brain is unable or refuses to think. Although CATWOE is widely used in business, it can be successfully applied to many spheres of human activity. The key is to adjust the methodology up to your needs. It may sound a bit confusing now, but it will become clearer as we describe the system.

So the essence of CATWOE is to call all things by their proper names. Peter Checkland believed in that we miss many important details when we avoid explaining the simplest thing. Indeed, to solve the problem, first of all, we need to name all its factors and elements. When all things get their names, we see the problems from a different perspective!

CATWOE is an where each letter stands for a specific word

  • C – Clients
  • A – Actors.
  • T – Transformation.
  • W – Worldview.
  • O – Owner.
  • E – Environmental constraints.

Let’s consider each concept separately to find out how CATWOE can take your business to the next level.

#1 Clients

You need to understand how your decision will affect your customers. The response of the audience is the first and foremost factor to consider before implementing any changes, any steps!

  • For example, Wal-Mart stores were known for their low prices. When the management decided to raise prices for all goods to equalize them with the average in other supermarkets, the biggest purchase motivation was destroyed. Clients expressed very great discontent, and the management canceled its original decision.

Your employees need to understand very clearly who your customers are, what problems they face, and how they interact with the solutions you offer. So, first of all, you need to understand who your client is and how your decisions act on him.

#2 Actors

Define people involved in this particular situation. Often a lot of problems arise because we are trying to solve a problem that supposedly concerns only us but in fact affects the interests of many people.

Make a list of people who are directly or indirectly involved in the project or problem.

#3 Transformation

When you make a decision and bring it to life, you should clearly understand how it will transform every aspect of your business. Make a list of such aspects and carefully analyze the possible consequences for your business and its parts.

Every decision affects customers (actors) as well as all aspects of your company! Also, find out how the specific business step will affect the corporate appearance of your company. For example, by changing the logo, you get a completely different look, which dramatically changes the perception of the company by the clients.

#4 Worldview

Your business grows and moves on along with other businesses and the business market as a whole. You should see the whole picture and realize how your action will affect something more global – not necessarily the whole planet but at least the industry in which you work. According to Peter Checkland, this is the most important part of the model. The ability to see things globally is accessible to very few people.

It’s almost impossible to predict the global consequences of your decisions or actions, but there were people who changed the worldview of other people, the business of the whole world and the future!

#5 Owner

This element is a person (a group of people) who has the power to decide whether a particular decision will be implemented or not. You should clearly understand who makes the decision, who implements it and who takes s full responsibility.

#6 Environmental Constraints

Every your decision affects the external environment and vice versa. Therefore, list out the constraints that that will affect these decisions. Ignoring business constraints often lead to taking the wrong decision and complete failure. The point is to use restrictions for your benefits instead of pretending that they do not exist.

Clarifying obvious things is always useful because very often people make catastrophic mistakes because of overconfidence in their knowledge and skills.

As you see, it’s not too complex. You need no more than 10 minutes to complete a similar checklist for your business. I wish you best of luck in your entrepreneurial endeavors!


Lucy Adams is a blogger from a young but very credible platform of buzz writers. Lucy is a generalist so that she will easily bring to life your craziest ideas on guest blogging. Share what you have in mind and wait a few days to get your request completed!

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