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PESTLE Analysis - Not Got Time For That!

Give me a break, with everything that needs done around here, why should I spend time doing a PESTLE Analysis? The truth is maybe you shouldn’t, but somebody ought to.

 In my younger years I use to think a quick SWOT session could do the trick and provide us with focus on what needs done, but I can’t help but feel we missed a few tricks along the line with that kind of thinking.

In a small business I see less of a need for a PESTLE, but if you work in a larger organisation and particularly in a multi-site, multi-national group there is a hidden danger that can be flushed out with a quick PESTLE session. My war story follows.

A full company wide PESTLE analysis is a big commitment that requires input from many and also needs loads of facts and figures to base judgement on. In other words, it’s tough to get who you need on board and bordering on impossible to get all the data you need. So, is that a good excuse not to proceed? Possibly, but maybe not so.

It’s all about context; reign it in, focus on the real issues within your organisation – that’s right WITHIN your organisation.

When I look back at my time in large organisations and multi-nationals, I am sorry to say that they were a bigger threat to themselves than they ever were to their competitors, with all the internal politics that was going on and the damage that caused all round. It was toxic, it wrecked careers, broke people and ultimately closed the facility. That’s right, no winners, all losers.

They were so busy fighting themselves they forgot there was a much more fundamental corporate fight to be won to determine which sites were to be invested in for the future. Eyes off the ball, fighting the wrong battles, 700 jobs lost to ego’s. Pathetic.

In another company I saw contracts given to competitor companies instead of in-house companies just to ensure that our Head of Business annual numbers looked better than that of the Business Head for the in-house facility. Deliberate, premeditated shafting.

You probably don’t believe it possible for that kind of nonsense to go on unnoticed but an over reliance on spreadsheets as the management control, results in a failure to pick up on what’s really happening.

Now if we had applied PESTLE Analysis to the mix I do think we could have saved 700 jobs and made the other lot more profitable but only if we looked at how our facility / business unit were viewed within the group. Just our group.

Easier to engage the right people, easier to get the information you want and with a bit of imagination you can use the PESTLE process to get a better understanding of the dynamics of your business unit within the larger organisation. Let me explain.


Who are the stakeholders of this business unit within the wider organisation? Who speaks for us and who speaks against us? Do we need to keep our enemies close? How do we do that?


Do we operate to a budget? Is it realistic? Does it give us enough flex to try things? How do we manage costs?

How are economic trends impacting on us? Has demand for our products services grown / shrank / stayed the same? Which customers could spend more with us? How are other trends in the group impacting upon us?


How are we impacted by decisions that impact the size and nature of the skills pool available to us? Immigration / Emigration / Pay Caps / Health Scares?

How valued are our jobs in the wider group / community?


How well do we use technology? What can we learn from the data we collect? How do we measure our own performance? How well do we communicate? How could technological advances impact upon the business going forward?


How are we impacted by changes to legislation and regulation? How do we keep ourselves compliant?


Within the environment we work in, what works well and what needs improvement? How do we compare with other parts of the organisation? How do we stay aligned to our objectives and what we believe in?

In Conclusion, a PESTLE analysis can seem a big deal but in truth it is not. Reign it in in terms of scope and act upon the areas it throws up in need of attention.

We use the MindGenius Online application to help us manage this process and it does it really well. I suggest you use this pre-loaded template to get you started and just adjust to suit.

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