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PESTLE

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What the tool is

PESTLE stands for political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental.

It's a tool for considering how the world is changing (sometimes called ‘external analysis’ or ‘environmental analysis’).

Why you should use it

Looking out and considering how the world is changing can help you:

  • anticipate what might happen, and the likelihood, and be prepared for it
  • consider the best response.

It'll help you to open up your thinking about change. Without it, your strategy will be missing a vital external perspective.

As part of your overall strategy process, it will lead to clearer, more relevant goals, better decisions, and a more secure future as you are better prepared for what will happen.

When you should use it

The world is constantly changing, so it makes sense to collect data and ideas about this on an ongoing basis. If you are able to do this, it will be easier to consider it when you come to develop or review your strategy.

How to use the tool

There are two steps

  1. Capturing knowledge about how the world is changing
  2. Considering what this means for your organisation and what you might do in response

Capturing knowledge about how the world is changing

Depending on how much time you have, you could:

  • Jot down ideas yourself
  • Bring people together in a workshop to get a broader range of views
  • Do some research to find out what others are saying about trends
  • Interview people. If you are interviewing people as part of your strategy process, you can include a couple of broad questions, for example:
    • What changes do you see that may impact [organisation]’s work in the future?
    • What do you see as [organisation]’s biggest challenges as an organisation?

You may end up with a lot of ideas about how the world is changing. If this feels like too much you can:

  • Cluster them - some may seem to belong together or influence each other. Bringing them together to create clusters can help to make sense of a lot of information
  • Prioritise them - you could separate them into three lists
  1. Vital
  2. Important
  3. Interesting

If you’ve identified some changes that feel vital but are also uncertain, scenario planning can be a useful tool to use.

Considering what this means for your organisations

So far you've considered what is changing in the world which is relevant for your organisation and your mission.

The next two questions are:

  • So what might this mean?
  • Now what should we do about it?

This grid can help to open up your thinking about the implications of external changes.

The following tool can help you to consider a variety of opportunities.

What to do next

You’ll now have a range of ideas about what you might do. You’ll also have more ideas if you’ve used other tools like SWOT or Other Players. The next stage of the strategy process is to make good decisions. There are a number of tools to help.

You’ll now have a range of ideas about what you might do. You’ll also have more ideas if you’ve used other tools like SWOT or Other Players. The next stage of the strategy process is to make good decisions. There are a number of tools to help. ‘When we did this, we were terrified. We were walking in a small circle of light but all around us, we didn’t know what was in the corners. It was scary for a while but after a bit, all we could see were opportunities. It’s very inspiring.’

Small charity

Last reviewed: 04 July 2022

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 04 July 2022

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