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In Focus: From analysis to action: making the most of your PESTLE

Our In Focus series of articles originally appeared in The Leadership Bulletin, a free weekly bulletin for leaders and managers. You can subscribe here.

Many of the things a PESTLE analysis picks up - economic conditions, legal changes, demographic shifts, changes in technology - are beyond our control. But that doesn’t mean we are completely powerless to influence them, or powerless in how we respond to them. Below, I consider the six aspects of a PESTLE analysis and offer my thoughts on how you might respond.


  • Are there political changes which you would like to see/that you would like to stop? If it’s a national issue, try talking to your local MP, look into lobbying opportunities (perhaps in partnership with similar organisations) or try and engage with groups such as APPGs to highlight the importance of the issue.

  • Are you linked to a political cause that you think deserves more attention? Try and identify some specific campaigns that would improve the way the sector works and build a coalition of other organisations, politicians and members of the public to raise its profile.


  • Economic forces, such as inflation, are a challenge for all businesses. Try and identify whether you should be planning to increase your prices now to cope with pressures in your own supply chain. Consider the notice you are giving your customers (either out of obligation or courtesy) and plan how to have these conversations.


  • How confident are you that your organisation is accessible to all of society, especially when it comes to recruitment? This doesn’t just mean being on the right side of the Equalities Act, but also looking at schemes such as the Disability Confident Employer Scheme to stay on the front foot. With the number of job vacancies going up and the demand for talent high, being an accessible business doesn’t just make legal and moral sense, it makes good business sense, too.


  • When did you last fully review your tech use? Some companies might be using too many different systems that clash and compete; others may be missing out on opportunities to integrate new tech. Do a full audit of your tech needs and identify what you need to keep, adopt, or do away with.

  • How secure is your tech infrastructure against the risk of cyber attacks? Are you insured if so? Do you have a clear business continuity plan in place including the who, what, where, when and how of responding to a cyber attack? Follow-up on all of these questions to help keep your organisation secure.


  • Are there relevant legal changes in your sector and are you on top of them? Perhaps there are bulletins or sector updates your team should be subscribed to, or key LinkedIn accounts you should all be following. Consider these and any other ways in which you can keep your team up-to-date and compliant.


  • How prepared is your organisation for Net Zero? Are you doing the bare minimum, or leading the way? There is widespread pressure for businesses to step-up what they do to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the environment. If you are an SME, you could join the SME Climate Hub run by the UK Government. Alternatively, you could consult your local Chamber of Commerce to find their advice about making progress and share best practice with other organisations.

These are just some of the steps you might want to take to transform your PESTLE analysis into a clear action plan. Have you got a success story of how PESTLE has helped save your business from disaster or put you on the front foot? I’d love to hear it. Email me on