I don’t mean to be a PEST, but are you thinking strategically?
Do we truly know what strategy is all about, or are we making decisions based on hunch and gut feeling?
Do we spend time looking out the windows to truly understand what is going on in the world around us?
Do we spend the time to analyse and think things through? Or do we just say, “Oh let’s just go for it!”
Good strategy is vital to the success of any organisation
Time needs to be set aside regularly to ensure you are thinking strategically in every decision that needs to be made.
There are a number of models out there that help us, as leaders and managers, to analyse external factors that could be influencing our organisation.
By analysing these external factors, it can help give us a good insight into what is going on in the world around us.
Knowing what’s going on around us now and the impact it may have on our organisation is an important step in our strategic thinking, but we also need to be very aware of what might be coming.
Too often organisations focus on the here and now and don’t spend the time to think about what might be coming in the future.
A great example is a PEST analysis which is a simple framework to help leaders and managers understand the wider business environment and anticipate future business threats. The acronym stands for:
P – Political
When is the next election? What impact will a change of government have on your organisation?
E – Economical
How stable is the current economy? Is it growing, stagnating, or declining? How stable are exchange rates? What impact is the unemployment rate having? Will it be easy to build a skilled workforce?
S – Social
Is social media having an impact on the way you operate? What about attitudes to work post pandemic?
T – Technological
Are there any new technologies you should be using? Are there any new technologies coming in the future that could make your product redundant?
However good these frameworks are, I can’t help but think something very key is missing here. In light of the COP26 conference that recently took place in the UK, I think that consideration of environmental factors is essential for all businesses.
In more recent times businesses have extended PEST to include Legal and Environmental concerns, creating the acronym PESTLE. If David Attenborough has taught us anything, it’s that we have to protect the world we live in.
There are several household names who are already planning for the future. British Gas for example has one of the biggest fleets in the UK, with over 12,000 vehicles on the road, with an impressive 1,000 of those already being all electric. They have pledged that in the next 3 to 4 years the remaining 11,000 will also be transformed. So, this raises the question over whether other companies are also looking at their environmental impact. Are we thinking strategically about future business threats and taking appropriate action to avoid or minimise their impact? Are we spotting business opportunities early enough and exploiting them fully?
These types of analysis need to be a permanent fixture in our leadership meetings. They need to be regularly discussed and challenged at all levels. Always thinking about what’s going on in the world around us now and what might have an impact in the next 3–5 years.
This will help guide our strategic decision making and define our strategic direction for the future.
Written by Alison Ibrahim – Senior Management, Leadership & Commercial Skills Trainer