What Is Pestle & Steeple

Vision One News

PESTLE & STEEPLE – The big picture of Opportunity and Risk

Here’s our question - how do you make your decisions? I mean your big decisions.  Like where to build your next factory. When to stage your next global product launch. We’re talking about the Giga decisions.

Do you use PESTLE and STEEPLE? Not the kitchen grinding tool and the church spire - the business planning tools that enable you to create a meaningful strategy in our complex, ever-changing world.

PESTLE AND STEEPLE focus on the big external factors that pose an opportunity or risk for your business.  They look at the big picture - which seems to be getting bigger all the time.

In the beginning, there was PEST

Both PESTLE and STEEPLE are descendants of PEST. The original tool was relatively simple and looked at four macro-economic areas affecting every business.  It encourages you to assess the opportunity and risk in each of those areas.

The four points of PEST

Political

Which elements of public policy help your business? Which don’t?

Social

Societal tastes, fashions/lifestyles. Which might suggest an opportunity? Which might suggest a risk?

Economic

Employment. Which factors are beneficial? Which aren’t?

Technological

New inventions. IT. Mobile. Which could work for you? And which might work against you?

Brainstorming these 4 points with members of your team may have helped you to begin shaping your next strategic steps.

And then, there was PESTLE

With the world growing more complex, with newly emerging macro-economic factors, PEST inevitably evolved. PESTLE gave businesses two more dimensions to consider.

Legal

Are factors such as legislation, regulations and tax laws, opportunities or risks?

Environmental

Sustainability. Recycling, waste disposal, carbon footprint, traceability, use of materials. Which might be positive for your company and which negative?  


PESTLE evolved and became STEEPLE

The latest version of the tool encourages you to consider a dimension that has gained growing prominence in recent times - ethics.

Ethics has been one of the strongest commercial factors for the early 21st century. It’s playing a key part in everything from individual purchase decisions on running shoes to institutional investment in new versus traditional energy sources.

STEEPLE is really PESTLE plus:

  • Ethical (Values. Your company codes. Social responsibilities. Are yours opportunities or risks?).

The full line-up

So the full line-up of macro-economic factors for strategic analysis really needs to be:

  • Social
  • Technological
  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Political
  • Legal
  • Ethical

It’s a strong team, a tool robust enough to assess and align company strategy for any risk. In fact, PESTLE and STEEPLE have lasted well. They seemed ready to navigate through anything, even the 2008 financial crash. But then, the Black Swan. The big picture was redrawn. Covid came along.

New names for new tools

Covid-19 will call for a reappraisal of all society tools, not least those for opportunity and risk analysis.

PESTLE and STEEPLE are more relevant to new challenges than ever before. Assessment, in every dimension, will be more essential - and in every sector. There will be bigger opportunities, but with bigger opportunities come bigger risks. It’s precisely what PEST, PESTLE and STEEPLE were built for.

Is STEEPLE enough?

One wonders if seven dimensions are enough. Should the next tool have a Global Health dimension? Should there have been one before? Will it have a WFH dimension, or a plain and simple pandemic dimension?

There will be too many letters for one neat pneumonic. Opportunity and risk have assumed new proportions. What started out as PEST then evolved into PESTLE and STEEPLE.  Will it have to evolve again?  If it leads to a greater depth of insight - meaningful insight that allows you to adapt and develop an ongoing, robust strategy for your business and brand - then we’re all for evolution.