5 common mistakes in doing a PESTLE analysis

The PEST or PESTLE analysis is one of the most common diagnostic tools used in marketing and business planning. Its six basic perspectives provide a framework for understanding external factors which may impact the organization, which is easy to follow and yet the tool is so often misunderstood.

PESTLE – Political, Economic, Sociological, Ecological, Legal, Environmental.

PESTLE provides the external perspective to a SWOT analysis…


Six simple rules for a successful PESTLE analysis

  1. Be realistic about what is happening in each of the six areas
  2. The Analysis should identify what is happening in the marketplace today, and where it could be in the future.
  3. Be specific. Avoid grey areas
  4. Always analyse in relation to your competition i.e. better than or worse than your competition
  5. Keep your PESTLE analysis short and simple to understand – but only as short and simple as the application or situation demands – it is about ‘fitness for purpose’
  6. Avoid unnecessary complexity and over analysis

The Top 5 mistakes people make:

  1. An unclear goal – providing the context for the PESTLE analysis
  2. Maintaining too narrow a focus – you need to look broadly at the market
  3. Neglecting input from others – inside and outside the organization
  4. Performing an analysis only once- this needs to happen on a regular basis (monthly for technology firms – quarterly for many others)
  5. Reliance on PESTLE as a holistic diagnostic strategy – it is only one tool.

A concise PESTLE Analysis

Keep your PESTLE analysis short and focused. If it becomes too long-winded, you’ll soon forget some of the more important points and it will become less effective in the long term.



The PESTLE is a valuable tool that in the right hands and with the appropriate level of effort can provide a valuable insight into current and future strategy.

Remember to consider the results of the PESTLE analysis as just one tool in a variety of analysis methods that can form together to create a more realistic analysis of your organization

Management and Leadership development are importent to you and of course to the team here at RapidBI. We hope you find this information valuable, if you do please tweet or facebook like this page. Thanks

Check Out Mike Morrison's Book on Organizational Development - Theory and Practice, for tools and tips on developing organizations, managers and leaders on Amazon and Kindle

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About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.