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Mapping strategic drivers

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Takes you through the first step of strategic analysis to open up your thinking about the external environment and the numerous drivers and influences.

The first step of strategic analysis is to open up your thinking about the external environment and the numerous drivers and influences at play out there.

As the external environment is always changing, it's a good idea to make thinking about strategic drivers an ongoing task, to help ensure you aren't caught out and your plans stay on track.  Environmental scanning is also a key element of developing organisational strategy.

Getting started

You might already have ideas for what to include in your analysis, and then think about any drivers of your own you should include as well.

If you’re collecting drivers on paper, it’s better to use the PEST(EL) analysis grid explained below to ‘map out’ how many and what kind of drivers you’d like to consider.

Try pulling a group together to help you think about which drivers might impact on your organisation.  If you can get a mix of people involved, you will find that different perspectives can create something really valuable.  Include some of your beneficiaries if you can; people who can inspire and give a fresh perspective.

Introducing PEST

PEST is a widely used mnemonic that’s been designed to help us remember the key categories or headings used when carrying PEST strategic analysis:

  • political
  • economic
  • social
  • technological

factors in the external environment.  Sometimes it’s represented as PESTEL (the L and the E stand for legal and environmental); or STEEPLE (same as PESTEL with the addition of ethical).
Has your organisation already done a PEST analysis? Why not dig it out and remind yourself of what it included.

Broaden your drivers

Broaden your list of drivers by thinking about the drivers that impact on:

  • Your organisation
  • Your strategic group (organisations with which you share a common set of characteristics)
  • Your specialist sector
  • The voluntary sector.

As you scan the list of drivers that you’ve developed, seek out relationships between different ones. You may need to think laterally to draw in all those that may be relevant.

Consider the less obvious drivers. Many may not seem immediately relevant eg attitudes towards immigrants, or the focus on well-being.  The impact of these drivers may be less direct and you may have to think laterally to consider any potentially profound long-term implications.

Next step

Find out about sorting drivers.

Page last edited Jul 05, 2017

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