Critical thinking - scanning the environment

The first place to look for opportunities and problems is within the organisation. For this, you can use a STACK analysis to get a good understanding of the current situation in the business.

  • Strategy
  • Tolerance for risk & change
  • Available resources
  • Configuration
  • Knowledge & skills
A STACK analysis helps us to do a few things:
  • Get a good understanding of the current state of the organisation and its readiness to implement change
  • Understand how well-aligned the organisation is from the top, where strategy is developed, down to individual contributors
  • Consider whether there are sufficient resources to take actions you need
  • Identify whether the way the organisation is set up would be helpful to grasping opportunities or addressing problems
  • Understand whether additional expertise might need to be brought in from outside.
Once you’ve understood the internal situation in the organisation, it’s time to look at whats going on externally which could affect your strategy. For this, we can use a STEELPEC analysis.
  • Socio-demographic
  • Technical
  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Legal
  • Political
  • Ethical
  • Commercial
A STEELPEC analysis looks at the external factors which could impact an organisation, either at the current time or on the horizon. There are two key points about these factors:
  1. They are outside of your control
  2. This is a neutral analysis – what’s good for one organisation could be challenging for another.
The important thing is to be aware of what’s going on. Then, you’ll be best-placed to react to problems or opportunities which come along.


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