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† What are the new and emerging technological breakthroughs, innovations, or automation that will shape the future landscapes of your business? † Do you also foster a corporate culture where employees are encouraged to think of innovation as a confidence-building exercise? What is the risk of doing nothing today? 5. Legal. This may include new legislations, legal regulations, or changes in standards at the local, state, or federal level. For example: † How would changes in building codes or zoning laws impact the design and construction of buildings in your vertical sectors? † With an ever-increasing demand for the use of alternative delivery contracts (P3, DBFOM), what is your firm’s strategies in accepting or rejecting legal risks or limitations before signing and executing a contract? 6. Environmental. This includes the impacts of green policies or environmental regulations to minimize the effect of climate change. For example: † Now that many states have board-approved zero- emission transition plans and have established clean and renewable energy goals, what is your firm’s near- and long-term strategies in partnering with your clients to address these critical topics? † What commitments and efforts has your firm demonstrated in not only working to transform how buildings, infrastructure and communities are designed and built to address resiliency, sustainability, health, and wellbeing, but also continually improving your business practices to reduce impacts as a corporate responsibility? Together, the six factors of PESTLE make up an exhaustive list of the general market environment. If you evaluate all of these factors combined, it is extremely unlikely you will miss out on any external factors at the macro-level. Wondering where and how to start your strategic planning? Zweig Group is here to help. Ying Liu, MBA, LEED AP BD+C is a strategy advisor at Zweig Group. Contact her at

YING LIU, from page 1

These macro environment factors can have massive impacts on the company, but not the other way around (a one-way effect rather than a two-way relationship). Additionally, if you’re somewhat SWOT-savvy, your brain is most likely already well-trained to identify some macro trends sporadically in the “opportunities” and “threats” quadrants of a SWOT analysis; however, without an intentional deep-dive into an all-inclusive PESTLE framework that can provide a holistic macro context for the SWOT analysis, it is unlikely that your SWOT will be developed with a maximum focus on leveraging “strengths” and “opportunities” to overcome “weaknesses” and “threats.” THE SIX FACTORS. I will briefly describe each of the six PESTLE factors below: 1. Political. This can include changes in government and resulting policies. For example: † How has government spending changed at the local and state level that directly impacted your firm’s current backlog and future pipeline? † How will the passage of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill affect your firm’s current and future strategies? 2. Economic. This could include changes in public spending, interests or exchange rates, inflation, and the climate for business investment. For example: † What are the negative (or positive) economic trends? † How can you more proactively integrate the possible impacts of a recession when developing your firm’s strategic plan? 3. Social. This may include changes in lifestyle, attitudes, buying habits, cultural aspects, or demographics. For example: † How has your firm’s policies and expectations changed in response to a higher demand for a more flexible working model in a post-COVID world? † How is the DEI effort being addressed and incorporated as a part of your firm’s corporate strategy and culture? 4. Technological. This could be new products and services requested by your clients or new approaches/inventions to R&D activities such as IT/internet, AI, transportation, energy uses, etc. For example:

LEADERSHIP SKILLS FOR AEC PROFESSIONALS With this seminar, Zweig Group’s strategy approach, previously reserved for advisory clients, is brought to the training environment for the first time ever. This course equips leaders with practical skills to identify opportunities, develop and execute strategy, and build support for initiatives within their organization. Join us March 30-31 in Austin, Texas. Click here to learn more!

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