PESTEL and the Game of Thrones

The title of this post is a dead giveaway. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m a big Game of Thrones (GOT) enthusiast. And with the last episodes of the final season airing on TV the next few weeks, I’ve decided to dedicate a post to the fight for the Throne.

If you’re a fan like me, I hope you enjoy the innuendos and share my penchant for Westerosi drama. If you do not follow GOT (but want to continue reading this post anyway), then I’d suggest calling on what you know about medieval times, knights, dragons, chivalry, the works.

GOT has been known to place some of its main characters in somewhat pretty extreme situations. It’s a cut-throat business (literally), with characters plotting and playing the game to win the ultimate prize – to be the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.

In business terms, the throne can equate to the company’s success. Spoilers ahead from here on out.

As an outsider fighting to get to the throne (or generally just wanting to open shop and run a blacksmith business), my first step is to channel my inner Khaleesi and arm myself with an army to help me achieve my goal…and an environmental analysis tool to help scout the risks. PESTEL would have made a wonderful Hand of the Queen!

PESTEL is purely an external analysis tool. It deals with the broad environment that a company is in. The mnemonic stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal. A PESTEL analysis looks at each of the different aspects to determine how these changes can affect the company.

Politically, we could look at changes in leadership and the government at work within a region / country / location. When power changes hands and rulers are overthrown or killed by rebellion, policies governing the kingdom changes. Changes in tariff duties, tax policies, etc. can affect the market and the industry that the business is in.

Economically, we could take the general economy of the region, the inflation and interest rates that ultimately will have an impact on the business. In GOT terms, this may be the interest rate that the Iron Bank of Braavos charges. If there is a rise in interest rates, and the blacksmith is affected, the prices for knives, swords and other weapons will increase accordingly.

Socially, we could view the environment and assess how population trends, demographics, buying habits and demands affect the business. Westeros has been at war for some time now, I don’t need the Three-Eyed Raven to deduce that the buying habits of the Westerosi people are likely led by basic necessities – sustenance and weapon.

Technologically, medieval fantasy may surprise you. Advancement in technology normally disrupts the business world, especially if those advances render your products obsolete or adds to your product’s attractiveness. In the world of GOT, some technological advances we’ve seen in battle so far are the use of wildfire (flammable liquid), dragonglass (volcanic glass) and Valyrian steel (lighter than normal steel). Wildfire could definitely give a blacksmith a run for his money, while dragonglass and Valyrian steel make for worthy weaponry when forged into bladed swords.

Environmentally, we could consider the unpredictable climate, the geographical location and how these impact the business. In certain industries, the environment is an important factor. As a regular blacksmith in King’s Landing, the environment may not affect the business so much. But in the Battle of Fire and Ice, this would be extremely important. If I were Jon Snow fighting the good fight, I’d want to make sure I choose a sunny day and a good location to stage my battles. Come to think of it, this is probably why there was such a rush to get things done before the long winter comes in full force.

Legally, we could look at this as regulations and rules to abide by to do business in Westeros. These regulations could include labour legislations protecting apprentices against unfair discrimination, safety standards on how weapons are moulded and shaped to ensure prospective customers perusing the product are not accidentally killed by it, health and safety laws on how blacksmiths work with heat, fire and anvils in the hammering department, etc. (as if any of these would exist then, but we are in medieval fantasy, so anything is possible!).

If only one of our main characters had thought to use PESTEL. I hope someone’s Hand is taking notes. Qyburn, Tyrion, Davos – anybody hear me? Gaining a good assessment of the environment will definitely help secure advantages and avoid pitfalls as one navigates through the hard and deceitful road to the Throne.

This girl has spoken.


P.S. If you’re still searching for your Hand, Astranti can stand in and offer in-depth analyses of the pre-seen material for every session. Check them out – OCS Pre-seen Materials, MCS Pre-seen Materials, SCS Pre-seen Materials!

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