Yesterday we talked about four of the six dimensions or organizations and how all issues can be viewed through the lens of alignment.
The fifth dimension of organizations is external force. External forces are factors that influence the organization, but which emanate from beyond its control. These forces have various causes such as changes in resource availability, new laws or policies, changing expectations from society, or a worldwide pandemic.
External forces are challenging because we have little control over them. If our organization is dependent on paper and the price of paper goes up, that impacts our ability to keep our resources aligned with our purpose.
However, the biggest impact external forces can have is when they effect organizational purpose. For example, the COVID 19 pandemic has rocked the purpose of public schools in the United States.
Most US schools have a formal purpose involved with helping students grow into productive and contributing members of society and have agency in their lives. Our schools do this primarily by providing a formal academic education supplemented with various intra and extra-curricular activities.
However, with the closing of schools due to the pandemic, many schools’ most immediate concern became how to get food to children and their families. For example, in both North and South Carolina, roughly 50% of students are eligible to receive free and reduced meals. With schools closed, many children lost their primary source of nutrition. This situation was made more dire as many low wage workers lost their jobs.
Think about this. Large and complex organizations designed primarily to deliver a face-to-face academic education suddenly became focused on food delivery. Wow.
How has the pandemic shifted the focus of your organization’s purpose?
Do good and be well,