There are many factors, including those that are easily identified and understood as well as those that are more difficult to identify or understand, which influence an organization’s operations and tactics. I call those factors that are not readily identified or understood, Hidden Factors. Hidden Factors are influences that often guide organizations to make decisions or plans, which may not be understood by those outside, or in many cases inside of the organization. Hidden Factors are not easily seen or identified but have the power to drive organizations to greatness or bring them down. It is important to recognize the existence of Hidden Factors because they are often a key component of organizational behavior. In many ways Hidden Factors can represent the best and worst of the Human element within the Internal Environment.
An example of how a Hidden Factor can negatively impact an organization would be the case of Enron, where a small collection of individuals were driven by personal greed to make decisions that acted against The Plan of the organization. In order to enrich himself, the CFO actively schemed against his employer, which over time diminished and weakened the organization until it collapsed.
Another example of how an organization embraced the Hidden Factors within, would be Google. Google set up policies that allowed employees to pursue entreprenuerial endevours on company time. These employees brought Hidden Factors into the organization which has provided monetary and social benefits to both parties. Without embracing the Hidden Factors of its employees, Google may have missed on their extraordinary talents, or worse yet, may have found itself competing against them rather than working with them.
Hidden Factors are evolving and changing constantly on account of events and other factors that are often outside the scope of the organization. New employees, innovations, etc all bring new Hidden Factors that will affect an organization and while it is impossible to suppress these Hidden Factors, it is useful and important to understand how they might play a role in your organization.