The Adaptive Challenges Community Service Boards Face


A vital lifeline at risk

Dialog CEO Mark Thompson will be attending Georgia Association of Community Service Board’s annual Education Exchange next week, speaking on the foundational power of adaptive growth and resilience strategies.  GACSB represents a coalition of community associations responsible for delivering services to Georgians (and their families) coping with the challenges of mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases.

Like most providers of behavioral health services, especially in at-risk communities, the GACSB faces an uphill challenge.  As demand for services rise, public investments can’t keep pace, putting the future of many associations at risk.  If these critical lifelines fail, the impact on the state would be a long-term disaster.

What the GACSB lacks in resources they make up for in grit.  They’re committed to fostering collaboration across the state, between local communities and private and public sector partners, working to find solutions that improve access to critical behavioral health help.  Unfortunately, as with many systemic crises, determination isn’t always enough – a new strategic plan and perspective is required for long-term success.

Leveraging network design to boost growth and resilience

The challenges of sustainability and innovation make behavioral health an ideal application of network design thinking, especially when dealing with adaptive challenges.  Nonadaptive challenges typically involve a problem  of scale, whereas adaptive challenges are marked by change and uncertainty.  Adaptive challenges don’t just leave us without answers – their very nature sometimes makes it impossible to know where the questions even start.

  • The GACSB represents a disparate set of associations working to tackle universal challenges with meaningful local variants that are constantly in motion. Adaptive leadership is focused on growth in the face of uncertainty through best practices and processes that scale.
  • The GACSB advocates for professionals and organizations that are overworked and underpaid, so locked into a struggle for survival there’s no space for innovation or collaboration. As in nature, an adaptive network approach unlocks meaningful, and sometimes surprising innovation.
  • The GACSB is working to navigate rapidly shifting market and regulatory demands that put missions and business models at risk. Adaptive resilience ensures organizations are built lean but not brittle, agile while still impactful.  More importantly, it helps people and teams nurture their own energy while remaining connected to the core principles that guide their work.

We’re looking forward to learning more about the challenges of behavioral health care service providers working to serve communities across Georgia.

More to come

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