The first part of our series on appraisals in a matrix…..

What is the process and who does what? What happens if there is a dispute?

chart - matrix managementA matrix does introduce ambiguity and we need to get people used to this. However, people do seem – understandably – to be very uncomfortable with not knowing who is driving their objective setting and appraisal process.

In many organizations there is one manager who will drive the process with input from others. Alternatively different goals and aspect of performance can be allocated to different leaders. For example, the business leader might evaluate their performance if they are in the best position to observe it, and the functional leader may give input into functional standards and capability development.

In either case, we need to ensure that the process is clear to the individual concerned. It should also be clear what other input will be collected to give a rounded view of performance (see below).

In the case of a dispute, individuals should be able to escalate up both ‘legs’ of the matrix and convene a meeting with both leaders involved to iron out any differences in perception.

There is also a challenge that in many areas careers are “vertical” and happen within function,s rather than “horizontal” and happen across the business lines. For example, most finance people would expect their career progression to be through the finance function. Over time there may be a mismatch between activity, which becomes increasingly horizontal, and careers, which may still be vertical in many areas. It’s necessary, therefore, that both aspects should be reflected in evaluating both performance and potential.

If only one leg of the matrix has the power to set goals and evaluate performance and career potential, this is a huge source of power, which can act against the ideal of a balanced matrix.

We’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this in the comments box below.

About the author:

Kevan Hall Kevan Hall is a CEO, author, speaker and trainer in matrix management, virtual teams and global working. He is the author of "Speed Lead - faster, simpler ways to manage people, projects and teams in complex companies, "Making the Matrix work - how matrix managers engage people and cut through complexity", and the "Life in a Matrix" podcasts, videos, cartoons and blog. He is CEO and founder of Global Integration. Company profile: .

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