Implementing matrix management – wave three: aligning systems (part 2)

The third wave in the series of blogs that we are running this week on  the four waves of change in implementing matrix management by Global integration CEO and management author,  Kevan Hall. (This article is in two parts – this is the second. If you missed the first part – Matrix management – aligning systems: part one.)

In our last blog post, we discussed aligning enterprise resource planning and other major systems as part of the third wave of managing the change towards a matrix organization structure – systems.

There are also some critical people management systems and processes that need to be aligned to matrix management and matrix working.

The following areas often cause a mismatch between the behaviours we need in  matrix management, and the incentives and systems left over from the previous structure and way of working:

  • Objective setting – objectives and key measures in a vertical organization were strongly driven by function or geography and relatively linear. Individuals could succeed by optimising their performance on these measures. In matrix management, individuals will have competing goals and need flexibility to make trade-offs during the year. Simple, linear goals and measures can work against people exercising the flexibility that matrix working demands.
  • Performance evaluation – who gets to decide what constitutes good performance is a powerful indicator of who the individual should really pay attention to, as this usually links to career and reward. In matrix management there may be multiple stakeholders who need to be involved to get an accurate picture of performance. Taking inputs from one line manager only will distort this process. Some form of 360° performance evaluation seems to work well in a matrix.
  • Reward – compensation drives behaviour, are people rewarded or punished for taking an organization wide view and doing the right thing, or for hitting their local numbers? Matrix management demands great perspective and cuts across the activity of traditional vertical silos, who used to drive many incentives.
  • Career – if careers are functional and business processes are horizontal then there is a natural tension in interests. Do we need more multifunctional career paths, generalists and lateral career moves to build networks and a broader appreciation of how matrix management works? How will we deal with specialists who want to stay within a niche role?
  • Communication technologies – do individuals have access to the communication tools they need to make their matrix teams, groups, communities and networks successful?
  • Budgets – are they aligned to the new realities of matrix management, for example, in the early days expect an increase in travel costs as people build the networks and communities they need to be successful. Is this built into the plan?

As we can see aligning the change needed in systems to matrix management and the matrix organization structure is not simple. It can be extremely expensive and time-consuming.

Now we have completed the three waves of change associated with strategy, structure and systems. The final ‘S’ is, of course, how we build the skills required for people to be successful in this new, more complex environment – and this is often something that gets less attention.


Why not….?

Find out more about the skills required for matrix management and matrix working

Join our matrix management group on LinkedIn

Ask for our matrix management white paper – use the form or call your nearest regional office: contact us

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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