A lot of matrix literature focuses on structure. It is an obvious difference and a concrete topic to study and describe but in a matrix organization the structure solves nothing. A formal structural response to change tends to be slow and inflexible. The rate of change in many organizations is faster than our ability to change structure.
True flexibility requires flexible networks and ways of working that enable fast response – it is the quality of matrix management skills, matrix teams and matrix working that means the difference between success and failure.
An over focus on structure can lead to constant reorganizations in the search for the ‘magic bullet’ structure that will solve all of our problems. Not only do these structural reorganizations rarely work, they actually make things worse by disrupting the networks and relationships that actually get things done.
When we have got two, three, or maybe more reporting lines in a matrix organization, we are moving beyond the limits of structure. These lines are no longer helping us to get things done.
We do not get more flexibility by adding more structure. So how can we simplify and reach our objectives without unnecessary structure?
In ournext three blogs we will deal with three key recommendations:
- Limit matrix management to where it adds real value.
- Involve the fewest levels and numbers of people in the matrix that will allow you to achieve your objectives
- Choose the simplest form of matrix working that meets your needs.
- Take a look at our matrix structure consulting page.
- Contact us and ask for our matrix management white paper.
- See our preview of ‘Making the Matrix Work’, the new book by Kevan Hall.
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