Matrix working

Personal effectiveness skills for individuals working in a complex organization.

Working, with multiple bosses, competing goals and higher levels of uncertainty, is complex and requires a high level of self-leadership and ownership of your own goals, roles and performance.

image: matrix working model diagram


What is different about this style of working?

The term ‘matrix working’ can refer to a wide range of challenges from cross functional working within an organization through to people working in the much more complex global and virtual way where individuals are separated by distance, cultures, time zones and working through communications technology, as well as across organizational boundaries.

Individuals working within this kind of environment (whether across functions and geography or in a formal dual reporting organization structure) experience a much more complex working environment than in other types of organization. Working like this cuts across the traditional vertical silos of function and geography and tends to build much broader jobs, where a wider range of skills are required to succeed.


Global Integration’s training concentrates on the personal effectiveness skills that individuals need to be successful in their work environment. The precise mix of these skills will depend on the particular design and complexity of your organization structure.

Individuals working in a matrix often need to be able to:

  • take ownership for the clarity of their goals and roles – when you have multiple bosses, you may be the only person with the full picture
  • align their goals and roles with others – a process of communication and managing expectations
  • build, maintain and engage networks of key stakeholders in order to deliver
  • manage multiple bosses
  • exercise influence without authority
  • manage competing goals and changing priorities
  • handle escalation in a positive way
  • work well with colleagues in complex virtual and global teams
  • build trust with colleagues and managers who may be from different cultures, and/or where face-to-face contact is limited
  • communicate effectively through technology
  • manage and resolve conflicts
  • stay visible to colleagues and managers when working remotely
  • earn the right to empowerment – building confidence in your managers so they are comfortable enough to leave you alone
  • co-operate across time zones

If individuals do not have the capability and confidence they need to be successful, then they will tend to either experience work overload or initiate frequent escalation. This can cause delay, additional costs and dissatisfaction.

Our training can help build these skills and the confidence that individuals need to be successful when working in a complex organization structure.

“Using the escalation tracking tool to identify and plug capability gaps has really worked well for me. People can solve problems for themselves and I get fewer calls at home” – Manufacturing Director, FMCG

“It was amazing. All I did was ask if it was a good use of the company’s resources and my time to come all the way from Los Angeles to the meeting in London for a one hour section in the meeting. Everyone readily agreed that it wasn’t! I joined the meeting by phone for my specific item. I saved two days of my time and over £5,000 in expenses.” – Marketing Manager, Telecoms Equipment Industry

Why not…..?

  • Request our white paper on matrix management, or our landmark ‘matrix organizations’ article.
  • Join our LinkedIn groupto join the conversation and share ideas with others interested in this field.

There are handy forms on the right of this page (on most devices) to request more information or to contact our closest office to speak to a specialist. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs.

Last update: March 2013

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