Thoughts on matrix management by Kevan Hall, CEO, Global Integration
Sustained sponsorship of change is required to make any major change in an organization’s way of working. The matrix is no different.
I was working recently with a group of senior leaders who were communicating their matrix concept to a wider management population.
They spent days at round tables discussing the strategy and the structure with people who were new to the idea. For them it seemed like a tremendous investment in time. The discussions were largely repetitive, going over thinking that they had completed months before. Yet, at this stage of communicating the matrix, this is the whole point.
Senior managers tend to think because they have spent months talking about the strategy and structure, that everyone else is at the same stage in their thinking. Yet middle management also need time to assimilate and socialise and discuss, to understand why decisions were made and to build real commitment to the communication of the new concept.
In the absence of this understanding, the introduction of matrix can often be seen as the latest ‘flavour of the month’ or a crackpot idea from the latest consultants.
It is important, then, that senior leaders give their critical middle management population the time for reflection and discussion.
They need patience and consistency of message to reinforce the initial good work on strategy and structure – because once strategy and structure are clear, we move on to systems and skills. If those systems and skills are not aligned with the strategy and the structure, then the nmatrix will fail – and then people blame the structure!