Matrix Management / Virtual Teams

Are we matrixed, virtual, global or what?

Making the Matrix Work word cloud

The term “matrix” seems to be growing. Strictly speaking a matrix is where we have more than one reporting line, whether solid or dotted. However, our clients are increasingly using the word matrix to describe the phenomenon of horizontal working – across business units, functions and geography.

A recent discussion about this made me reflect on a number of terms that are often use interchangeably or unclearly.

• A matrix structure is one where some people have more than one boss
• Matrix management is increasingly used to describe the process of managing people in a complex multidimensional world – across functions, business units and geography
• Virtual teams originally meant teams where the leader had limited or no formal control over the people involved. Today the term includes people who are physically dispersed (what used to be called a remote team)
• Global teams may be virtual, matrixed, and remote all at once.

Most of the time these fine distinctions don’t matter, but when we are building skills it is useful to be precise, because different types of (for example) virtual teams have different challenges and require different ways of working.

• Remote teams need to work across distance
• Virtual teams may require influence without authority and experience greater challenges with alignment
• Global teams have additional challenges with cultural differences and time zones
• Cross-functional teams experience functional differences and multiple reporting lines
• Extended teams may include suppliers and customers with different commercial objectives and corporate cultures.

In developing your team’s effectiveness it is important to be clear about the challenges you are trying to overcome. It’s clear that the challenges of a cross-functional team in a single location will be very different from those in a distributed global team.

The challenges may include one, or all of; distance, cultures (national, functional or corporate), working through technology, time zones, and working across complex organization structures.

A one size fits all approach is unlikely to be effective. Make sure your virtual teams approach to their way of working, and skills required, reflect your unique blend of needs.

[banner heading=”Contact us” link=”https://www.global-integration.com/contact-us/” icon=”coffee” anchor=”Get in touch” align= “left”] We help organizations cut through the complexities of virtual, matrix and global working. [/banner]][banner heading=”Making the Matrix Work” link=”https://www.global-integration.com/matrix-management/making-matrix-work-book/” icon=”book_making_matrix_work” anchor=”Find Out More” align=”right”]To learn more about how to create greater effectiveness with your matrix middle, check out our book.[/banner]

Are we matrixed, virtual, global or what?

Explore our training programs to see how we can help.

Virtual Teams Training Matrix Management Training Agile & Digital Training

Educate yourself further with a few more or our online insights:

25 years of experience learning with a range of world class clients

We work with a wide range of clients from global multinationals to recent start-ups. Our audiences span all levels, from CEOs to operational teams around the world.  Our tools and programs have been developed for diverse and demanding audiences.

View more of our clients
Two woman talking with a cup of coffee

Tailored training or off the shelf modules for your people development needs

We are deep content experts in remote & virtual teams, matrix management and agile & digital leadership. We are highly flexible in how we deliver our content and ideas. We can tailor content closely to your specific needs or deliver off the shelf bite sized modules based on our existing IP and 25 years of training experience.

For more about how we deliver our keynotes, workshops, live web seminars and online learning.

Discover our training solutions