Matrix Management

Choosing a matrix management training supplier

Sample matrix organization chart

Matrix management training is becoming more popular as most large organizations now have some form of matrix organization structure. Once you need to coordinate international operations, serve global customers, run international supply chains, operate global business processes or integrated global, function, such as HR – then you need a matrix organization structure.

Matrix management brings some additional challenges – how to create clarity in an ambiguous environment, how to be both connected and effective, how to find the right balance of trust and control and other unique challenges in an environment where accountability without control and influence without authority are the norm.

You should expect your matrix management training supplier to have existing experience in this field. When a new area like this expands it is common for inexperienced entrants to rush in by repackaging their existing offerings.

The supplier should focus on matrix management as a topic from the ground up, not by taking existing concepts and assuming they will apply to this more complex environment.

One example is teamwork. Many inexperienced matrix management training suppliers are still pushing the idea that everything has to be collaborative and team-based. In fact, in a matrix organization, one of the key challenges is that we become connected to many more teams and individuals and matrix management is all about being selective about when it adds value to connect.

In a matrix organization the cost of cooperation increases, it crosses geographic, functional and cultural boundaries more often and we are working with more diverse groups of colleagues. In economics, when the cost of something increases, the demand should decrease. But in a matrix structure both the cost and the demand increases – that’s why we need to learn to be more effective, even as we become more connected.

You can see lots more examples in the YouTube videos and podcasts in our resources section, demonstrating how matrix management training is different to traditional management training.

You should quiz your supplier on their experience in applying learning specifically in the matrix environment. If they are suppliers who have focused in the past on, for example, emotional intelligence, communication or teamworking please make sure that their concepts survive the translation into a global, distributed, cross-cultural environment – many training concepts are culturally loaded.

Finally, the matrix is complex. It doesn’t respond well to packaged ‘one size fits all’ solutions. The design of a matrix management training intervention will differ depending on the precise ‘flavour’ of your matrix. Is it international? Does it cross time zones? Which commercial pressures do you face? What experience your people already have? The list goes on….

You should expect your matrix management, supplier to spend time diagnosing your specific challenges, and to propose some solutions tailored to your specific mix of issues.

If your matrix is global then there is a lot of value in having a common tool set and vocabulary around the world. Check that your supplier has the capability to deliver globally and that this is not through a loose network of associates who deliver the programs infrequently and never really develop high levels of expertise.

Why not….?

Global Integration has developed over 20 specific matrix management training modules which can be quickly combined into a specific application that meets your needs.

Why not speak to one of our specialists about your particular needs?.


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