Matrix Management

Coping with Recovery

Rod Farnan, Consultant Trainer, Global Integration, argues that the duty of companies is to equip people to deal with the new state of affairs and face up to the challenges ahead.

We live in an age where we need to equip people for tomorrow’s corporate life, not just to do the tasks they were brought in to complete.

One of the biggest challenges currently facing companies is coping with the recovery and the organizational changes that flow from this. We are entering a huge period of change – what we’ve experienced so far is beginning to escalate. And it’s not just economic change.

People – customers, suppliers, colleagues – find information from a huge number of sources now. Where once they would seek advice either from professionals such as lawyers or doctors, or acknowledged local corporate sources, people now turn quickly to the Internet, where they can access information – not all of it accurate – for free. This presents a challenge to corporates: their customers/environments/markets are all changing.

Many have downsized during the recession and/or are working across national structures to avoid duplicating expertise and costs, and share resources. A more hostile operating environment and organizational changes often leave people needing to know how to make their new corporate environment work and as a result, are often left in a less structured and ambiguous situation.

There is no longer any such thing as guaranteed employment. People will move on, naturally. We may, in the process, lose people we don’t want to lose. There will always be around 5% of any workforce who will be disgruntled anyway.

Managers need the skills to be able to cope with the change and ambiguity that restructured, constantly changing companies and markets bring. Unless companies have explicitly decided that they won’t be global, the days of the ‘straight line’ report have, for the majority of people within them, largely been replaced by multiple dotted lines.

In these environments, unless well managed, decision making can be replaced by escalation. There will always be problems, and learning to live with this, and accepting that the key skill required is managing this uncertainty, will leave managers more free to think and direct, rather than constant troubleshooting.

The duty of companies is to equip people to deal with this new state of affairs and to face up to the challenges, not least of which is retaining the learning invested in the people who work within them. The reward, by contrast, will be organizations that don’t get slowed by the complexity, but which thrive on it and take advantages of the benefits and opportunities it offers.

Rod Farnan has been training and consulting with Global Integration almost since it’s inception. He has particular expertise on working within international/global organizations and can be contacted by email (rod at Rod has notably worked with and within a number of healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations and has lived in both the UK and the USA – and is the only Scot on the Global Integration training and consultancy team.

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