Do you know why you have a matrix organization structure?

MWhen we work with companies around the world on matrix management, we observe that most companies don’t do a great job of communicating why they have a matrix.

In fact, a common assumption is that it’s the latest consulting fad and that if people keep their heads down a new organization will be a long in two years’ time. It’s a very damaging assumption as it leads people to think that they put off changing their behaviours.

There are many good reasons to introduce a matrix from breaking the traditional silos to sharing resources more effectively, to delivering projects and processes that cut across the organization, serving global customers or running more integrated internal functions.

But each of these reasons may drive a different structure. They also have very different measures of success. If we are not clear about the reason for structural change, then how will we ever know if it succeeded?

It is important to turn these objectives into clear commercial gains and to paint a compelling picture of the improvements that this way of working will drive. If we are not clear about these benefits, then all we tend to notice in consequence is some of the pain and complexity that can be the downside of a matrix implementation.

Often this pain comes from a fundamental change in the way we work once multiple bosses, influence without authority and accountability without control become the norm. This requires a change in our mindset and skill set – and change can be exhausting.

Without a clear commercial goal people will, quite rightly, ask “Why should I put up with the pain if the payoff isn’t evident?”.

Consequently, “Why matrix?” Is often the first question we ask new clients. If you don’t understand why your organization has a matrix, why not ask? There is nearly always someone in the organization who has a very clear understanding of the goals, but it’s also common that these are not well communicated.


Why Not….?

  • Find out more about Leading in a Matrix
  • Contact Global Integration for our white paper on matrix management, using the useful form to the right (on most devices)

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