Matrix Management

Fewer, better meetings in matrix organizations

Our training participants in matrix organizations tell us they spend an average of two days per week in meetings and 50% of the content is irrelevant.

The HR team in one global gaming giant we worked with were surprised when the results of an in-depth training needs analysis and training programme on thriving in the new matrix organization showed that the two most useful things the top 100 managers had taken from the program were:

  1. How to be more effective in meetings
  2. How to identify and actively manage the right stakeholders

A very distant third was providing leadership for the middle managers below them in the matrix.

Running great meetings and building networks may not be as sexy as ‘matrix leadership’, but in our experience it’s at meetings where many of the disadvantages and potential benefits of working in a matrix organization really play out.  If we can fix our meetings culture we can radically improve our collaboration and decision making and save a lot of time.

In a complex, global, matrix organization many of these meetings will be virtual. Another loud complaint we hear from our clients is that most people struggle to use their company’s meeting/ communication technology in an engaging and informative way.  Knowing that virtual communication with another group is likely to be painful, people avoid reaching out and retrench in their old silos.  In fact, virtual meetings can be highly engaging and 100% useful, but it does take both skills and some planning.

For Millenials, this is even more important. There’s a lot of chat in blogs, business articles and HR Powerpoints about the need to engage Millenials and how different they are. It is our view that these differences are often over-blown: every new generation wants more autonomy, likes to challenge the traditional hierarchy and wants to improve how things are done.  However in our experience there are three ways in which their approach does fundamentally differ:

  1. Attitude to and knowledge about technology
  2. Greater desire for involvement and participation
  3. Global perspective

They will simply not accept one-way download presentations via teleconferencing.

Global Integrations’ latest book ‘Kill Bad Meetings’ is packed with details on how to cut out the half of meetings that do need to happen and radically improve the ones that remain. Let’s abolish once and for all the meetings of the bored.

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