Matrix Management / Virtual Teams

Involvement in a Global Organization?

"Too much co-operation?"

The impossibility of involvement in a global organization

In recent decades, companies have made great efforts to increase the level of involvement in their organizations. They monitor attitudes of involvement in climate surveys, improve communication, engagement and participation in decision-making.

However at the same time, organizations have become more complex. Many are global, matrixed and virtual. Cross functional and multi-site working has become the norm for many professional and managerial people. As organizations become larger, more complex and more connected, involvement is becoming a problem – too many people are involved in meetings and decisions and this can lead to delay and dissatisfaction.

If you operate a global organization with hundreds of thousands of employees, in dozens of countries and locations, then it is clear that not everyone can be involved in everything.

Part of the problem that we see is that we are often unclear about what “involvement” really means. We use terms like stakeholder, responsible, accountable, informed, consulted, decision-maker, etc., to describe aspects of involvement. Because we are often unclear about what form of involvement is required for different people there is a tendency to invite everyone to the meeting or of everyone making the decision. This can lead to very slow and ineffective decisions and meetings.

The secret to dealing with this seems to be being clear about specifically what form of involvement is appropriate. For example, using the RACI framework (responsible, accountable, consulted and informed) you can replan your decision meetings. You can consult before the meeting and inform after the meeting – these people are “involved” but they are not the decision-makers and they don’t need to be at the meeting.

It’s often easier to call a meeting rather than to think carefully about who needs to be involved in what way and to make sure that decisions are communicated effectively afterwards.

If you want to clarify how involvement works in your team or organization, please contact one of our specialists.

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