Matrix Management

It must be nice to be one dimensional

It’s great to focus and in life generally we see a lot of people who are focused and passionate about a single cause; such as stopping carbon emissions or eliminating road accidents.

Now I am sure would all get behind these aims, but would we eliminate carbon at the expense of bringing billions of people out of poverty, or cut road speeds to the point where we spent many additional hours commuting, making deliveries or pumping out exhaust fumes.

In general we need to make intelligent trade offs between these worthy goals. Life and business is not one dimensional.

In organizations we often use a matrix structure to reflect the different dimensions to our business – to allow us to balance the global and the local, the business unit and the country, the function and the region.

If we could choose just one, for example “always choose functional priorities” life would be much simpler – right up until we went out of business!

We need to balance commercial, environmental, ethical and other considerations whilst creating the wealth that pays for just about everything else that society values like education, health and government.

We don’t do this by each fighting our one dimensional corners , but through dialogue and a considered look at the trade offs required and the overall benefit to the various stakeholders we are accountable to

It would be nice in society as a whole if we took a similar view of complex issues that cannot be reduced to a placard or sound bite, but I am not that hopeful. Ask me again after Brexit deal negotiations are completed

We will stay focused on the business behaviors, skills and culture needed to survive and thrive in a complex multidimensional reality.

If you need help with that in 2020 please get in touch.

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