Matrix Management

The four waves of change in implementing a matrix organization – video

Effective organization change flows from strategy to structure to systems and skills. All four waves of change need to be completed and aligned in a successful matrix implementation.

In this video we will give an overview of the change journey and some of the critical success factors in a successful matrix implementation.


Any organizational change should start with strategy.

There are powerful reasons to move to a more integrated matrix organization, from meeting the needs of global or regional customers and projects, to unlocking resources and cooperation across functional and geographic silos.

A clear, shared understanding of why we are making the change is critical to delivering the benefits and embedding the change.


The next step is to implement the strategy by making structural changes.

Multiple bosses and dual reporting lines add complexity and should only be used where the value exceeds that complexity. This is typically in a group we call the matrix middle – the people in the middle of the organization, usually two or three reporting levels down from the CEO and their direct reports.

If your matrix reaches down to first line management level, be careful that you haven’t gone too far.

It’s clear that a bad structure will make things worse. But even a well-designed structure will not deliver the anticipated benefits unless we align the rest of the business and its way of working to the new strategy and structure.


Many organizations invest heavily in business systems alignment. A full-scale ERP implementation can take several years, tens of millions of dollars or more and have a major organization-wide impact.

It’s also essential to align our people processes to this new way of working – in particular in areas like appraisal, reward and career development.

It is common in the early stages of matrix implementation for there to be a misalignment between the behaviours we are asking for, such as working across function and geography, and the existing reward and incentive systems set up by the traditional local and functional organization.


Many organizations have successfully introduced global systems, so we know they work. The key challenges in the matrix are more about the way people work together than the systems they use. It’s much harder to change people and ways of working than IT systems

Most of the other modules in this series focus on building matrix and virtual management and collaboration skills and embedding change in our ways of working.

A successful matrix implementation requires the embedding of all 4 waves of change. If we don’t manage this we may be tempted to constantly reorganize looking for a purely structural solution that does not exist.

Find out more about the challenges of matrix management in both new and more mature matrix structures in our free webinar.

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