Matrix Management

XLR8 (Accelerate) by John Kotter

globe connected with lightI recently read the book XLR8 (Accelerate) by John Kotter.  I like his work on managing change.  In this new book, he starts with the proposition that agility and speed come from a shadow network of people that connect across the traditional silos and hierarchies. This network operates in parallel with the formal structure and drives innovation and agility.

This is what we call the “soft structure” that evolves within a formal organization structure to get things done.  In “Making the Matrix Work” I distinguish between four types of soft structure – purposeful networks, cloud communities, star groups and spaghetti teams.  We agree with Kotter that formal organization structure is slow; blunt instruments are getting things done and the shadow soft structure is how things really work in complex organizations.

One of the reasons why organizational structure changes often don’t help is that they disrupt these soft structures and can actually make them harder to operate.  Is it not enough though just to call these all “networks” because each of these four modes of cooperation are suitable for delivering very different goals and require very different management and systems support?

The resilience of the traditional hierarchy also makes it hard for these soft structures to attract resources and get things done.  In particular, they experience a power imbalance with the functional and geographic silos. Resolving this is one of the reasons why organizations introduce some form of matrix structure. It may not solve the problem but it does give an environment in which these trade-offs can be managed.

The rest of Kotter’s book focuses on the challenges of change, his traditional area of research.

Source: XLR8 (Accelerate)“: by John Kotter.

[banner heading=”Contact Us” link=”” icon=”man_with_laptop” anchor=”Find Out More” align=”left”]We help organizations cut through today’s complexities of virtual, matrix and global working.[/banner][banner heading=”Making the Matrix Work” link=”” icon=”book_making_matrix_work” anchor=”Find Out More” align=”right”]To read beyond the word cloud and learn more about our book, Making the Matrix Work, visit our website.[/banner]

Educate yourself further with a few more or our online insights:

30 years of experience learning with a range of world class clients

We work with a wide range of clients from global multinationals to recent start-ups. Our audiences span all levels, from CEOs to operational teams around the world.  Our tools and programs have been developed for diverse and demanding audiences.

View more of our clients
Two woman talking with a cup of coffee

Tailored training or off the shelf modules for your people development needs

We are deep content experts in remote, virtual and hybrid working, matrix management and agile & digital leadership. We are highly flexible in how we deliver our content and ideas. We can tailor content closely to your specific needs or deliver off the shelf bite sized modules based on our existing IP and 30 years of training experience.

For more about how we deliver our keynotes, workshops, live web seminars and online learning.

Discover our training solutions