energizing breakthrough performance

Choose the Type of Matrix Your Company Needs: One Size Matrix Does Not Fit All!

By Ronald A. Gunn, Strategic Futures principal

In meeting recently with the CEO of a major Midwest company, I became aware of yet additional implications of the term, “matrix management.”

The CEO was adamant that he was not looking to “matrix the entire organization from stem to stern” and he was concerned that my use, or for that matter, anyone’s use of the term “matrix management,” conveyed the connotation that every nook and cranny of the enterprise would be affected.

Following this encounter, it occurred to me then that I should recap my conversation with him and briefly address the possibilities of customizing matrix management to suit a spectrum of organizational needs and preferences. I have discussed these possibilities in greater depth while delivering many sessions of our Matrix Immersion Training, but it seems like the right time to communicate the fundamentals more widely with the hope that more people will appreciate the flexibility of matrix management.

First of all, it is a matter of conscious executive choice as to which functions shall be matrixed and which shall not. The design decision here refers to defining what is “inside the matrix” and what is “outside.” The options for organizing matrix teams are described in Matrix Immersion Training and these options need to be evaluated by way of their implications for design.

Beyond this choice, however, as the executive you must make the critical decision as to the real purpose and scope of your matrix organization. What are the key benefits that you seek to attain through crosscutting collaboration? What are the unique synergies that should be facilitated and released? What are the interfaces that should be highlighted and bolstered? Are these crosscutting benefits, synergies and interfaces more strategic in nature or are they more tactical, or both?

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