energizing breakthrough performance

Prescription for the “Dual-Hatted Role” in the Matrix Organization: Aggressive Training & Coaching

By Ronald A. Gunn, Strategic Futures principal

From time to time, I am asked whether it is advisable to have someone play a “dual-hatted” role in the matrix organization, meaning that a valued and talented individual plays the role of both a vertical leader and a horizontal leader at the same time. My advice is this:

It should be avoided at all costs for reasons that I shall describe.

Yes, there may be unavoidable instances where the dual-hatted role must be played, but this should be the exception rather than the rule. The argument for someone playing the dual-hatted role usually relates to the scarcity of qualified personnel to do one of the two jobs, either the vertical or horizontal leader. Sometimes the argument pivots on the unique qualifications and skills, longstanding client relationships, or robust management-staff relationships, or all of the above.

An organizational restructuring of any kind entails disruption. This disruption is never convenient. There are always sacrifices to be made in transitioning from the past to the future. Having said that, it is essential that we maintain our focus on the future.

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