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Matrix Management at the Right Time – Structural Logic for the Information Technology Industry

If it’s worthwhile, it’s probably not easy.

Some of the matrix management implementation challenges faced by these companies are shared in common. Others are unique to each enterprise and we don’t disclose such matters here or anywhere else.

Some Shared Implementation Challenges…

One shared challenge is helping matrix team members leave their comfort zones. This means that IT professionals who are not natural extroverts develop the “soft” skills that may be hard for them—skill sets of communications, persuasion, negotiation, and social assertiveness, not elsewhere classified.

Another shared challenge is that of helping matrix team members see new and different career patterns and opportunities that are more free-wheeling, more lateral, and less about “hitching” to a particular IT star. This challenge can be particularly difficult when operating globally. Other cultures that rely more on relationships than on rules for getting things done may find cross-cultural and virtual team memberships and reporting relationships to be particularly troublesome. A less-than-charitable characterization of these relationships as “paternalistic” or “protective” may apply as much to traditions in the IT industry as much as it does to a particular culture. Whatever the source of frictional resistance to a more networked style of human organization, the changes associated with implementing a matrix structure need to be understood fully and addressed holistically—and with sensitivity.

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