Matrix Management Process
The matrix can be a web that captures you, or a network of opportunities that supports the realisation of your plans – it all depends on your approach and competences.
Who this is recommended for:
- Organisations which are already operating in a partial or full matrix system and would like to further develop their operations.
- Organisations who are planning to make a shift to project based or matrix type operations.
As organisations are becoming increasingly complex there is hardly one left without at least elements of the matrix method of operations. Are some of your employees working on projects on top of their daily operative tasks? If so, they need to align with two different, yet equally important sets of viewpoints. Do you have a hierarchical organisational structure as well as professional competence centres? If so, individual performance is evaluated along two somewhat different sets of criteria. These everyday examples hint at matrix type operations even if your organisational model is not ‘officially called’ a matrix.
Several organisations have decided, or are planning, to shift to matrix based operations. What this means in practice is that everyday challenges have to be met while aligning to two, equally powerful sets of viewpoints.
Most common examples include:
- competence centres and product development projects,
- countries and categories,
- functional units and regions.
If the matrix functions well, decision making processes that used to be based on a single set of viewpoints may be replaced by a functional decision making process employing several sets of viewpoints, resulting in constructive discussion scenarios which can lead to better solutions. This sounds simple but how can you have constructive, rather than destructive, discussions, and how can you make conflicts work for you instead of holding you back?
The matrix is operated from within, therefore it is imperative that co-workers recognise their factors of success and hold all necessarycompetences.
Interference is a wave pattern that is created by the superpositioning of two or more waves. When two peaks meet, interference becomes constructive (enhancing).
Our matrix skills development program bases successful matrix operation on seven key factors*:
1. Build relationships
Relationships in a matrix are like grout in a brick wall: it does not look much but it holds everything together. If there are many points of view that must be considered in the course of decision making you need to have direct access to the persons embodying those points of view.
2. Align systems of objectives
The primary goal of a matrix is to support multiple points of view instead of single aspect solutions. However this can only work if objectives have been discussed and aligned, if we have an understanding of where these objectives support each other, and where they conflict, and if you can find your points of balance in the process.
3. Clarify roles
This is where the matrix is different from traditional organisations: it’s not enough to clarify WHAT you are worth, you also need to understand HOW and WITH WHOM you can be valuable.
4. Make decisions when you have to
Once roles are clearly set you will see who is/are authorised to make certain decisions. Your challenge is not to make the right decision (having multiple points of view already takes care of that) but to make it at the right moment.
5. Increase your influentiality
When working in a matrix type organisation your responsibilities and the effects of your actions will be far greater than any formal ‘power’ you may have. And because you cannot use the ‘power’ a hierarchical system would give you, your skills of influencing others gain enhanced importance.
6. Communicate without assumptions
In a matrix type organisation you will have an endless flow of information. Often you need to communicate efficiently with co-workers at faraway locations and with different cultural backgrounds. Basing your communication on assumptions (what people should know, what people intend to achieve, etc.) can backfire and damage your credibility and trust.
7. Make your meetings more efficient
The most common criticism against matrix operations is that of ‘endless meetings’. However, the matrix need not be like that. Make your meetings count, and you will make all other factors valuable – or vice versa. Once you have made it valuable you can start thinking about making it efficient.
* based on: Master the Matrix by Susan Z. Finerty
However, the way we see it, Matrix Management Process is more than just an organisational schema.
The organisation is interwoven by the matrix. If the matrix is present in operations, if only in traces, it will yield complex effects throughout the organisation. This means you can effect a more thorough change, more stable and longer lasting results if you develop your matrix in the context of the entire organisation. This allows us to move beyond treating local issues and deficiencies and in fact harmonise the matrix with your corporate culture, values and vision, as well as with organisations processes.
- Stabile and well founded matrix operations, a healthy environment throughout the entire organisation
- Competent and well prepared colleagues who can make the best of what the matrix has to offer.
- Understanding the WHYs and HOWs, turning the matrix into a tool, rather than an enemy.
- Proactive alignment of objectives, instead of always passing the buck.
- Decisions that matter, instead of endless consultations.
- Clarifying roles to ease everyday work.
- Co-workers never abandon a successful team.
Please do not hesitate to contact our colleagues via email or phone.
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It was a well-constructed training with solid proportions giving ample emphasis to both a theoretical basis and practical applications. I think it would be useful for those about to embark on leadership tasks, as well as for practising leaders. The three days we spent together were also beneficial for team cohesion.
I have recently participated in Leadership Training 2 which was hugely helpful in developing my leadership thinking, and gave me ideas about how important it was to organise coaching meetings aimed at developing my colleagues, as well as about how to construct these meetings. My primary takeaway from the training was processing the opinion my subordinates formulated about my managerial efforts, as well as the coaching talk situational game, the learnings from which I can incorporate into actual trainings I conduct for my colleagues. I had a great time at the training, not the least because we had a highly competent and professional trainer (Mr. Tamás Szilágyi) who made sure everyone was actively participating all the time.
I learnt several techniques at Concordia’s training. The program has allowed me to be more assertive and more open when speaking to an audience. Me and my colleagues have gotten much closer together during the group activities, often our presence alone could help the others complete the tasks. The training has sown new seeds in me, awakened new thoughts and put me into a different perspective. All in all, the training provided by Tamás worked perfectly both as team building and as a personality building program. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone because you need to leave your comfort zone to allow for your personal development.
Feedback from Participants
As an HR specialist and supporter of participants in various career and talent management programs, over the last few years I have had the privilege of participating in several management trainings provided by Concordia, mostly facilitated by Tamás Szilágyi. It has been a highly positive experience going through the training with various groups, because while the topics were similar, the discussion of an abundance of real life situations and the sharing of personal experiences made these programs highly varied. At the beginning of our cooperation we developed the topics and structure of the trainings together with Tamás, and as feedback were received we kept fine tuning the content and the structure over the years. The flexibility and professionalism of Tamás made working together easy; he was very receptive to reactions from participants during the trainings. It is good to see how much of the learnings and lessons former participants have incorporated in their daily operations."