If you want to strike fear into the heart of a business, suggest that it moves to a matrix organisation.
If you want to meet confused, unhappy, frustrated people go and talk to an organisation that has already moved.
There are exceptions that prove the rule but for most organisations what should have been
one of the best ways to manage a business in today’s increasingly complex world becomes a management nightmare.
What has gone wrong?
In this blog I want to talk about a couple of things:
1. Why move to the matrix?
All our research has shown that the matrix makes real business sense for companies that are large and complex.
a. Multiple countries/regions/markets
b. Multiple product lines available to most of their countries/regions/markets
c. More than £100 million revenue
d. A significant number of employees in multiple locations
If you don’t fit this then a matrixed organisation will probably add complexities that you are better off without.
2. What can go right and what can go wrong?
Done well, the matrix organisation can give you real competitive advantage:
Done badly, it can be a recipe for chaos:
Too many companies change organisation charts and think they have moved to a matrix. Too many companies try to “change the wings in flight” and fail miserably.
How to succeed in moving to a Matrixed organisation.
This is not a quick fix – nor should it be. This is about the future of your organisation. The benefits are great, but they will only be realised if the whole organisation is committed. To make a successful move to the matrix the senior team must be convinced that this is what the business needs to meet its strategic objectives. It needs to invest significant time and effort at the beginning of the process so that the whole organisation can move forward effectively. Simply deciding to change the organisation and then leaving it to others means the senior team is walking away from its responsibilities and the process will fail (NB, not
might fail, WILL FAIL).
The senior team need to: