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Most organizational structures are depicted by a traditional chain-of-command chart. The common, chain-of-command organization connotes an easy-to-understand structure with top-down authority lines. In reality, however, many organizations function quite differently from their depicted authority structure. They are organized more like a matrix. In a matrix-structured organization, it is common for multiple leaders or teams to depend on other leaders or teams for their success, yet they hold no authority over those on which they depend. In fact, there may be entire silos of people who have different areas of responsibility, and a deep reliance on unaffiliated colleagues for information, tasks, and support.
So how do these leaders, and others like them, work effectively within a matrix organization? The answer is found in effective collaboration. There are two elements of collaboration that are crucial in a matrix environment: Frequent communication, and the sharing of expectations.
Our matrix collaboration capabilities provide a construct by which individuals and/or teams communicate smarter, increase their level of cross-functional collaboration, and heighten overall productivity.
Help provide greater collaboration and communication to your matrix organization! Call Leadership Simplified today: 941-776-1121
Issue: Two leaders seek to raise the bar
Overview: Bob owned a small manufacturing company that was structured as a matrix organization. He had been in business for 15 years, and he depended upon two division managers to run the company. The success of each of the leaders was dependent upon their successful collaboration with the other. Both leaders were talented, popular, and well-tenured with the company. The business relationship they had with each other was functional, but was frequently tenuous. As Bob watched his industry and distribution channels change, he believed that a better working relationship between his two generals would lead to a faster time-to-market for his company’s products. Faster product release would lead to better sales momentum and profits. In order to increase the collaboration within his company, Bob called Doug Van Dyke of Leadership Simplified. He asked Doug to take his leaders through a working agreement process, as well as executive leadership coaching. The working agreement would help flesh out what each leader expected of the other, while coaching would provide new and sharpened skills to Bob’s top leaders.
Process: Doug met with each leader individually to learn more about their strengths and perspectives. In addition, he offered them a detailed explanation of the working agreement process. Doug then facilitated a working agreement session and appropriate follow up sessions with the two leaders. The leaders did a terrific job during the working agreement process. They spoke candidly, shared meaningful expectations, and executed a signed agreement. The working agreement they forged served as the blueprint for elevating their working relationship.
Subsequently, each leader met with Doug one-on-one over a two-month period for executive coaching. Both of the leaders implemented the tools and techniques they acquired during the executive coaching process. They also did a fine job of leading their teams through the working agreement process.
Result: Beginning the day after their working agreement meeting, the two leaders started collaborating more effectively! As the leaders collaborated better, their respective teams experienced less tension in the office. Productivity increased, leading to a faster time to market. The timing was crucial because an economic downturn bludgeoned many of the company’s competitors, causing them to cease to exist. In the end, not only did Bob’s company survive, they experienced an uptick in sales volume and net profits.
So how did a small business owner get his two top leaders to work together better? He sought out a process that increased their desire to collaborate, communicate, and decrease their time-to-market. In the process, they built a stronger company and were able to weather a serious storm.
Testimonial: “Excellent use of our time. We are very optimistic about what this program can and will do for us as individuals and as a company.”
Help your leaders thrive in a matrix organization! Call us today: 941-776-1121