Harness the Horizontal
There's a barbecue joint near my house. The barbecue is fantastic and the business is hugely successful. People line up for the barbecue an hour before the place opens. The restaurant's menu is focused on one key offering - the barbecue -and a couple of accompanying menu items - potato salad and cole slaw.
There's not much else on offer - no other sides, meat, or alcoholic beverages. The business is kept as simple and focused as possible, and it works well. This, however, is an exception, rather than the rule. Most businesses have no choice but to be complex.
We're accustomed to looking at organizations as vertical structures with "org" charts and reporting relationships, so it's no wonder that when we look for solutions to matrix challenges, we look for them in this vertical dimension.
A lot of leaders believe managers must have control over the people that work for them and that authority is required to get things done. But since most work is done on cross-functional teams where there is little or no “formal” authority, this won’t work.