The New Game of Matrix Management
There is an essential truism in our world: in order to play a game well, you need to know the rules.
—By Cathy Cassidy, Managing Director, Matrix Management Institute
What Game Are You Playing?
How well do you think you’d do at Monopoly® if you didn’t know the rules of the game? What are the chances you’d get the best hotels? Beat your competition?
Or what would happen if a great team of athletes only knew the rules of rugby, but tried to compete in a soccer match? How long would it be before the referee called a foul? How successful would they be at making goals?
Even with the best players, you aren’t going to win unless you’re playing by the right set of rules. Just like Monopoly or soccer, the game of managing and leading an organization has a rule book, and many organizations are trying to play the matrix management game according to the wrong set of rules — rules that don’t work in a matrix.
No matter how smart, motivated and competent your team is, it’s tough to compete effectively and win the game if you are playing by the wrong set of rules. Team members are ready to deliver results, but they’re struggling to succeed. Why?
Playing by the Wrong Set of Rules
When a matrix organization is playing by the wrong set of rules — rules that fit managing a vertically-focused organization, but not a matrix organization — the cards are stacked against them. Those rules apply to the old, one-dimensional approach to managing organizations; something we call Vertical Management 1.0. Even organizations that think they are managing and leading matrix organizations are doing so using another outdated set of rules we call Matrix Management 1.0. They’re faced with challenges
- Working across functions
- Aligning to the customer
- Producing team outcomes
- Delivering on their strategy
Sure. Some folks figure out how to work around the system and get things done, but as a whole, the team and the organization suffer.
It’s Time to Update Your Rulebook
If you want your matrix organization to thrive, consider updating the rulebook your leaders and professionals are using to Matrix Management 2.0™.;
Matrix Management 2.0™ is an organizational operating system based on a new set of rules broken up into 5 keys—Structure, Productivity, Accountability, Relationship Management and Collaborative Leadership. Within each of these keys is a set of Matrix Management 2.0™ rules that every member of the leadership team needs to understand and apply in order to consistently be a winning team.
What Are Some Examples of These New Rules?
- Leaders do not need authority in order to lead
- The horizontal dimension takes precedence over the vertical
- Teams are optimized, not individuals
- Organizational accountability takes precedence over team accountability
If you’d like to find out what set of rules your organization is playing by, we invite you to take our One-Minute Matrix Assessment.
As the Managing Director of the International Matrix Management Institute, Cathy helps organizations and practitioners adopt the skills and methods they need to succeed in today’s complex, dynamic environment. She is a Matrix Management 2.0™ Master Consultant and the author of several books on matrix management, including her most recent publication, Managing Projects in a Matrix. She is a key contributor to the Matrix Management 2.0™ Body of Knowledge, co-developer of the Matrix Management 2.0™ organizational operating system, and a lead developer for the company.