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Setting up Horizontal Governance in a Matrix

By definition, a matrix organization is one that relies on cross-functional operations, which takes place in the horizontal dimension. This dimension is where stakeholders from across the organization come together to deliver products and services to customers. Despite its importance, most organizations overlook the horizontal dimension and focus on the vertical dimension, embodied by the organizational chart.

Success as a matrix depends upon adhering to the following Matrix Management 2.0™ (MM 2.0™) principles:

  • Because a matrix operates in two dimensions, structure is needed in both, according to its purpose.
    • The vertical dimension is designed to organize and manage resources.
    • The horizontal dimension is designed to run the business.
  • The primary unit of structure in a matrix is the team.

Following these two principles, this working session sets the stage for creating governance teams, or steering teams, to run the business.

Choose This Session If . . .

  • You have a core design team that is evaluating restructuring options.
  • Your leaders recognize the importance of, and have the support to operate from, the horizontal dimension*

*If you need to build awareness, our training course Matrix Management 2.0™ Base Camp introduces leaders to new ways of thinking. It’s a great starting point to determine whether your organization is ready to adopt the MM 2.0 operating system.

What to Expect

Our facilitator will guide your team through the process of identifying a horizontal structure that will integrate the segments of your organization into a cohesive system that will drive strategic and operational goals. Working together, we will identify the following:

  • Needs/Challenges that the horizontal structure will address
  • Criteria for selecting the best horizontal structure
  • Possible horizontal structure options
  • Best horizontal structure for your organization

Common Concerns

We have a very hierarchical culture.

In a hierarchical culture, making the shift to horizontal governance can be a difficult, but attainable, challenge. Leaders in a hierarchy still recognize the need for integration, even if they don’t recognize how their behavior can sabotage such efforts. Part of the working session focuses on helping participants see the negative effects of a vertical mindset that clings to the power of the org chart. Having an outside facilitator guide teams through this process can bring such issues to light in a way that fosters productive discussions and solutions.

Another way to address a hierarchical culture is to introduce horizontal governance to small segments of the organization. We look for a leader who champions new ways of thinking and working or for areas experimenting with team-based governance. Both situations offer excellent opportunities to explore horizontal governance in the context of familiar work.

We don’t have time to create a structure. We’d like you to design it and help us with implementation.

Creating horizontal structure and running your business from the horizontal dimension is a major shift—one that requires consensus, buy-in and commitment from key stakeholders and leaders. Since co-creation is a key part of building consensus, we use this process to help teams design the structure they need to work in.

Another reason that the structural design process benefits from co-creation is that YOU are the expert of your business. Running your organization requires more than technical standards and best practices. You know what works and what doesn’t work in your organization. Working together, we won’t waste resources by proposing a solution better suited for an organization with a different culture, experience level, etc.

We are experts in the MM 2.0 operating system and in shifting mindsets and behaviors to run the business from the horizontal structure. By partnering with you, we can design a horizontal structure that can succeed inside your unique organization.

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