Debra Howard Consulting- Burlington, VT Area

How to Make Your Matrix Work

Designing and Leading Complex, Cross-Functional Organizations

Leaders have been talking about breaking down silos and increasing cross-functional collaboration for years, but for many organizations, it’s more than a popular idea—it’s imperative to their mission and survival.

Most project- and program-oriented organizations have been running at least a partial matrix for years. But instead of breaking down silos and improving collaboration, leaders see increasing conflict and competition between managers, delayed decision making, and confusion about who’s really in charge.

This fast-paced presentation details how to make a new matrix work, or how to make your existing matrix work better, while keeping the people and culture you value.

The presentation includes:

  • The characteristics, benefits, and downsides of matrix and conventional organizational structures
  • Rules of thumb for organizational design (how to decide who should report to whom and how much of a matrix to have)
  • Defining functional and matrix management roles and levels
  • How business processes and systems (strategic planning, budgeting, project reviews) can support or hinder cross-functional work
  • An introduction to “integrative mechanisms” that connect people, systems, processes, and programs
  • Rules of the road to reduce confusion and conflict for managers
  • How to clarify for staff who to go to and for what
  • Using decision charting to streamline decision making and communication
  • How organizational culture can reward and punish cross-functional collaboration
  • The trap of triangulation at the top, and how it can derail decision making and increase conflict
  • How leaders can support, or kill, a matrix