Matricial Organization Survival Guide

The Matrix

I got to thinking about how one survives in matricial organizations where the lines of power are unclear and crisscrossed and thought I’d jot down some thoughts. Since one isn’t really sure who is pulling the strings and the decision-making power is often filtered through many levels of management, one always feels a bit out of sorts in terms of where one stands. At least I do. There is some value to the fact that while trying to stand out as more than just a number, one also (and this is my big challenge) has to avoid pissing off key nodes in the matrix that could potentially block exit routes or opportunities. One of the keys to success is – obviously – DOCUMENTING EVERYTHING – because no one is covering your back. This is because of the back-biting nature of the matrix where everyone is fending for themselves because they are all beset by the same insecurities and incertitudes as everyone else. I am not advocating becoming a hypocrite or a cynical bastard. I am merely stating the fact that one shouldn’t count on anyone but oneself when it comes to the yearly performance review. Another annoying aspect of the matrix is that you can have an broad and enthusiastic network at your level or below, but that these relationships have almost no bearing on those above you. As you move up in the Matrix, you also lose connection to the base and are drawn into the upper managerial circles and infighting. Once there, it appears that communication with levels below N-1 becomes rare if not completely absent. The lesson here is that if your manager doesn’t know what you do or why you are valuable, then you should be making sure that is the case immediately or else looking for another job. It is critical for moving up in the Matrix that you have a solid support of your N+1 because the occasions to speak to those over N+2 become exponentially rarer as one moves up.

 

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About Michael Finocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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