Susan Finerty

Master the Matrix: 7 Essentials for Getting Things Done in Complex Organizations


Welcome to the Matrix – A Tale of Two Partners

For Nancy, it truly was the best of times and the worst of times. In describing the wealth of corporate resources she needed to work through to get her job done, Nancy stated bluntly, “There was one relationship in this corporate maze that really worked, one that was a complete roadblock and the rest were various shades of roadblock.”

Nancy was in a matrix role, specifically what I call a Customer Hub Matrix. She was an HR person who relied on various centralized, corporate shared-service organizations to bring services and products to her internal customers. Nancy supported Manufacturing, which was not only geographically remote, but seemingly a world away from the culture at corporate headquarters. An idea that made perfect sense for 4,000 people at Corporate in suburban LA made no sense whatsoever to a plant of 600 in rural Mississippi. Nancy was a traffic cop at the intersection of local needs and corporate goals.

She had five different corporate areas in her hub. Two of these provide a great illustration of the good and bad of matrix relationships. Sharon was Nancy’s partner for delivering Employee Benefits to her internal customers. Fran was her partner for delivering HR information systems. The two partnerships could not have been more different. More…