Sunday, May 3, 2009

Challenges in moving to a project matrix organizations: People change management

Changing organization structures from a deep functional to a project matrix, involves substantial challenges in people management. There are  broad guidelines that may be useful 
  1. Keep the end in mind - very often it is "courses for horses". You do fit your organization to the best people you have, period. Hence, neither your organization structure nor your role definitions for the new structure will be perfect. It is critical to identify what are the 1~2 items that you will NOT compromise [ Example, when establishing a program management organization, having it function neutral may be a critical rule. You can still accommodate people and new structures , provided you stick to this broad rule]
  2. Changes have to be enforced once decided. There are 3 techniques - most textbooks talk of just two to handle the resistance to change
  • (a) Carrot - make people comfortable and show them the possible growth paths/career plan in the new structure
  • (b) Stick - make organizational compliance mandatory. Preached easily, but difficult to practice with your best guys
  • (c) Inaction! or wait - Several fears arise due to fear of the unknown. In any change management effort, the only way to overcome this residual fear, is not by more written definitions, but often , by pushing the people into their new waters and waiting for them to settle down. [For those of you who have travelled by Indian Railways, passengers are finicky and fight for their seats only till the train starts. For the next 6-10 or 24 hrs they all settle down into well oiled positions without any external intervention. This is probably cultural, but then thats what change management is all about!!]
These may sound simplistic, but having a gameplan like this in mind and also documenting the new org structure, rules and approaches help to improve on a continuous basis.

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