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We advise leaders on the behavioral aspects of organizational change.  We offer distinctive ways of thinking about how people behave, what causes unproductive behavior to persist, and how to design change activities.

Making the Matrix Work

Making a matrix work is an organizational balancing act.  There is no “one right way” that will make it easy.  This is because the purpose of the matrix is to harness different areas of expertise, each of which is important to creating good outcomes. 

Even with good choices about roles, responsibilities, decision rules, and other aspects of the formal design—and these choices do matter—making a matrix work is endlessly challenging.  People must create working relationships that enable them to engage their differences instead of polarizing.  Good matrix behavior is an unnatural act.  It depends on overcoming the human tendencies to identify with our in-group, to assume we are right, and to equate strength with winning.

Culture and Change

Culture may be easier to break than to change.  The challenge is altering features that reduce organizational effectiveness while not undermining cultural strengths.  This is not easy, because cultural strengths and liabilities are often flip sides of the same coin.

Cultural barriers to better organizational performance come from good citizens acting in ways that are natural, reasonable, and legitimate.  That is what it means to say the barriers are “cultural.”  Change depends on helping these good citizens see the inner contradictions in their behavior—how their well-intended actions contribute to negative consequences.  It requires making discussable what is usually treated as undiscussable and facing up to the genuine dilemmas that trap people.