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Norm Celotto, CEO of Norm Celotto Consulting, joins Dr. Steve Safier's Integrated Talent Management Class

Norm Celotto, CEO of Norm Celotto Consulting with 30+ years of experience researching, advising, and implementing people solutions joins Steve Safier’s and Jane Gios’s Integrated Talent Management Class for a highly informative guest lecture regarding Talent Management in Matrix Organizations.

Norm began the conversation by defining the matrix organization as an interface between job responsibilities and personal competencies. He then outlined a series of insights into what makes the matrix organization work and what presents challenges. He cited the preeminent management consultant, Jay Galbraith, “The core problem that a structure tries to solve for is information overload and to solve information overload, there are two options, 1) reduce the amount of information being processed, or 2) increase the capacity for processing information. The matrix attempts to perform both.”  

Norm continued to describe different types of organization structures:

  • Functional, which is expertise-based and mechanistic (rules based)
  • Hierarchal, resulting in knowledge transfer and control
  • Market-based, focused on output or demand, resulting in market responsiveness, and the
  • Matrix structure, which attempts to integrate the above features, but which are complex and, difficult to implement, and which require a lot of natural collaboration.

The conversation continued, with Dr. Safier asking, “So then, why have a matrix structure?” “Norm stated that, “We live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world and, if done well, the matrix structure allows different parts of an enterprise to act in concert by:

1) helping maintain focus on expertise and technical superiority across diverse customers and markets,

2) allowing organizations to “Think global; Act local”

3) helping companies gain unique positioning by combining products and services, and by innovating continuously in ways that competitors can’t imitate,

4) by having the matrix interconnect everyone-, product lines, sectors, or geographies, and markets now have a single point of accountability, and

5) owing to the necessity of collaboration, placing an emphasis on  ‘healthy’ competition.”

Norm also shared how a leader could navigate a matrix within an enterprise by:

  • Placing the enterprise first
  • Filling any organizational white space
  • Understanding capacity and saying “No” appropriately
  • Respecting the priorities of others
  • Accepting responsibility and sharing success broadly
  • Realizing that managing in the matrix is a marathon and not a sprint
  • Networking and collaborating wisely (and being mindful not to “over- or under-include”)

Thank you, Norm, for visiting our class and sharing your perspectives on the complexities of a matrix enterprise.