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Matrix Providers News

Growing Up is Hard to Do

2019 to bring structural, cultural challenges

BY BILL RIVARD

Whatever growth a company may face, at some point, the "way things were," no longer works. Like many companies that continually transform, Matrix Providers today faces one of its biggest hurdles to date: The establishment of a middle layer of management to support a company too mature for its founders to run by direct contact with all members of the team.

It's not a bad problem to have, but it can be painful.

This isn't the company's first experience with change.

Since Matrix Providers' inception in 2006, the organization fire bore witness to the concept-proof and then some profit. On the heels of that came a 2010 business-partner failure. A re-engineering began and the business operated as a fresh startup with plenty of opening losses. Thankfully, 2014 brought profit and contract volume, but in 2016, hyper-growth occurred and brought with it all its chaos.

Looking ahead, 2019 opens with the dire need to build a middle management support structure so leadership isn't required to work 80-plus-hour weeks. Matrix Providers must reinvest how the company can expand and sustain, while figuring out how those who've spent years with their noses to the grindstone, rethink their positions to lead the company, not necessarily work it.

So, our Matrix Management Team – the MMT – was formed. Its installation is much like adding a second story to a comfortable ranch home; there are issues of design, structure, coherent load-bearing, communications, leadership and culture that need to be designed and optimized or the whole thing could, very expensively, fall down.

MMT works directly for the original Matrix leadership team, effectively now the C-suite. MMT comprises six directors and managers, configured over the past two years, starting with a director of HR, a director of program management, a controller, a capture director, a contracts manager and a new director of recruiting and credentialing.

They were chosen as a comprehensive team designed to address all aspects of the company's work – including but not limited to our “UFO abduction” strategy that, if the MLT disappeared all at once, the MMT can run the entire company.

A twist in the plot is that Matrix Providers is a virtual company; no one on either the MLT or MMT works in the same state.

After two years of planning, however, the people and the parts are in place. In late 2018, MLT and MMT will spend two full days together, an official launch of the new structural design. An MMT charter, to collectively own the company’s critical components, operations and support, corner-to-corner, will be established. Responsibilities to each other will be clearly defined.

A 2018 state-of-the-company will be written and made clear to all parties and 2019 strategic goals and challenges will be spelled out. Discussions around MLT’s expectations will be put on the table, fully explained and made available to all. Ultimately, the Matrix Providers Leadership Team will demonstrate all aspects of availability and support as the management team changes roles, responsibilities, communications and logistics challenges. Leadership and accountability by all will be demonstrated and defined.

These are no small tasks.

All will test the company in ways, until now, never faced. Beyond structure, job descriptions, and reporting channel obstacles, the company founders and C-suite leaders now must, more than ever before, seek to learn, adapt and synergize leadership styles. How tasks get delegated, how remote metrics and dashboards are employed and who's doing what will likely bombard us all on a daily basis. Patience, ambition, and review of commitments to the company and the new MMT will be laid bare.

Everyone generally agrees that it will likely take a year to get the company structure and what will likely be a new company culture established. There will be pit falls and failures. As the years of no profit and even dismantling teach anyone in business: Keep going.

"Nothing can take the place of persistence," said Calving Coolidge, and that is true. But it will undoubtedly take time and trial and error, before the final verdict is in.