I want to thank Mark and Mike for so many things, but especially for the casts on Matrix Organizations and learning to prewire a meeting.
I work for a church denomination–you could say it's like a regional office for about 400 Protestant local churches. My first major project when hired this year has been to lead the org through a new website design. I was in charge of the process of drafting the proposal, selecting a vendor, designing and launching the site, with no directs and a timeline of 9 months. My predecessor had crashed and burned when attempting this project, so there was a lot of anxiety in the org about this initiative.
Non-profit organizations don't look exactly like the Matrix described in the cast, but my org has many similar characteristics: very flat, lots of volunteer committees that have "veto" power over the paid staff but no real decision-making power, tons of meetings but few decisions. You were right, Mike and Mark, for a vertical-org guy like me it was frustrating!
Your cast helped me see that if I was going to accomplish anything at all, I needed relationships with everyone who had that veto power, anyone who could raise a stink, everyone who would feel left out if not kept in the loop. And all of the brass needed updates as often as possible.
Learning to prewire my presentations and meetings helped make everything go more smoothly - I got buy-in from the key leaders in the org, often they were amazed that I was asking them - they were used to just showing up to the meeting to learn things. Not this time!
I was almost undone by neglecting a key IT relationship, but in the end, I patched things up and the site launched on-time and under budget – $20,000 less than they had planned to spend on this project the year before. I am even using the goodwill from this success to leverage more cooperation from admins and other people in the org, who can use this new tool to make them and their bosses look better. Win/Win/Win.
Thank you Manager Tools!