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Passion, People and Principles

Managing the Multidimensional Firm

post # 203 — October 2, 2006 — a Managing, Strategy post

Both management and front-line employees today are overburdened by time-consuming and often conflicting roles due to the complex structures of departments, industry teams, major account teams and geographic locations.

That’s why in modern businesses, the organization IS the strategy: if the organization functions smoothly, the firm will excel. If it creates barriers, the firm will stumble continually.

This week’s free audio seminar, Competing through Organizational Functioning, discusses the diagnostic tools for a smoother functioning organization:

5 Imperatives to structure your organization for success
  1. Examine structure, process and people
  2. Recognize shifting priorities in structural design
  3. Establish mandates for each group
  4. Clarify agreements within the groups
  5. Choose the right group leaders

I also discuss how to create your own customized solution for managing a complex firm that goes beyond the motions of establishing “theoretically correct” structures and obtaining “false consent” from key players to effect real change.

A slightly modified version of this podcast (with the same title) will be posted as a new article on my website later this week. [Update: the article version of Managing the Multidimensional Organization is now available on the site as both a screen version and a downloadable PDF.]

You can receive new seminars automatically with iTunes or other podcast players. (Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to subscribe.) My Business Masterclass audio seminars are always downloadable at no cost.


Andre (Redbeard) Mazerolle said:

I re-read your article and Blog post on Multidimensional Organizations with interest after reading about Dr. Raymond Madden, the head of learning and professional development at the ICAEW, in Accountancy Age magazine who recently said, “The days of the chartered accountant keeping a low profile are long gone and good communication skills have never been more important, so why are we so bad at it?…[and] the need for ‘soft skills’ development has never been more relevant to the job.” Mandates, processes, agreements et. al. are important, but the soft skills of a leader is what really carries the day. To paraphrase Sun Tsu, people will follow those that they like and admire. I recently blogged about this on http://redbeardmarketing.blogspot.com/

posted on March 20, 2007

Hans Strikwerda said:

I missed Maister’s paper when finishing my book “van unitmanagement naar multidimensionale organisaties”(Dutch), which appeared January 2008.

However, in studying a number of firms running a multidimensional organization, e.g. IBM, Microsoft, Sabic Europe, ASML, I have arrived at completely different imparatives how to run a multidimensional organization compared to those suggested by Dr, Maister. The rules are:

  1. Have one objective, based on one integrated economic model of the firm, this model must identify the dimensions in the market that are critical to the succes of the firm;
  2. Define the customer as profit center in the accounting system of the organization;
  3. Data on customers and transaction data should be corporate property (not unit) and be recorded in a multidimensional database
  4. Have a management information system that reports the same performance and situation information to all managers, on all dimensions: account, regional, product, application, distribution channel etc. This management information needs to be generated from one single trusted source, and should result in absence of information asymmetry;
  5. Organize market opportunities seperate from resources;
  6. Select managers that are contribution oriented (not position oriented), are inclined to prosocial behavior, and are motivated by reputation based on visible contribution, and have an attitude to understand the working of the firm and are resourcefull;
  7. Have key managers socialized that they know each personality, motivation etc.
  8. Have a clearly defined management process for discussing and solving issues, and in which non-decision making is immediately detected and remedied;
  9. Reward the cooperation equitable, bonusses should be based on corporate performance, not on unit performance.

Details are to found in my book, an English version of its Executive Summary is to be found at http://www.strikwerda.org

posted on March 20, 2008