Course Overview

Traditional teams with one focus and one set of responsibilities usually get good results.  But what happens when the team comprises members from different parts of an organization, or for that matter, separate organizations entirely? How can a matrix team’s leader and its members satisfy the demands of their other groups and accomplish the goals and objectives with which the matrix team is tasked? Without careful planning and frequent monitoring, a matrix team can quickly malfunction. This interactive team-building workshop focuses on specific challenges faced by matrix teams and the processes and skills that can help members of those groups work well within that environment.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the team-building process.
  • Identify challenges specific to matrix teams.
  • Describe basic group dynamics and the fundamental reasons people join, leave, or alter their participation level in teams.
  • Outline constructive and destructive group roles.
  • Describe formal and informal norms and the extent to which they can motivate or demotivate team members.
  • Identify destructive norms.
  • Solve common problems faced by matrix teams.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Strengths and Challenges of the Matrix: Where We Are

This workshop begins with a discussion about teams in general and the phases most teams go through.  Next, we’ll focus on matrix teams, their strengths, and the challenges these types of teams frequently encounter.  Using the data generated during that discussion, we will set the agenda for the remainder of the session and allocate our time to course topics.

Group Dynamics: The Ins and Outs of How Groups Work

In this next segment, we will explore the concept of groups and the forces that help or hinder the group communication process. Participants will consider long-term work groups, temporary groups, and informal groups. During this discussion, we’ll talk about reasons why people join, participate in, or leave groups: security and a sense of belonging, task complexity, social interaction, proximity, and perceived gain/loss. Following that exercise, we will examine the actions leaders and members of matrix teams can take to increase the likelihood that people will enthusiastically join them and willingly contribute to the team’s goals and objectives.

Roles: Parts People Play

This portion of the course takes a deep dive into team roles within the context of matrix teams.  We will examine task roles, socio-emotional roles, and destructive roles. We will also discuss verbal and non-verbal tells people assuming various informal roles (both positive and negative) exhibit and how to recognize them.  This segment concludes with an exercise where participants will determine how to leverage positive roles and minimize those that take away from the team’s effectiveness.

Norms: The Way We Do What We Do

Our next workshop topic explores norms, both formal and informal, and the extent to which they can have a positive influence or punitive effect on the members of a team. We’ll talk about the norm-building process for new or evolving teams and the norm-changing process for groups that find themselves adhering to destructive practices that cause bad decisions, disengagement, and other problems that hurt a matrix team’s ability to accomplish tasks.

The Good and Bad: Let’s Get Specific

Armed with knowledge about group dynamics, roles, and norms, in this part of the program, participants will work through a sorting activity and discuss well-documented benefits and problems matrix teams often present.  Together, group members will identify the good they currently experience along with the bad.  Following that exercise, we will navigate a series of role-playing activities to leverage the good and form solutions to the challenges.

By the end of this training program, participants will understand how to set themselves up for success on a matrix team and avoid common pitfalls.