"You're really going to have your work cut out for you, Randy," remarked Pat Coleman, vice president for operations. "It's not going to be easy establishing a project management organizational structure on top of our traditional structure. We're going to have to absorb the lumps and bruises and literally 'force' the system to work."
Between 1978 and 1988, Mohawk National matured into one of Maine's largest full-service banks, employing a full-time staff of some 1,200 employees. Of the 1,200 employees, approximately 700 were located in the main offices in downtown Augusta. Mohawk matured along with other banks in the establishment of computerized information processing and ...view middle of the document...
We know that it's not going to be easy. We've tried to anticipate the problems that we're going to have. I've spent a great deal of time with our vice president of operations and two consultants trying to predict the actions of our employees. The first major problem we see is with our department managers. In most traditional organizations, the biggest functional department emerges as the strongest. In a matrix organization, or almost any other project form for that matter, there is a shift in the balance of power. Some managers become more important in their new roles and others not so important. We think our department managers are good workers and that they will be able to adapt. Our biggest concern is with the functional employees. Many of our functional people have been with us between twenty and thirty years. They're seasoned veterans. You must know that they're going to resist change. These people will fight us all the way. They won't accept the new system until they see it work. That'll be our biggest challenge: to convince the functional team members that the system will work. Pat Coleman, the vice president for operations, commented on the problems that he would be facing with the new structure: Under the new structure, all project managers will be reporting to me. To be truthful, I'm a little scared. This changeover is like a project in itself. As with any project, the beginning is the most important phase. If the project starts out on the right track, people might give it a chance. But if we have trouble, people will be quick to revert back to the old system. Our people hate change. We cannot wait one and a half to two years for people to get
Understanding the Changeover Problem
familiar with the new system. We have to hit them all at once and then go all out to convince them of the possibilities that can be achieved. This presents a problem in that the first group of project managers must be highly capable individuals with the ability to motivate the functional team members. I'm still not sure whether we should promote from within or hire from the outside. Hiring from the outside may cause severe problems in that our employees like to work with people they know and trust. Outside people may not know our people. If they make a mistake and aggravate our people, the system will be doomed to failure. Promoting from within is the only logical way to go, as long as we can find qualified personnel. I would prefer to take the qualified individuals and give them a lateral promotion to a project management position. These people would be on trial for about six months. If they perform well, they will be promoted and permanently assigned to project management. If they can't perform or have trouble enduring the pressure, they'll be returned to their former functional positions. I sure hope we don't have any inter- or intramatrix power struggles. Implementation of the new organizational form will require good communications channels....