When Your World Is Flat

Laura has experience with big four consulting organizations; was a managing director at a start-up international technology consulting organization that provided off-shore services; and currently is the owner of LAD Enterprizes, a management and information technology company. She provides project management services and training to assist organizations in realizing their goals through projects.

Project managers working in hierarchical environments can struggle when thrown into cultures with limited controls and informal processes. They need to adapt, encouraging the right amount of process to ensure success without threatening core values. Here are five areas where leadership skills can be leveraged to accomplish this tightrope act.

Consider the “flat organization.” It has few or no levels of management. It operates with open communication, informal processes and limited controls. Teams are empowered and encouraged to be collaborative, flexible and innovative. The flat organization’s leaders know that formal processes and controls can negatively impact the culture, which is at the core of the organization’s success. However, they also realize that having no processes and control can hinder the success of a project. They want a project manager who is flexible and can adapt to their environment; a leader who can implement the “right” amount of formality and control so that project success is possible  but not too much, so that the culture and day-to-day operations are not compromised.  

This article outlines five organizational characteristics often found in flat organizations and discusses the management, leadership and interpersonal skills that a project manager can adapt and leverage while leading projects …

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You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.

- Margaret Thatcher

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