Projects at Work

When Your World Is Flat

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.


Laura Burford

CEO, LAD Enterprizes

Laura has over 25 years of domestic and international project management…

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 …



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