This Matrix is used with members in face-to-face group dialogue.

The value from using the Matrix comes from the discussion it stimulates, rather than the absolutes or “scores”.

The Network Maturity Matrix is designed to stimulate, inform and structure face-to-face discussions of network members around 8 key dimensions of effective networks.

This is the best way to use the Matrix:

  1. Schedule a meeting with a representative sample from your network. Between four and eight members are ideal. Larger numbers can be accommodated if you work in smaller groups of 4-8.
  2. Send the following link Download the Maturity Model Matrix and ask members to read and familiarise themselves with it in advance of the meeting.
  3. The meeting should be face-to-face if possible and is likely to take between 90 and 120 minutes. The objectives of your meeting will be to explore the model together, assess your network against each area, discuss differences of perspective and identify priorities for improvement.

Running The Meeting

At the start of the meeting, provide participants with a paper copy of the maturity model giving them time to read it through and refresh their memories fully.  With larger groups (15+) this can be done in smaller groups of 4 to 8 using the “tabletop” sized Matrix sheets. Otherwise use a “wall chart” sized Matrix and work with everyone standing around it at the wall, or work with the online tool projected on a screen, filling it in as you go along.

Considering each of the practices (column headings) in turn, and starting at level 1, the group should discuss and agree on the level of capability which best describes their current experience. Differences of view in the group are to be expected and are a valuable source of learning. Record the lower of any scores on the online chart and note if there is a range of responses.

Explore any difference of view together and capture notes about the discussion. In all discussions apply the best principles of group facilitation. Specifically, consider the following:

  1. Ensure that “talk and air-time” are well distributed amongst members. This basically means that everyone should be able to comment and speak uninterrupted. In groups where the power gradient is an issue, use a method that means that people take turns in order.
  2. Allow differences of view to co-exist. This exercise is not about gaining consensus it is about exploring views.
  3. Resist any temptation to summarise on behalf of others. Ask additional questions if necessary.

Having completed the self-assessment, note the current levels (directly online is best) and ask the group to select a small number of priorities for improvement (two to three practices are ideal). Resist the temptation to set targets for everything! Ask members to agree upon a target score for where they want to see the network at a given point in the future (we recommend 12 months to allow proper time for development actions). Exactly how this target is reached should be the subject of later discussion. Don’t get held back by practical obstacles at this stage. The target is at this point, aspiration.

Your outputs from the meeting will be:

  • Eight current and two-to-three target scores.
  • Notes of any key discussion points or questions against each practice, and any general actions or next steps.