Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
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Guest Post: Empower Your Talent and Grow Your Business

If you’ve invested significant time and money into finding and hiring the right talent, the question that remains is whether or not you are getting as much out of them as you could be. After all, if you are unable to achieve the levels of performance from an employee that you expect, then any investments you’ve made in searching for, interviewing, hiring, or training is sunk.

In my experience, unfortunately, this isn’t a puzzle that most companies have been able to crack. For those that are serious about finding top talent, the stakes are even higher. Yet once hired we often place employees into an environment and hierarchy that has been in place for decades, one that does little to empower employees to take action on their ideas or collaborate with fellow employees.

What’s my point? Well, I’ll share with you that after nearly two decades working in six different industries for eight companies, I realized that our ability to truly capitalize on our investment in employees doesn’t appear to be a priority for most. Finding talent is important, but what we do with them once we have them is about as archaic and predictable as the moldy cheese.

Here’s the key. If you want to actually obtain a return on your investment in employees, you have to make a further investment in creating an environment that empowers employees to apply their skills and expertise. Put another way, we can’t expect to tap into the high priced and highly skilled talents of today’s workforce by placing them in a working environment that hasn’t changed since before the industrial age. Organizational silos; multiple layers of management; conflicting departmental objectives. These are the remnants of how the industrial age was built; yet our employees, our customers, heck even our suppliers are more advanced then they were fifty years ago, aren’t they?

Of course I’m not suggesting you can wave a magic wand and change your working environment to support employee empowerment, in fact the topic is so complex that it took me over 60,000 words to fully explain how to create this environment in my new book from McGraw Hill, entitled, Operational Empowerment: Collaborate, Innovate and Engage to Beat the Competition. Fortunately there are some simple initial changes you can make that will put you on the path to empowering your employees and capitalizing on your investment.

  1. Solicit feedback: The skill set and education of today’s employees is higher than any other time in history. How are you tapping into this? Do you solicit feedback from employees as to how improvements or changes should be made in the business? If you do, are you quickly taking action on these ideas?
  1. Nurture collaboration: It’s true that two minds are better than one, so three or four must be exponentially more powerful. True maybe, but it’s not as simple as just sticking people in a room. To build collaboration we must focus on creating more synergies across departments, and the easiest way I know to do this is to create cross-functional teams. After all, who says that customer service can’t sit next to accounts receivable? Cross-functional teams build experience and allow employees to make better, more educated decisions. How are you breaking down the silos in your organization?
  1. Facilitative leadership: Now this is a topic that I could write another book on, but the key is this: In today’s world of team based collaboration and learning, having leaders that are directive (i.e. tell the employee what to do) versus facilitative (help them employees to do what they agree they’d like to do) will kill collaboration and morale. The most successful leaders, those that can tap into the collective power and wisdom of your employees, are those that facilitate the needs of the teams and the employees within them. Are your leaders directive or facilitative?

So what do you think? Are you tapping into the talent you’re investing a significant amount of time and money in attracting? Consider the three ideas above as they pertain to your team or business; better yet get your copy of my new book, Operational Empowerment: Collaborate, Innovate and Engage to Beat the Competition here, and learn about how to make a significant shift in your business.

© Shawn Casemore 2016. All rights reserved.

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization

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Five Critical Factors for A Flourishing Retail Business

Supermarket employeeHere are five critical factors for a flourishing retail business. The customer experience matters more than you think. How does your business rate?

  1. The customer’s experience with the employee is directly related to the employee’s experience with his or her manager.
  2. Too much money is being spent on low talent and not enough on high talent.
  3. A grocery store’s ability to compete is based on their brand. A brand is nothing more than a promise. What if your employees can’t keep your promise?
  4. Senior leaders look at employees as cost centers, when in fact they should be looking at them as profit centers.
  5. Some stores perform significantly better than others, yet their best practices aren’t being tapped and applied throughout the company.

Which factor do you do really well with and which one, if you could improve, would really have an impact on the organization?

Posted in Customer satisfaction, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Management, Profitability

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Three Ways You Can Immediately Improve Workplace Productivity

Young woman in office jubilates at deskLet’s not make increasing workplace productivity harder than it has to be. Here are three ways you can immediately improve productivity in your workplace.

Stop switching gears every five minutes. It’s hard to get anything done, when you are asked to change directions five different times. Assign the work and let your people complete their tasks before giving them more work.

Stop micromanaging people. The biggest productivity blockers are leaders. There, I said what you are all thinking. If you trust someone enough to give them the job, trust them to do it without your over site.

Hire the best. Yes, it might cost a few dollars more to hire someone with additional skills or experience, but you can bet that most will be more productive on day one than newbies. When it comes to hiring talent. Hire the best and forget the rest.

Posted in Leadership, Productivity, Profitability

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Pick Up The Phone!

I’ve tried four times to make a dinner reservation today and yet no one is answering the phone. Did I mention that this is also the number one is supposed to use to place takeout orders as well? Last week the same thing happened with another business. A client referred me to this business because she thought I could help them do a better job of hiring and managing their talent.

I can’t imagine that I won’t be able to help them do a better job of hiring and managing their talent, but we may never know this, as calls go to a mailbox that says please call back later. This company is an online retail company. How many people do you really think will be calling back later to place their order? My guess is none, as most will have gone to their Amazon accounts and hit their one-click buttons by the time you’ve read this brief post.

If you are too busy to pick up the phone then do us all a favor. Just put a closed sign on your door since no doubt your business will close in the not so distant future.

Posted in Customer satisfaction, Hiring and Recruitment, Management

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Toxic Employees: Are They Leaving a Bad Taste in the Mouths of Your Customers?

Photo Courtesy of Gratisography

Photo Courtesy of Gratisography

Companies spend gazillions of dollars trying to salvage toxic employees, when in fact they would be better served completely removing this hazardous waste from their organization. Toxic employees are those who suck the air out of the room the moment they arrive. These are the people who need constant care and attention. Imagine how much more pleasant and profitable life would be without this distraction?

Here’s what I see happening in organizations. Leaders know who these people are and often times they hope and pray these people will resign so they don’t have to counsel or fire them. Here’s the problem with this strategy. This isn’t a strategy. The toxic employee has lived in your organization for a long time now and isn’t going anywhere unless he or she is sent packing.

So you have a few people in a cast of thousands who seem problematic. No big deal right? Wrong. The toxins from these people can easily seep into other parts of your organization. So why take any chances?

Or worse, these toxic employees may poison others (including prospects and customers) by openly complaining to them on matters related to your business. It won’t take long for their comments to go viral with the popularity of social networking. Protect yourself and your organization by being proactive.

What about the toxic employees that you can’t see because they work virtually? You can’t afford to hold onto people who are no longer working for you. If need be, get on a plane and hand them their walking papers.

There is a great pool of candidates waiting for your call. Take steps to clean out your workplace and make way for the talent that is about to walk in your door.

© Matuson Consulting, 2016.

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Posted in Customer satisfaction, Management, Performance Management, Talent Maximization

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New Year, New Book!

START DOING.

START DOING.

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve accepted an offer to publish my third book, The Magnetic Leader: Attracting Employees, Customers and Profits.

I need your help. Who comes to mind when you say the words, Magnetic Leader out loud? If your name doesn’t come to mind, then let me know if you are interested in re-writing your story, as I believe magnetic leadership can be learned. How do I know this? Because I’ve helped dozens of clients transform themselves into Magnetic Leaders.

Reach out to me if you want to discuss this further and when doing so, mention this post. I’ll take 10% off my coaching fees. This offer is valid through January 31, 2016.

Here’s to a healthy, happy and magnetic New Year!

Posted in Books, Coaching, Leadership, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization

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Why Bother to Find Your Noble Purpose

PurposeA job is a job, right? Those whom we employ should be grateful to have a paycheck. Maybe that’s how it was when we were in the midst of the recession, but life on the outside (and the inside) has changed dramatically. Today’s worker wants more, and you should as well. They want their work to matter. They want to feel a personal connection to the outcomes they are working so hard to achieve. We call this purpose.

The Truth About Noble Purpose

No one knows more about Noble Purpose than Lisa Earle McLeod, author of the forthcoming book, Leading with Noble Purpose and Selling with Noble Purpose. “Noble Purpose provides a north star for your team,” states McLeod. “It creates competitive differentiation and employee engagement.” I know what you are thinking. “How the heck can Noble Purpose create engagement?”

I’ve had jobs where it was quite evident that the only purpose of my work was to make more money for the uber wealthy owner that I was working for. I did what I needed to do out of fear. At the time, I was supporting myself in one of the most expensive cities in America and there weren’t exactly a ton of jobs available for people like me. I did what I needed to do, and nothing more.

I would have been a heck of a lot more productive and happier had my employer taken the time to define and communicate the Noble Purpose of the business I was working in. I would have been more engaged if I felt like my work mattered. And believe me when I tell you that I was not the only person who was disengaged. There were enough of us to start our own company.

The Value Add

In her Noble Purpose workshops, McLeod is passionate about helping employers add value to their clients. One of the ways she does this is by helping companies weed out those who are not on board. “We just did a workshop, where one of the organization’s sales guys said, ‘Our Noble Purpose is to sell stuff. All this stuff about improving the client is just fluff.” This guy was a real mid-level performer, whose boss had been on the fence about him. Seeing him in action during the Noble Purpose workshop enabled his manager to see him in a different light. He decided to let him go. He replaced him with a guy who is on fire about improving the lives of clients and sales have exploded in that territory!

The Connection Between Noble Purpose And Talent Magnetism

Finding your Noble Purpose requires more introspection than most organizations are willing to give to an idea that doesn’t emerge from some big consulting firm. However, those that embrace this idea experience remarkable results. “People are shocked to find out that companies with a Noble Purpose outperform the market by over 350%,” notes McLeod. They also have a much easier time of hiring the right people the first time around.

Compare these two statements:

  1. Come join our company. You’ll be a cog in our machine. You’ll be another expendable asset in our relentless drive to increase our earnings.
  1. Come join our company. You’ll be part of a team that is excited about making a difference in the lives of our customers. Our people are the reason we are able to achieve extraordinary results for our customers.

Which company would you rather work for? My guess is company number two. You can stand out in the crowded talent space and attract better candidates when your business has a Noble Purpose. You won’t have to convince people to come work for you because the right people will be reaching out to you. We call this Talent Magnetism—attracting top talent that will stick around.

McLeod and I both agree that it’s time for CEOs and their executives to get emotional. “Too much of our business language is sanitized corporate speak,” says McLeod. People want to work for someone who has passion and isn’t afraid to demonstrate why their people and their business matter, day in and day out.

© Matuson Consulting, 2015

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Posted in Creating Exceptional Work Places, Leadership, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization

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How to Move Into the Big Leagues With No Experience

Woman playing squashMy friend told me the story of her fourteen-year old daughter, who is quite the athlete. She decided to go out for the squash team this semester, even though she had never held a squash racket in her hand. She made the team.

The surprise wasn’t that she actually made the team, as she is athletic. It was the fact that she made the varsity team. As I probed further, it was revealed that this is the first year her school has even had a team. Hence her promotion to the big leagues with no experience.

Most people who get promoted to the big leagues before they are ready won’t have the luxury this young lady has of remaining on the team. There is always someone waiting in the wings to replace them. This young athlete has a strong coach and stands a good chance of becoming a superstar. (Did I mention her coach is in ninth grade as well, as is ranked the number five squash player in the country?)

Don’t you deserve the same chance to shine? If you ask for only one thing this year, ask for a coach. Then be sure to report back and let us know about your next promotion.

© Matuson Consulting 2015

Posted in Coaching, Productivity, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization, Thought Leadership

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How to Sell More Women On Sales Leadership Roles

If you look around, you’ll notice there are significantly fewer women in sales leadership roles than men. Betsy Myers, Founding Director of the Bentley University Center for Women and Business Workplace That Work believes there are a number of factors that are contributing to this imbalance.

A pipeline in need of filling

Myers cites the fact there are fewer women in sales, which means there are less women in the sales leadership pipeline than men. The 2015 Closing the Gender Gap in Sales study, conducted by The Guardian Life Insurance Company, supports what Myers is saying. The study revealed the following:

  • 60 percent of women have not even considered a job in sales
  • 22 percent surveyed were even somewhat open to a career in sales
  • 67 percent say sales reminds the of a used car salesman
  • 79 percent don’t want a commission-based salary

Myers suggests that businesses need to do a better job of selling women on sales as a career. A sales career provides you with flexibility to set your own schedule and to be compensated based on your efforts, regardless of gender. According to Myers, the question that companies need to be asking is, “How do we have a conversation with women that enables them to see this career can give them the life they wish to have?”

Supporting success

Kate Rogers Coppins, Division Director of The Boston Beer Company, has had a very successful career in sales and in sales management, although it hasn’t always been easy. “The greatest challenges I faced were not from managing my business or a large team internally, but instead from the external forces of the industry I chose.” Coppins goes on to say, “While my company has always supported the growth of women in the sales force, it is still difficult for men to understand the unique challenges women face in a male dominated sales industry.” As a result, Coppins spearheaded a program to bring the women in her sales organization together to both celebrate successes and to support each other in their challenges. “A program like this would have benefitted me as I started my career in sales management,” notes Coppins.

“We need to mentor young women who are entering the field of sales and business so they succeed,” says Myers. “This will help them increase their confidence and aversion to risk.” Education, is also power. Myers points out that Bentley University now has a sales concentration. The fact that a top ranked university is now offering sales as a concentration adds credibility to the idea that sales is much more than a job. It’s a career.

Coppins suggests that companies consider a formal mentoring program where higher level female leaders are taking an active role. She believes that high level leaders, both male and female, should actively try to understand and recognize the challenges that are unique to women in their company. “Empathy can go a long way,” states Coppins.

Preparing today’s people for tomorrow’s leadership roles

Coppins believes it’s important for companies to identify the potential future female leaders in their sales organization and encourage their development and advancement. A company cannot sit back idly and expect these women to identify themselves, as social norms ad women’s career expectations may not be in alignment.

This may also entail changing the workplace, which Myers believes doesn’t work anymore. “It doesn’t work for women and it doesn’t work for men either.” She goes on to cite findings by Bain Research that shows the immediate supervisor isn’t mentoring their people and that women don’t feel supported. “Women don’t feel like they belong in a workplace that is so traditionally male.”

The first step in creating change is to admit that something isn’t working. Only then can you begin to identify why this is so and begin to work on changes that will be everlasting.

Are you transitioning into a sales leadership role? If so, call me at 617-608-3633 to see if my Rapid Results Coaching program is right for you.

Posted in Coaching, Hiring and Recruitment, Leadership, Management, Sales, Women in Business

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Lessons Learned from NYC Advertising Week

Presenting at NYC Advertising Week last month was an amazing experience. There was so much energy and knowledge all around. As promised, here are some of my key takeaways from NYC Advertising Week.

  1. There are a lot of companies that want your talent. Become the company that everyone wants to work for and this won’t be a problem.
  2. Tons of companies have big hiring plans. If you are looking to hire, don’t delay.
  3. Focus on retention and you won’t have to worry about competing for talent to fill vacant jobs.
  4. Your company is not for everyone and everyone is not for your company. Acknowledge that and move on.
  5. Fancy workspaces are great, but at the end of the day it’s about magnetic leadership.
Posted in Creating Exceptional Work Places, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization

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