Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
Roberta Matuson's Blog

The Real Truth About Learning

I was recently asked to coach an executive, who was having a difficult time assimilating into her new leadership role, even though her company had invested a ton of money sending her to an executive leadership program. She confided in me that she could barely recall what she had learned six months ago. I’m not surprised.

I’m going to let you in on a secret, that will save your organization millions of dollars a year. Real learning takes place in real time.

Think about it. You can’t learn how to ride a bike by reading a book or attending a two-day session on the theory of bike riding. You have to get on the bike. The same is true, regarding leadership development.

Let’s say you’ve attended a leadership development program where you learned how to deal with difficult employees or something more tactical, such as basic interviewing skills. You’re fortunate in that you don’t have any problematic employees on your team, nor do you have any job openings.

Six months later, that all changes. You look at the notes you took in your training class and can’t decipher what you wrote. You’re too embarrassed to ask for help, so you wing it—a move you soon regret.

What if instead, you had access to an expert who could help you quickly think through your options and provide you with feedback regarding your next move? Having this would free you up to make better decisions more rapidly. You could then use this time to advance the goals of the organization, as well as your own.

This expert might be an internal resource. That is if your organization has enough people on staff to provide real-time coaching. Or they may be an external coach, hired to provide timely advice when needed. In both scenarios, the results provide a much higher ROI than most leadership training programs.

My most successful clients use a hybrid approach. Managers, who attend leadership development programs are assigned coaches to support them. As a result, they’re better able to apply their learning, by working through their leadership challenges as situations arise.

What’s your experience been? Have the management training classes you’ve attended been a worthwhile investment in terms of your time, or would you be a better leader today, had you been given a coach?

 

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How to Capture a Slice of the 2019 Talent Pool

Hiring College Grads

Employers plan to hire 10.7 percent more graduates from the Class of 2019 than they did from the Class of 2018 for positions in the United States, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Here’s what you need to do to capture a slice of this talent pool.

Stop relying on salary surveys to tell you how much you’ll need to pay to be competitive in today’s market. Survey companies can’t keep up with how fast the market is moving. Instead, take note of what candidates are asking for. Reach out to college placement offices and ask for advice in terms of starting pay.

Rapidly accelerate your hiring process. Candidates are getting multiple offers. Often times the first offer is the one that’s accepted. Be first in line. List every step of your recruitment process. Surely there’s some fluff in there. Eliminate it and you’ll be able to dramatically slash the time it takes for you to extend offers.

Be realistic. You can teach smart people new skills. Some college majors aren’t nearly in demand as others. Seek out those grads. By doing so, you’ll have a lot less competition and will no doubt be more successful in your hiring efforts.

For more tips, register for my newsletter.

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Why Every Executive Can Benefit from a Trusted Advisor

I was speaking to a prospect the other day who confided in me that she’s been considering several key strategical initiatives for months now, yet was unable to make a decision. She went on to say she wasn’t sure she had the right people on her team that could execute her vision.

She couldn’t exactly speak with executives on her team about this, since the people she had doubts about were their co-workers, nor could she discuss this with her board, for fear they’d have concerns about her ability to lead. So she did what many executives do. She continued to ruminate until the Chairman of the Board called her in to discuss his concerns. This scenario is more common than you think.We tend to look at successful executives with awe and rarely question how they got to where they are. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Most have had help.

In last week’s WSJ, Land O’Lakes, Inc. CEO Beth Ford stated she was at ease making financial and strategic decisions because she knows where to “source information.” But when it comes to “people moments,” she turns to others for counsel. Ford is fortunate in that she has access to some of the world’s top executives due to her high profile role.

Here’s how to avail yourself of similar resources, even if you’re not leading a Fortune 500 company, just yet.

Join a board. Non-profits are always looking for board members to help take their organizations to the next level. Find a non-profit, whose mission you believe in and see if they are actively looking for a new board member. By doing so, you’ll be helping your community out, while at the same time, gaining access to leaders whom you may not usually have an opportunity to meet. As you get to know your fellow board members, you’ll find one or two people whose advice you may choose to seek.

Form your own advisory team. Think about people in your network whom you admire. Reach out to these people and ask them for permission to reach out to them for advice when a situation arises. Offer to do the same for them. Take this one step further by meeting quarterly for lunch or drinks.

Hire your own trusted advisor. An advisor is someone who is a subject matter expert in an area that’s of importance to you. This person provides advice based on your particular situation.

For example, I’m a trusted advisor to a number of CEOs who reach out to me to discuss issues that are top of mind regarding talent. They may have questions around the best way to structure the organization, or they might need advice as to how to best exit an executive from the organization.

Sometimes they’ll reach out to me because they need a sounding board. Other times, it may be merely to vent.

What matters most for them is knowing they have someone who will give them unfiltered feedback. I also help my clients with accountability.

Before seeking an advisor, ask the following questions:

  • What am I looking to achieve?
  • How can this person help me grow my business or advance my career?
  • Am I in need of someone who can help me shift my behaviors or do I need expert advice in a particular area?
  • Does the person whom I’m speaking with have experience helping people like me?
  • What results has this person helped their clients achieve?
  • Am I ready to commit to working with an advisor?

I always practice what I preach and have recently re-engaged with my trusted advisor, Alan Weiss. He tells me what I need to hear and not necessarily what I want to hear. He pushes me to think bigger and warns me when I’m about to step off a cliff. My only regret is not hiring him sooner.

Avoid my mistake. Don’t wait. Find a trusted advisor who can help you soar. Do this today.

© 2019, Matuson Consulting.

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Can a Bot Really Improve Your Management Skills?

Today’s WSJ contains a story on Robots that Manage the Managers. The idea is that a bot can improve one’s leadership skills. For example, a management coaching app will remind you that it’s time to have a performance conversation with one of your employees.

Call me old school, but how hard can it be to place a reminder on your calendar for a weekly check-in? Do you really need another thing in your life pinging you when you’re in the restroom?

My Apple watch reminds me when it’s time to stand. I used to listen to my watch and do what I was told. Now it’s like background noise. I suspect the same thing will happen with these management bots. You’ll listen and comply until their reminders are nothing but a distant memory.

What’s your thoughts on a Bot providing you with management advice?

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Let’s Get Growing: Evergreen Talent Teleconference

Non-stop growth. Evergreen Talent

Spring is here. Let’s get growing!

You’ve been asking me for this and I’ve finally decided to say yes and share my latest thought-leadership on how to seed, cultivate, and grow a sustainable workforce. My forthcoming book, Evergreen Talent, won’t be out until 2020. However, I’m going to give you a jump start on the competition.

Want to achieve non-stop growth? If you answered yes, then you’ll want to attend my upcoming teleconference on how to seed, cultivate and grow a sustainable workforce.

Sign up today for the Evergreen Talent Teleconference. The teleconference is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14th at 11:00 AM, EST. Seats are limited, so don’t delay. Can’t make the call? No problem. A recording will be sent to all registrants within 24 hours of the session.

Want to attend for free? Order 2 copies of The Magnetic Leader (any edition), email me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com a screenshot of your purchase, and you’ll receive a complimentary spot. 

To your growth!

Roberta

 

Posted in Business Growth, Talent Acquisition and Retention
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Should You Accept Every Promotion That Comes Your Way? Maybe Not

Predictable Promotion. Good idea or bad?

When it comes to accepting a promotion, any offer is a good offer, right? Not always. If you’re made an offer, it may be tempting to accept right away. But before you say “yes,” assess it thoroughly. Here are some questions you need to consider and the conversations you need to have (both with your manager and yourself) before you accept.

Is this a job you really want? I’ve seen lots of people accept promotions into management without stopping to consider if the job they were offered is one they really want. Some have said yes, thinking they really had no say in the matter, while others accepted because they thought this was their only option. This happens a lot when someone is promoted for the first time into management. They have no interest in managing the work of others, nor do they share the traits that are common among great leaders. Yet, they say yes and soon regret doing so.

Think long and hard about where you want to go in your career. If the newly offered position is aligned with your goals, then proceed. If not, consider opting out until an opportunity that is better aligned with your objectives presents itself.

Does this promotion come with a raise? Promoting people without offering any additional compensation seems to be a new trend gaining popularity among employers. I recently posted about this on LinkedIn, and as of this writing, over 164,000 people viewed my post and 310 people commented. Most, like me, are enraged by this trend. Here’s why.

Money is a matter of priority. Here’s what I mean. You’re offered a promotion, which generally means you will be taking on considerably more responsibility and investing more time at work, at least until you master your new job. In the meantime, the company decides to increase spending on snacks, company cars and executive pay. The message here is you’re not a priority. We don’t value you enough to give you more money, even though we want you to take on more responsibility.

If you feel you have little choice but to go along with these shenanigans, then accept the promotion. Then immediately update your LinkedIn profile with your new job title and be on the lookout for an organization that values people for the work they do.

Is this new job worth the money? Let’s assume for a moment that you’ll be given a pay raise with this promotion. Is it a token raise or will your new salary compensate you for the additional responsibilities you’ll be handling?

If you don’t feel you’ll be compensated fairly, then do your best to negotiate a better deal. Check with people who have similar experience or are in comparable jobs and ask them for advice regarding starting pay. Search online for salary information, as well. Then be prepared to ask your new boss for what you deserve.

Is the timing right for you to accept a promotion? After accepting a promotion, you usually have to put in extra hours while you master the skills required to do your new job. You may even need to continue to do your former job while looking for a replacement to fill the position you’ll be vacating. Will you have enough hours in the day to do this? Perhaps you’re attending night school to complete your degree or you’re the primary caregiver for an aging parent or a young family member.

Do you have the capacity to take on more, or will a new job push you over the edge? Think about this before saying yes.

Can you fully meet the expectations of this new role? Now is the time to have a heartfelt conversation with your new boss and your current boss. Ask your new boss what the expectations will be in terms of the new performance metrics that will be used to measure your success. Once you know this, you can then go back to your current boss for feedback regarding specific steps you need to take to ensure success in your new job.

Is your new boss willing to provide you with a coach? When I was first promoted into management, I was fortunate in that my boss gave me a coach. If he hadn’t, I doubt I would have lasted more than a few months in my new role.

If you think you would benefit from having a coach to help you swiftly transition into your new role, then now is the time to ask. Your potential new boss wants you to say yes to the opportunity being presented and may very well agree to your request.

The time to ask for what you want is now—before you accept a promotion. Just don’t act too surprised when your new boss says yes to your requests.

© Matuson Consulting, 2019.

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Saying No When You Think You Should Say Yes

Just say no.

I was on vacation last week and reluctantly dragged myself through a museum, because others told me that this was something I couldn’t miss. If you’ve ever attended an event because you were told you must go or eat at a particular restaurant because everyone else was going, then you know exactly how it feels to do something out of obligation.

Of course, no one was holding a gun to my head. I could have chosen to spend my time elsewhere. However, the idea that I had already committed myself to do something got in the way of doing what I knew deep in my heart I should have done.

I should have exited the building, the moment I realized I had made a mistake.

I see the same type of behavior with clients that I work with. They’ve engaged a coach who isn’t helping them move the needle towards the results they hoped to achieve. However, they stick with this person (and some even renew for the second round of coaching) because they are hopeful things will improve, yet there is no evidence this will be the case.

Or they decide to implement a new program, only to discover that the path they’ve chosen is not the right one for their organization. Many will continue down this road because they fear what will happen if they admit they’ve made a mistake. This decision often comes back to haunt them, as it’s difficult to backtrack when you’ve reached the point of no return.

Sometimes leaders decide to do things internally, out of obligation to their team., They believe working on a particular project will be a growth opportunity for their people. While this sounds good in theory, their staff is already stretched too thinly, as there are a host of other priorities requiring their attention. A sense of obligation prevents these leaders from bringing in external resources. A growth opportunity quickly turns into the final straw for many. They soon depart for a less stressful work situation.

Living your life out of obligation is no way to live.

The next time you find yourself doing something because you feel obligated, take a pause. Look at the situation and ask yourself If what you are doing enhances your life and that of the people around you. If the answer is no, then stop what you’re doing and extricate yourself from your current situation. You’ll be glad you did!

© Matuson Consulting, 2019.

Your assignment: What’s one thing that you’re currently doing out of obligation that’s no longer working for you? How will you change this going forward? You can post this in the comment section or if you’d like, send this to me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com, and I’ll provide the first five people who do so with advice on how to best handle this situation.

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Why Now May Be The Time To Quit Your Executive Job

Is it time to exit stage right? Photo Courtesy of Ernest Billo-Unsplash

General Electric just told the city of Boston that they were scaling back their plans to grow the Boston HQ significantly. While that move alone may not mean much to you, they have to reimburse the state $87M of incentive money given to them when they agreed to move their corporate headquarters from Connecticut to Massachusetts. In a nutshell, the company is doing what’s best for them. Can the same be said about you?

Here are four questions to consider when evaluating if the job you have is worth continuing.

  1. Am I having fun at work? This is a question that I always ask my executive coaching clients. You’d be surprised how many people either don’t know or can’t say yes. If you have to think about whether or not you’re having fun at work, chances are you’re not. And if you’re spending most of your waking hours at work and not enjoying yourself, then why are you still there?
  2. Does your organization value what you do? Do your boss and your colleagues appreciate the value you bring to the organization? Are you getting the support you need to improve your department? You have a seat at the executive table. However, is your voice being heard? This is probably the number one reason why people contact me when seeking an executive coach. They realize their influence is waning. When caught early, you can turn this situation around. If it’s gone on for too long, then the only choice left may be to depart.
  3. Has a promised promotion been forgotten? You were told you’d be running the division by year-end. That was 14 months ago. There’s never been a better time to change jobs. With record levels of unemployment across the nation, companies are desperately seeking people like you. It’s time to take your head out of the sand and face the obvious. You’ve gone as far as you’re going to go in your current organization. Now that you know this, what will you do with this information?
  4. Is there a new CEO in town, who is bringing in her executive team? Are you sitting by and watching your colleagues being replaced by people who the CEO knows and trusts? What makes you think your number won’t be up shortly? You’re in a much better position to negotiate a new deal when you’re employed, than when you’re not. Now’s the time to take action.

If your work is no longer making you happy, then I say quit!

©Matuson Consulting, 2019.

I’m holding free confidential sessions this week for executives who want to discuss their situation. Reach out to me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com or call me direct at 617-608-3633.

Not available this week? E-mail me and we’ll get a call on the calendar for early March.

Posted in Careers, Employee Engagement, Women in Business
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Amazon Scraps HQ2 Plan in New York: What it Means for Employers Nationwide

Amazon is coming for your talent.

Amazon delivered some shocking news last week when the company announced it was canceling its plans to build an expansive corporate campus in Long Island City, New York. Employers in and adjacent to their proposed new co-headquarters city are probably relieved to hear this news, as it’s likely many would have lost talent to Amazon. While they may be celebrating today, the rest of us should not be. Here’s why.

In a statement released by Amazon, the company notes the following:

“We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture — and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.

“We do not intend to re-open the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.”

Here’s what this means for employers nationwide.

Hang onto your talent. Amazon has plans to continue growing their teams, which means they may very well be doing so in your backyard. Only this time, they won’t be throwing out a warning shot. Most likely you won’t even know this is happening in your area until they’ve successfully poached your talent. There are lots of things you can do today to ward off a potential ambush.

Here’s one simple idea that could yield tremendous results. Over the next week, meet with each team member and ask:

What were your hopes and dreams when you accepted your position with our company?

Has your dream become a reality?

If not, what can I do to make this right?

Now is the time to assess your leadership team. I see companies spending a ton of money trying to outdo one another in terms of perks and crazy office designs that few appreciate. Tales of kegs being opened at all hours of the day or exotic snacks that are making employees fat seem to be all the rage. Yet, here we are. Employees are less engaged today than back in the sixties when a steady job was the key to engagement. Studies consistently show that employees don’t leave companies. They leave their bosses.

I get it. It’s a lot easier to buy an employee’s affection than it is to deal with lousy leadership. Those organizations with great leadership have little to fear, in terms of a company like Amazon ramping up their hiring right in their backyard. Employees who are connected to their leaders will most likely choose to stay right where they are planted. Those with weak leaders have a decision to make. Either move these leaders out or engage a coach to help them make the necessary behavioral changes needed to become what I call, magnetic leaders. These are leaders who are great at getting talent to stick around.

Start updating your succession plan. Raise your hand if your company has a current succession plan. If your hand went up, then we’re done here. The rest of you will want to continue reading.

Eventually, everyone leaves their company. Knowing this, what’s your plan when someone goes? We’d like to believe our best employees will remain with us forever. However, that’s not realistic. That’s why every company needs a succession plan. If your best sales leader went away tomorrow, how would you replace this person? If one of your top managers announced their retirement, what would that mean to the rest of the organization? Who could move into this spot and successfully fill this role? What type of training might this person need to be given to make this seamless transition?

Amazon’s announcement today reminds us of how important it is to have a talent plan in place. Employers need to plan for tomorrow today, while there is still time to hold onto their most treasured asset–their people.

©Matuson Consulting, 2019.

What’s the real cost of employee turnover in your organization? Head over to my free employee turnover calculator. Send me the results and I’ll send you a free copy of my latest e-book, Guard Your Exits: The Executive’s Guide to Employee Turnover.

Posted in Talent Acquisition and Retention
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The Real Truth About Teams

I’m from New England, where I guess you could say we know a lot about teams here. Our New England Patriot’s just brought home their sixth Super Bowl championship and our beloved Red Sox are the number one team in the nation.

If you truly have a team, then the team wins and loses together. This lesson is one that many companies still haven’t learned. Here’s an example that highlights what I mean.

Aramark, recently made the decision not to pay bonuses to thousands of low-level managers, whose jobs resided in “bands five-eight in the U.S.” These are the “team members” who are ultimately responsible for executing on the company’s strategy. Those in upper management (bands one-four) received bonuses.

The company did not respond to questions from the Philadelphia Inquirer about why it did not pay bonuses to managers in tiers five to eight who earned them instead of canceling bonuses across the board.

No doubt, Aramark will be investing millions of dollars over the next few years, in their quest to build teamwork across the organization. If asked, I’d tell them to take this money and use it to compensate everyone on the team for a solid season. And while you’re at it, fire the guy who made the decision to treat some team members better than others.

As you consider team building programs inside your organization, ask yourself the following:

Do you have a teams or committees?

Remember, if it’s a team then everyone wins or loses together. If that’s not the case, then you probably have a committee. Committees can function well or badly, but most committees in organizational life are actually competing to some degree, and co-operating to some extent. Rarely do they win and lose together, regardless of how many off-site team building sessions you engage in.

 

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