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

A Tale of Two Hotels

I’m hosting an event in September and really wanted to give my business to the hotel where I hosted my last meeting. However, their policies and rigidness prevented me from doing so. On the other side of that coin is the hotel where I will be now hosting my event. The two experiences couldn’t be more different, yet these two hotels are located only a few miles from one another.

I reached out to the Hotel Indigo in Newton, Mass to book an executive breakfast that began at 7:30 AM and ended promptly at 9:00 AM. I chose this hotel because they had done such a fabulous job the last time I hosted a similar event. This time the experience was completely different. I was told that because I was not guaranteeing rooms, I could not secure my meeting room arrangements until four weeks prior to the event. I don’t know many people who could pull off a business event in less than four weeks time. I asked for a slight exception…the ability to book six weeks in advance…and I was told in four different ways, “No.”

Trying to get the hotel policy slightly modified was like trying to work with city hall. I  decided to take my business down the highway to the Newton Marriott.

My dealings with Sheila Townes, Catering Manager of the Newton Marriott, have been nothing but pleasant. I mentioned that I wanted to do something a bit more special than your typical continental breakfast. “No problem. Let me talk to the chef.” I asked if I could place a temporary hold on one of the meeting rooms. “No problem.” September is a particularly busy time of the year for business meetings in the Boston area and Sheila is taking care of me like I’m her only client.

A hotel is nothing more than a building with beds and some meeting rooms. It’s the service that is the differentiating factor. I hope the folks at the Hotel Indigo in Newton wake up one day and smell the coffee. Then again, thanks to them, I may have just found my new go to hotel!

Posted in Customer satisfaction, Word-of-Mouth


Coaching for Success

I do a lot of coaching for organizations looking to boost the effectiveness of their leaders. Some companies see more success than others. Here’s why.

My most successful clients understand that coaching is a two-way relationship. They have to give in order to get. By that I mean, they have to give their people the support they need to be successful in their everyday work life and not just give them permission to attend a one hour meeting every other week.

They give coaches to their most successful people. That may sound counter intuitive to many people, but actually it makes perfect sense. Great employees are always looking for ways to improve. The not-so-great are generally happy with the status-quo. In order for coaching to be effective, the conditions must be right. So before you hire a coach, make sure your intentions are clear. Is it to raise the level of performance of a particular employee or is it your last effort to save the employee before letting this individual go? Knowing this before hand will enable you to have more realistic expectations regarding how successful the engagement has been.

My best clients realize that it takes time for behavior changes to take root. It’s rare that they will see a noticeable change overnight, although at times it may very well feel like someone has just become an overnight success. They are patient and they allow the employee to move at his or her own pace.

My top clients don’t view coaching as the solution to every situation that is currently slowing down the growth of their organization. They rely on me to provide them with options that may or may not include coaching. After all, the goal is to dramatically improve the client’s condition, which may or may not involve coaching.


Posted in Coaching

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Why It Pays To Make Exceptions

If your HR team has convinced you that it would be unfair to give a high performer a raise because they’ve only been with your firm for several months or they’ve told you that for legal reasons it’s best to wait until everyone is reviewed prior to rewarding a particular group of people, then it’s time to fire your team.

Companies spend so much time covering their butts, that they often forget why they have these policies in place. Last time I checked, it was to reward specific performance. However, over the years it’s become more and more apparent that most reward systems aren’t working.

 Dare to be different. Reward those who are doing a great job and let the others quit or show them the door yourself. Doing so will make room for you to hire those who are much more productive.

Posted in Performance Management, Talent Maximization

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Remarkable Leaders

A+I had the pleasure of facilitating a remarkable group of leaders in the two-day session of Move Up/Manage Right/Suddenly in Charge in Boston. I’ve worked with enough leaders to know that many are competent, but few are remarkable. Here’s what separates these people from the pack.

  1. Passion. They love what they do and it shows. They come to work everyday excited to be there. Their enthusiasm is contagious.
  2. Determination. Three of the participants completed degrees while overcoming obstacles. One did this debt free and without assistance from family or friends. Once they made the decision to pursue their degrees, they didn’t allow anything or anyone to get in their way.
  3. Life Learners. These people attended the session because they wanted to. Not because they had to. They saw an opportunity to learn and they took it.
  4. Risk Takers. Leadership isn’t for the faint of heart. These people put themselves out there not knowing what the day will bring. And then they do it again and again.
  5. The desire to teach others. You know it’s a great day when your students teach you a thing or two. I’m grateful for their patience in teaching me how to use Vine and helping to expand my ability to use technology. I hope they learned as much from me as I did from them.

If you missed our session in Boston, I hope you will consider joining us next month in Toronto or in Nashville this fall. I’m facilitating a number of Suddenly in Charge onsite sessions over the next several months and would be delighted to do the same for you. Contact me at to reserve your date.

We had an exceptional few days together, but don’t take my word for it. Watch this Video Testimonial and see for yourself.



Posted in Leadership, Learning and Development, Managing Up, Suddenly In Charge

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How To Get Your Leaders Unstuck

Depositphotos_stuck manager_mIf you haven’t done so already, I recommend you read Why Managers Are Stuck in Their “Silos,” which appeared in the April 28th edition of the WSJ. The professor who wrote the article cited a survey she conducted with participants in her executive-education program. She asked, “What, if anything has helped you to become a more effective leader today?” 89% found external training very helpful and that the most highly rated sources of help were external. HR in my company came in last with only 11% reporting it was helpful.

HR people are “tasked” (their word, not mine) with taking care of compliance issues and paperwork. Many are up to their eyeballs in resumes, as they attempt to stay ahead of the packs of departing employees that are exiting their workplace like wildebeests crossing the Serengeti. Their intentions are good. However in most organizations there aren’t enough of these people and the good ones often leave for jobs on the line, where advancement opportunities are abundant.

External resources are fluid. They can quickly scale up or down depending on the project on hand. Can you say the same about your organization? Most likely not, as managers must go through hoops to add staff and walk through political minefields to dismiss sacred cows who are no longer performing.

External resources can provide an unbiased view, which cannot be offered by internal people. I see this all the time in my consulting practice. A leader may think one of his people needs to go, but quickly changes his mind when he sees that perhaps he’s the problem. He trusts that I have his best interest in mind and is willing to make the necessary changes that will result in better leadership all around.

So the next time you consider using an internal source rather than an external partner I hope you will remember that in the end, it’s about results. Without that, you’ve got nothing.


If you are looking to transform from an okay manager to a great leader than join me in Boston on May 19th & 20th for my two day workshop, Move Up/Manage Right. Only a few seats left so don’t delay.


Posted in Leadership, Learning and Development

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Are You Willing to Invest $1.37 in Your Future?

The time is now

The time is now

I’m conducting a two-day Suddenly in Charge workshop in Boston as well as Toronto and am inviting you to invest in your future. If you book prior to Friday, you’ll be able to take advantage of the early-bird pricing of $499, which comes out to about $1.37 a day.

Here’s why you should invest. You are interested in

  • Seamless transition of leadership
  • Increased collaboration up and down the organization
  • Reduction of costly turnover
  • Increased employee alignment and engagement
  • Improved internal and external customer relations
  • Strengthened succession planning

The deadline to register for the early bird rate is this Friday, April 25th and we only have a few seats left. You don’t want to miss this so register today. We are also booking dates for onsite programs. Call today for more information.

Posted in Employee Engagement, Learning and Development, Suddenly In Charge

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Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I agree. What does this picture of the cappuccino machine with an out of order sign tell you? StarbucksWell this photo tells me that someone is asleep at the wheel. Perhaps because they haven’t had their coffee.

This is a photo of the Starbucks at the Doubletree Hotel in Dallas where I stayed for two nights. I’m no expert in the coffee business, however I can tell you this hotel shop lost a heck of a lot of revenue with all their dreary eyed guests leaving in the morning without their Starbucks in hand. What would it have taken to prevent this service failure from happening?

I would think at a minimum, Starbucks could have Fedexed a new cappuccino machine to this location. This hotel was located at the airport, so I’m sure they could have had it there well ahead of the morning coffee rush hour crowd. But as of this writing, the sign is still up.

Companies set standards and when they disappoint their customers, whose to say these people will run back again to see if these failures have been corrected. Prevention is always less expensive than contingent action. Think about this the next time you decide to delay maintenance on your equipment or if you choose not to have a backup machine close by.




Posted in Customer satisfaction

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The Need For Speed

Excessive Speeding Careless Driving ConceptWhen it comes to hiring top talent, speed is the name of the game. Hiring managers who delay the selection process are losing top candidates to other companies. Think about it. You are a highly sought after candidate or even an Average Joe and you are in conversation with a number of companies regarding employment. One company is moving  ahead rapidly while the others are dragging their feet. You know the drill of those having a difficult time committing. It usually sounds like this:

“We have to involve John in the hiring process. He’s in China right now and is expected back in two weeks.”

“We are waiting for HR to get back to us regarding our proposed offer. Hang in there…they’re very busy and we should know something within the next week or so.”

“You’re the first candidate we’ve interviewed. We can’t possibly decided until we see everyone.”

These responses are  fine and dandy, but not in a market where speed matters. Even a day’s delay can make a difference between hearing the words, “Yes, I’d love to accept your offer,” and “Sorry, I just accepted a job yesterday.”

So the next time you enter the hiring highway, remember to keep your foot on the accelerator and move full speed ahead and don’t hesitate to run over anyone or any policy that gets in your way.


Introducing my  new Talent Magnetism Boot Camp, for those organizations looking to accelerate their ability to hire and retain top talent! Contact me for details.


Posted in Hiring and Recruitment

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It’s Time To Get Your Head Out Of The Sand

denialThis morning I had a conversation with a young woman who was responsible for two significant areas of HR in her organization, yet had no authority to make any changes. How would you like to be that person? She shared with me that she was struggling to fill a revenue producing position in her organization and asked for my advice. I gently pointed out to her that the solution was out of her pay grade as she didn’t have the authority to improve the company’s employment brand, nor could she increase the rather insignificant employee referral bonus.

So here you are, the CEO or business owner of this organization and you are wondering why revenues are flat or declining. You can’t understand why people aren’t lining up at the door to work at your organization and why people are leaving. It’s time to get your head out of the sand and grab a dose of reality.

If you want the job done right then hire people with experience and give them the authority to do their jobs. I’m all for giving people a chance to grow in their jobs, but not at the expense of your organization. If you want to groom people, then at least provide them with an internal or external resource that can help accelerate their ability to give you the results you expect.

Ask questions and then demand action. I recently encountered a senior member of a leadership team who spent hours telling me what was wrong with her organization, yet didn’t spend a minute telling me what she was going to do to fix things. She’s a VP for goodness sake. It’s her job to fix things. If someone like this is working for you, then it’s your job to do something about it. Otherwise you’ll wind up just like her.

Invest in online presence. You have less than 30 seconds to make a good impression with a prospective candidate. Sorry, but a picture of your two-story building on your career page isn’t going to strike a chord with most job seekers. In fact, it may very well repel them. Wow me people! Don’t know how. No problem. I do so give me a call.

Develop your leaders. You know you have them. They are in every company. Poor leaders. Most don’t aspire to be crappy. It just happens because no one has taken the time to invest in them and to work with them so they can improve their leadership style.

I’ll make you a deal. Invest $499 and in two days I will transform your people into magnetic leaders. Here’s how to get started:


Posted in Leadership, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization

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Why Bother to Hire Talent If You Aren’t Going To Use It?

I just received a call this morning from a talented individual who, had been diligently job searching for the past several months, saying that she just left the company she was recently hired to work for. Why? Because upon arrival at her new job, they had nothing for her to do. That’s right. They spent time and money looking for the ideal candidate and when they finally did find this person, they were unprepared for her arrival.

Great people don’t want jobs with fancy titles and nothing to do. They don’t want to waste their time twiddling their thumbs nor do they want to remain with an organization that is disorganized as this company was.

So before you go out there locked and loaded and ready to hire, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What exactly will this person be doing and is our organization ready to absorb a high caliber employee?
  • What are the 30-60-90 day objectives we will ask of this person?
  • Is our timing right to bring this person on board or are we better off waiting?

It’s hard enough to find great people. The last thing you want to do is to tarnish your employment brand as word spreads quickly about workplaces where employees come to work and companies have no idea why these people are there.

Posted in Creating Exceptional Work Places, Employee Turnover, Hiring and Recruitment

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