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

How to Avoid Becoming the Next Ryan Lochte

integritySeveral weeks ago, you may have dreamed of the day when you became as famous as Ryan Lochte. By now, I’m sure your dreams and goals have changed. Yet, what have we learned from this situation?

Be honest-It’s so easy today for tiny white lies to explode into one big fat lie. Cameras are everywhere, posts are put up on social media, before you even have a chance to say, “Only kidding.” It’s especially important for leaders to be honest with their people, as honesty is the cornerstone of trust and without trust, there is no leadership.

Keep your ego in check-It’s easy to let the fact that you are now a manager or an executive go to your head. Remain humble. You’ll gather a lot more respect from your followers, than those who let their egos run wild.

Admit when you are wrong-Lochte’s PR nightmare could have ended a lot sooner if he had merely taken responsibility and confessed to his wrong doings. Instead, he embarrassed his host country as well as those of us in the U.S. You are not going to be right 100 percent of the time. No one is. Admit it and move on.

In leadership, it’s not about winning all the time, as it’s highly unlikely you are going to receive endorsements after taking first place during a single race. Slow and steady ethical behavior will get you to the top and allow you to remain in that position for years to come.


Posted in Career, Leadership, Management, Thought Leadership

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Fourth Book Deal Signed

Suddenly-in-ChargeI’m excited to announce that I’ve just accepted an offer to publish my fourth book. I’m going to be writing a brand new edition of the international bestseller, Suddenly in Charge, which will be released in the fall of 2017. That means I will have two new books released in 2017. The other is The Magnetic Leader, which will hit the stands in the spring of 2017.

I’m currently booking speaking engagements for the remainder of this year and next, having just returned from doing 9 speeches in Colombia in 5 days (more on that in a future blog post) and presenting to representatives of over 175 different companies, including Credibanco and Allianz. I’m also conducting teleconferences and webinars for organizations looking to dramatically increase their ability to rapidly hire top talent that will stick around. Dates are booking quickly. Reach out to me today to secure your date.

And for those of you who don’t want to wait for next fall to succeed all around, you can still purchase copies of the current edition of Suddenly in Charge. Or, for those interested in rapid success, join my Suddenly in Charge ® Coaching Program. Questions? Contact me at

Posted in Books, Coaching, Learning and Development, Managing Up, Suddenly In Charge, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization

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Stop Looking For Deals and Instead Look For Expertise

Do not be averageIn the past week, I’ve been asked to present two sessions at one conference for free, do a breakout session on the west coast for half of my normal fee and fly to the Midwest to do a two day training program for next to nothing. Honestly people, I’d love to work for free, if only my bank would waive my mortgage payment this month as a way of paying it forward. Alas, that’s not going to happen.

I certainly understand that people have budget constraints, but as my mentor Alan Weiss always says, money is about priorities. I’m interested in working with companies that are seeking quality and not just a deal. The quality of my work is guaranteed, which means you have little to lose when hiring me. So the next time you are seeking a partner to work with (notice how I didn’t say vendor), think about the value he or she will be providing you and then decide if their fees are reasonable for the return you will be getting. It is really true in life. You do get what you pay for.

Posted in Musings

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Business Lessons Learned From the Shores of Cape Cod

I feel so fortunate to be able to spend my summers on Cape Cod. It’s truly a magical place filled with gifts from Mother Nature, including business lessons. Here are some of my takeaways after spending a misty morning clamming.

The early bird gets the clams. As I walked out into the flats with my clamming rake in hand, I could see a sea of clam shells left by the birds who happened to get out before I did. The lesson I took away from this is that sometimes it’s not the most skilled who get the lion’s share of the profits, but those who get there before everyone else. Keep this in mind the next time you delay a product launch another day in your quest for perfection.

Sometimes you have to go with the tides. Sure, it would have been great to sleep in another hour. After all, how far were those clams really going to go in an hour? That might be true, but I’d have to work twice as hard if I were raking in water up to my waist. Instead, I checked the tide charts and got out there during low tide. The result was a bountiful of clams in my basket. A lot of times in business I see people who are always going against the tide. They look exhausted. What if instead you decide to go with the tide? I can tell you from my own experience that it’s a lot easier to work with what you’ve got than to constantly be working  against nature.

Persistence pays. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of clamming then you know that it often takes more than five minutes to score your first clam. I’ve seen many people depart the flats soon after they arrive for this very same reason. Me? Well I’ve learned that there is a direct correlation in regards to the amount of time I devote to this task and my final haul. The same is true in business. If you give up after making one call to a prospect then you can pretty much guarantee that you will return to your office empty handed. When it comes to business, stay the course. I promise you it will pay off.

Take time to enjoy the view. What I love most about Cape Cod are the views. Everywhere I turn there seems to be a water view. That’s all fine and good, but if I don’t remind myself to stop and enjoy the view, I may actually miss what I come here for. Those of you who have risen to the top of your organization have a great view. Take time to enjoy it. And for those of you who are on your way up to the top, make sure you get out of your office every now and again so that you can enjoy all that is around you.

Did you know that I’m also a keynote speaker and that I work with organizations that are looking to maximize talent? Contact me at Sign up for a complimentary subscription to my monthly newsletter, The Talent Maximizer®

Posted in General Observations, Musings

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Happy Independence Day: The Perfect Day to Free Yourself From Your Job

Happy Independence day from beautiful Cape Cod! I’m able to enjoy the 4th, 5th and 6th of July from the beach because I have freed myself from a situation that was no longer working for me. I chose freedom over security. What about you? Why are you still hanging onto a job that no longer gives you freedom or pleasure?

Many of you may not know that I have coaching clients who hire me using their own funds. They do this for a number of reasons including the fact that their organization does not support their growth. As a result, they’ve decided to take back control of their life, which is actually a good thing. Here’s why.

When someone hires me and pays for my services, they are my buyer as opposed to a client whose firm is paying the bill. This means I can provide them with an unfiltered view as to what is going on in their organization and make recommendations which may include telling them the time has come for them to leave their job. We then work together to develop an exit strategy that will enable them to regain their freedom. Here are some signs that I often see that tells me it’s time for people to let go.

The company is cutting resources rather than investing in growth. You cannot cut your way to growth, although many companies still have not learned this lesson. These companies generally go out of business or are acquired as a result of a fire sale. As a result, those who have been hanging on by their fingertips quickly find themselves discarded. You have much more negotiation power when you are employed than when you are unemployed. Keep this in mind the next time you receive a memo from the CEO saying that the free coffee you’ve grown accustomed to drinking is no longer free. That’s a big sign that something big is brewing and most likely that thing isn’t good.

You hate getting up for work every morning. Your body is able, yet your mind is not willing to go back to work after the weekend and face yet another day with people you loathe. Yet here you sit. You need to find work that enables you to find joy in your life again. This may mean changing departments or leaving the company or even the industry. What you don’t get to do is stay and make everyone in your family unhappy because you are so miserable.

You’ve become a whiner. Yes, you are that guy or gal you swore you’ve never become. People ask you how your job is going and you go into full whiner mode. So much so, that you don’t even realize that the person who asked walked away mid-conversation. No one likes a whiner. Don’t be this guy or gal.

Your dream has turned into a nightmare. You took this job because it was your dream job. Only it turned out to be a nightmare. You’ve been hanging on because you think things will get better. It’s been 10 years and nothing has changed. It’s time to wake up and depart.

I know change is hard for people. That’s why they hire a coach like me. I’m right by their side guiding them, as they move towards their independence. Sometimes that means helping them exit and finding another job and other times it means helping them achieve their dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

On this day of giving thanks for our freedom, I’d like to suggest that unlike our forefathers, no one is shooting at you. Make today the day you declare your independence and live the life that others have fought for us to have. And if I can help you live your dream, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Happy 4th!

Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to my monthly newsletter The Talent Maximizer, which is jammed packed with tips on how to maximize personal and corporate growth.

Posted in Careers, Coaching, Job Searching

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The Bottom Line On Why You Can’t Fill Jobs

Musical chairsAs I travel around the country, here’s what I hear from employers:

• We can’t find talent.

• We can’t keep talent.

• We can’t keep talent engaged.

Here’s what I hear from those who are seeking employment:

• I can’t get past the Applicant Tracking Systems.

• I apply for jobs and never hear back.

• I’m perfectly qualified. I suspect my age is the problem.

From my perspective, there certainly is a disconnect. Here are the facts. Unemployment in the U.S. is 4.7%, which is down from last month’s figure of 5.0% and the new Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report for April has just been released. There are now over 5.7 million job openings, which equals last July’s peak on records going back to 2001. This problem isn’t going away anytime soon.

Here’s why you can’t fill jobs and what you can do to change this.

You don’t know where you are going. I always tell my clients that we first have to establish where we are going before we can figure out how to get there. I use the example of someone in Detroit who is planning a trip. Is the goal to visit Canada, which is a stone’s throw away or is it to go to South America? Canada is an easy jaunt, that doesn’t even require packing a lunch. South America is quite a different story.

Decide where you are going in terms of your talent strategy, before mapping out your entire plan to get there. By doing so, you’ll be able to find a direct route that will get you to your destination in a timely and cost efficient manner.

You’re too tentative. Have you ever been in a situation where someone really wanted you, more than anyone else? They may have wanted you for a particular role in their company or you may have been their first choice to take to the prom. In both cases, you were most likely pursued.

Hiring managers need to pursue talent the same way they would go after a ticket to a sold out Bruce Springsteen show–with gusto! Do whatever is required to get the attention of the person you’ve identified as “the one” for your team. Don’t stop until you get a yes!

You’re focusing on the wrong things. I get how you want your applicant tracking system to completely integrate with your Human Resource Information System and you are investing heavily to make this so. However, given today’s unemployment and JOLT numbers, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Processes are not going to get your job filled. To do so, you need people who know how to attract and retain talent. This requires transforming your hiring managers into talent magnets. Doing so, will help you dramatically reduce the time it’s taking you to fill your current job openings.

Your applicant experience is dreadful. We always tell job candidates they only have one chance to make a great impression. Well, the same holds true for employers. I hear tons of horror stories from candidates regarding their experience with a company’s interviewing process. Many are relieved when they never hear back from the employer, as they can only imagine how awful it might be to work in this type of environment day in and day out.

Treat your applicants as well as you treat your customers and you’ll be golden.

Your hiring managers don’t know how to hire. Where is it written that upon promotion to management, you automatically acquire the assessing candidates gene that seems to be missing from many hiring managers? Most hiring managers have no idea how to hire. I can say this as I’ve taught thousands of hiring managers how to select for success. One such hiring manager comes to mind. She said the following to me after attending a course I facilitated on Selecting for Success. “I’ve been interviewing for years and now I finally know why I’ve been asking these questions!”

Now that I’ve exposed the real truth about hiring managers, it’s up to you to help these people dramatically improve their ability to select new hires. Believe me when I tell you that most will be eternally grateful that you are finally giving them support.

Stop eliminating candidates based on salary. Many companies toss out anyone who is asking for more money than we are willing to pay. This usually results in a huge chunk of the talent pool–those over the age of 40–being tossed out as well.

Take a few moments to have a conversation with a candidate before discarding them because of money. By doing so, you may find that many candidates are more flexible on salary than you had originally thought.


Posted in Hiring and Recruitment

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Will Obama’s New Overtime Rules Put the “Nap Culture” to Rest?

For the past several years, companies have been trying to outdo one another with an array of perks that remind younger workers of their youth. Walk into any newly designed office these days and you’ll see the mandatory ping-pong table as well as the dedicated space where workers are encouraged to take naps. Is this dream work environment about to become a nightmare for employers who soon must comply with Obama’s new overtime pay plan? I predict it will. Here’s why.

The Overtime Rule

The final rule becomes effective on December 1, 2016 and will requires time-and-a-half overtime pay for most salaried employees making less than $47,476 a year. This is double the current $23,660 ceiling. The Department of Labor estimates this will extend protections to 4.2 million workers across the country.

So let me ask you something. How many shareholders do you think are going to take this new rule laying down? I’m betting not many. It’s one thing for investors to sit by idly while workers, who nap during the day, work through the night. It’s another when these same workers will be entitled to overtime pay for doing so. It’s certainly a sweet deal for today’s youth and not such a great deal for the people who will be funding these naps.

Wake-Up Call

I’ve been saying for a long time that companies are wasting billions of dollars on perks that don’t work. The employees that you really want to hire are the bright ones who see right through this madness. These are the people who are interested in coming to work, doing a great job, working for companies with a strong purpose and experiencing what it’s like to work for a great boss.

Here’s what doesn’t interest them. Working crazy hours. They want balance in their life. This means being able to leave the office at a reasonable hour and having a life outside of work. They’d rather sleep at home than on the job!

Now I do find it somewhat ironic that young people need naps, as I always thought naps were for older people. But I digress. Let this be your wake-up call. You are going to have to quickly figure out how to attract and retain workers without the smoke and mirrors that have been all the rage. Otherwise your bonuses will soon be going to fund naps and playtime.

Shifting The Culture

As a way of avoiding the tedious task of tracking hours, many companies will be bringing their employees up to the new minimum. The time to put these crazy perks to bed is when you decide to make this shift. Employees will be thrilled with their new-found wealth and will gladly give up something they never really valued. You can then take the extra time employees will be gaining, since they will no longer be playing ping-pong or napping, and give them something most are seeking. An opportunity to invest time in their own personal development so they can continue to grow in their careers.

Posted in Employee Engagement, Leadership, Learning and Development, Millennials, Productivity, Talent Maximization

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How to Grab Your Slice of the Millennial Talent Pie

The class of 2016 has just graduated and is now available for hire. Let the games begin. Companies are trying to outdo one another with crazy perks like kegs in the office and catered meals fit for a king. Don’t even get me started on the slides that are a common feature in newly renovated office spaces. I’m all for having fun at work, but whatever happened to having fun after work?

This whole concept of providing perks isn’t really all that new. The only difference in the past and today is that these perks are on steroids. In my day, we had beer busts and ice cream socials. Companies offered dry cleaning and oil changes on-site and on occasion, pizza was brought in for the troops. We thought these extra benefits were kind of cool. That was until we realized that there was no such thing as a free lunch. We were expected to work long hours (without additional pay) and be available to work weekends without much notice. As we matured, we realized that we wanted something our employers weren’t giving us. We wanted control of our lives.

Today’s young workers are the product of my generation and I’d like to think we’ve taught our children well. We are challenging our kids to think about what they really want out of life. Based on today’s headlines, you might be surprised that for most, it’s not an extension of the playground they grew up on. They want a full life. With that in mind, here’s how to land your slice of the millennial talent pie.

Purpose, not pizza. Imagine going to work every day and the only thing you are looking forward to is the free pizza that will be delivered to the breakroom? For many, this is their truth. They’ve bought into the allure of working for a cool startup that feeds their stomach, when in fact they would have been more fulfilled had they taken a position with an organization that fed their soul.

When recruiting focus on purpose. By that I mean, why the world is a better place because of the product or service your company offers. Sure, everyone isn’t going to connect with your purpose. That’s actually the good news, because these people wouldn’t have worked out anyways.

Call those who rejected you. Reach out to everyone who turned down an offer from you within the last several years. Why? Because for many, enough time has gone by and they are now wondering why the heck they chose the job they’re in. A call from you would be very welcoming.

If they say they are happy where they are, then ask them the following questions. “Who do you know that might welcome a call from me?” No doubt they’ll have a list of friends who are questioning why they are still with their employers. It’s certainly worth a shot.

Stay connected. When I was starting out in my career, recruiters would hang out at Happy Hours, where the young people would congregate. Today’s Happy Hour is taking place 24/7 and is online. You need to be hanging out on sites such as Instagram and Facebook. There you can post pictures from your workplace and engage in conversations with those you are seeking to hire. Looking for a more mature millennial? Then move the conversation over to LinkedIn.

Be authentic. Millennials value authenticity. It’s okay not to be the coolest company on the block, as there are plenty of young people who think cool is overrated. Be yourself and you’ll find that the people who are attracted to you are the ones you are most enthralled with.

As you look to hire millennials, keep in mind that those from the Class of 2016 are not your only option. There are a lot of talented people out there from other classes, that are willing and able to do the jobs you are seeking to fill.

Sign up to receive my complimentary newsletter, The TalentMaximizer®, which is jammed packed with tips on how to attract top talent that will stick around.

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

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Should You Work With an Internal or External Coach?

Leaders often ask me if there are times when they should be working with an internal coach versus an external coach. My answer is, it depends. Ultimately, what are they hoping to achieve as a result of their work with this person. As you look to engage the help of a coach to boost your own performance as a leader, consider the following:

Are you looking to smooth out a little wrinkle or are you in need of more intensive help? An inside coach, who usually resides in HR, can be a great resource when you are looking to make slight modifications in your leadership style. Most are easily accessible and are more than willing to spend a few minutes with you. However, if you are in need of more intensive support, then you will want to find an external coach who can dedicate the necessary time needed to help you make a major shift in how you present yourself as a leader.

Confidentiality. How likely are you to openly share your fears, challenges you may be experiencing and what’s really on your mind, with an internal resource? HR people are trained to keep confidence. However, they are human and that doesn’t mean that what you tell them won’t be taken into consideration when discussions are taking place on topics such as promotions and succession planning. An external coach may be the way to go if you have any concerns that what you tell someone internally may come back to haunt you.

Access. It may seem easier to access an internal coach than an external coach, as the internal coach is right down the hall. However, most likely this person has other responsibilities other than coaching, so he or she may not be all the accessible to you. And they most certainly won’t make themselves available after the office is officially closed. When I coach people, I offer them unlimited access to me via phone, email or Skype. I do my best to get back to them within 90 minutes. If your internal resource can offer you the same kind of access, then you certainly may want to consider this when selecting a coach.

Experience. Are you looking for a coach who has been in your situation or are you merely seeking a sounding board? Keep in mind that it’s one thing to take advice about jumping out of a plane from someone who attended a class on parachuting. It’s another to take that leap with someone who has made many jumps him or herself. Many internal coaches have received formal training from coaching programs. However, this does not mean they’ve ever been in the C-suite nor have they held a job that is similar to yours. The advantage of using an external coach, is that you can search for someone who has the exact experience you are looking for, as there are a number of great coaches to choose from.

As the business environment becomes more complex, there will be more demand for coaches. If your company is a strong proponent of internal coaches and you are not comfortable with this idea or if there aren’t enough internal people to go around, consider hiring your own coach. The investment you make in your future will most certainly pay off.


Posted in Coaching

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The Dirty Truth About Training

Companies often dispense training as if it were a magic pill for whatever is ailing the organization. Send problem employees to a few classes and everything will be fine in the morning. If only this were true.

Here are some common reasons why training fails:

One bad apple

Think back to your days in elementary school. Remember when the teacher would scold the whole class because of one disruptive child? If that weren’t bad enough, she would then cancel recess.

The business world operates the same way. For example, rather than providing one-on-one coaching to a manager who lacks interpersonal skills, all leaders are forced to sit through a course that they probably could teach. So, why are we surprised when the behavior of the problem employee doesn’t change?

Training is not the right response for every problem in the organization. Sometimes you have to dig deeper and hit the problem head on.

Wrong format

We now have four generations in the workforce. Each generation approaches learning in a different way. While it might be easier for your director of training to deliver workshops over the Internet, this approach may not meet the needs of the very generation you are trying to reach.

Examine the population you are trying to train and adjust your approach to meet their needs, not yours.

Pushing rather than pulling

For training to be effective, workers must be the ones who are asking for it. If you push training on employees, they will resist.

Give employees choices and let them select training programs that will allow them to accelerate their growth. Of course, be prepared to help guide them through the selection process.

Failure to link training with day-to-day business

Most training is useless, unless you link it back to the task at hand or the organization’s strategic goals and everyday business. Follow up training with on-the-job coaching and support from management.

Most training is useless, unless you link it back to the task at hand or the organization’s strategic goals and everyday business. Follow up training with on-the-job coaching and support from management.

Lack of leadership commitment

We recently presented a workshop on Effectively Managing an Intergenerational Workforce. During the presentation, one of the participants kept shaking his head. We were concerned that his head would fall off and start rolling down the aisle. So we asked him why he was shaking his head so much. He chuckled and asked, “Why isn’t my boss here?”

This question must get asked at almost every training session. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have responded, “Because she attended a similar session this morning”? Workers are smart enough to know that if their bosses aren’t fully invested in the training then nothing will change.

If you are going to introduce a training program to your organization, make sure you have the support of senior management. Without it, you are wasting your time, not to mention the time of the participants attending training.

Before you start calling around to find a trainer for your organization, take a step back. Ask yourself the following:

  • Have I figured out the root of the problem or is what I am seeing only a symptom?
  • How will I know if the training worked? How will I measure the results?
  • Are the people I am sending to training capable or desirous of change?
  • Are we providing different ways of delivering the information to meet the needs of each generation of employees?
  • Is this training something employees really want or something I think they need?
  • What is the goal of the training and how will I link it back to the organization’s strategic mission and goals?
  • Is management fully committed to this initiative?

If you have gone through the process of thinking through all of these questions and you proceed, don’t be surprised if this time around you actually see results!

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Posted in Leadership, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Training

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