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

Circle of Life

I had an egg cream today, in honor of my dad Sy Chinsky, who recently passed away at the age of 90. It was his favorite drink. He often told the story about how he’d save his pennies, and when he had enough money, he’d go down to the corner drugstore and treat himself to an egg cream. At the time, the cost for this drink was about a nickel.

As I sipped on the egg cream, I thought of him and what a pioneer he was. Writer, producer, Academy Award nominee, and former neighbor, Mark Fergus, of Iron Man fame, captured the true essence of my dad. Here’s what he wrote.

We are sending you love from the whole Fergus clan. I can’t imagine what growing up in Congers would have been like without the Chinsky house next door (Sy had the first VCR we had ever seen, the first Apple Computer, the first Hot Pockets!!) Your Dad will always be larger than life to us, a warm and welcoming presence, without fail, and an inspiration of big ideas.

My dad was years ahead of his time. Because of his foresight, we had the first color television, when the only programming that aired in color was the opening to The Wonderful World of Disney, as well as the first microwave on the block. Neighbors would come from near and far to watch a potato bake in our Amana Radarange microwave, in under eight minutes. Neighborhood kids would line up to experience three-minute hotdogs and the Hot Pockets that Mark referred to.

His efforts to pioneer didn’t stop there. He had a video camera, years before his contemporaries, and a Betamax video recorder that soon became defunct. He insisted on buying all of us kids a videophone (8X8) that none of us wanted so that he could speak to and see his children and grandchildren from afar. Then, of course there was the introduction to the first Apple computer. Regrettably, he didn’t purchase Apple stock!

He was the kind of guy that companies talk about wanting in their organizations but few dare to hire.

In memory of my dad, here’s what I’m requesting of you. The next time you come across a candidate, who is a bit out of the norm, give this individual a second look. Who knows, this person may wind up catapulting you into a future, you never imagined was possible!

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It Takes a Village to Raise a Leader

Executive Coaching for Leaders

What if you could learn from the world’s number one executive coach? Would you take it? I know I would, which is why I traveled to NJ last week.

Marshall Goldsmith, the #1 leadership coach and author of the bestseller, What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There, unfortunately, is no longer accepting coaching clients. However, he’s sharing his coaching process (which has a 95% success rate) with experts like me, so that we can use the same method he’s used so successfully, to help managers transform themselves into exceptional leaders.

Here are some highlights of what I learned in last week’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching session.

Perception is everything. Surveys consistently show that leaders think more highly of themselves than those who work with them. In other words, you may think you’re a great leader or at least a pretty good one, but none of this matters if your stakeholders (people who work with you and for you) don’t see it this way. The way to change how others view you as a leader is to ask stakeholders for help concerning accountability. This can be an uncomfortable process for some. However, those who embrace this idea find the rewards far outweigh the discomfort.

What I love most about the Stakeholder Centered Coaching approach is that the leader gets to choose his or her stakeholders. This helps to rapidly build transparency and trust among the people the leader works with.

Focus on one or two behavior changes. I’m often called upon to work with leaders whose behaviors are holding them back. I’m honored to help, but only if we agree that we will move one or two things forward a mile, rather than ten things forward an inch.

For me, it’s all about outcomes. After all, what’s the point of doing something, if we can’t see measurable results?

I start by soliciting input from the leader’s boss, peers, and team members to learn more about a person’s strengths and behaviors that are holding them back. This information gathering is commonly called a 360. Next, the leader and I discuss which area to focus on and will proceed, once we get the okay from this person’s manager. This approach allows us to be laser-focused on results. If we get there faster than anticipated, we may decide to work on another behavior.

You can’t change the past, but you can change the future. Look, we’ve all done or said things we wished we could take back. The beauty of the Stakeholder Centered Coaching process is that the focus is on “Feedforward” rather than feedback, which if you think about it, makes a lot of sense since we can’t change the past.FeedForward focuses on what leaders can do better in the future, rather than where they have failed in the past. For this to occur, stakeholders must agree to let go of the past. They’re more apt to do so when a leader apologizes for missteps and asks individuals to be part of the process, as they work towards making positive changes.

Anyone can change behavior. However, the real question is can you sustain these changes? Think of all the people you know, who’ve changed their eating habits for a while, lost weight, and now weigh more than when they started. This is because it takes more than a few months to develop a new habit.

At a minimum, six-months is needed and ideally, 12-months is the way to go. You may be thinking, “I can’t afford to take the time to do this!” If you’re a leader who isn’t reaching your full potential, you can’t afford not to do this.

Once you get going, this process requires significantly less time than most approaches to coaching, which is why I’m so excited to be able to introduce this idea to busy clients and prospects. I’m talking maybe 20 minutes a week.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this process isn’t for everyone. It’s for people who are:

  •    Courageous
  •    Committed to change
  •    Willing to be vulnerable
  •    Want measurable results
  •    Are willing to invest the time and effort required for the change to take hold
  •    Successful people, who are interested in getting better

If you’re interested in setting up a discovery call to see if this approach is right for you and your organization, reach out to me at and we’ll set aside time to speak.

For a limited time only (through January 31, 2019) I’m offering an additional month of coaching for those interested in Stakeholder Centered Coaching. Mention this post to take advantage of my offer.

© Matuson Consulting, 2018.

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How to Out Shop Amazon for Tech Talent

Family members and friends call me an expert in the art of shopping. When I need something, I define exactly what I’m looking for and go after it with laser focus. I’m relentless. I don’t stop until I bring home my prey, which is why you should follow my advice on how to out shop Amazon for tech talent, or any talent for that matter.

Here are some takeaways from Amazon’s HQ2 search that can help you beat the tech titan at its own game.

Hang onto your talent. Some of you may be wondering what hanging onto your talent has to do with shopping for new talent. Think about it. If you focus on keeping the talent you have, then you won’t be thrust into this crazy hiring environment that resembles the 6:00 a.m. retail dash on Black Friday. The simplest way to do this is to ask team members three questions.

1. What were your hopes and dreams when you took this job?

2. Are your dreams coming to fruition?

3. How can I help you achieve your hopes and dreams?

Then take action.

Make recruiting personal. Somewhere along the way, we’ve allowed technology to replace the human element of hiring. Hiring systems have been automated to the point where computers now decide whether or not candidates are an ideal fit for an organization. These systems are used to send candidates automated responses, for just about everything. It’s no wonder why so many positions are going unfilled! It’s time to make recruiting personal again. Here’s how:

  • Individualize every interaction. If you see someone who might be a good fit for your organization, call them. That’s right. Pick up the phone and call. I have clients, who are CEO’s of publicly traded companies, doing this and the results are stellar. Candidates are one hundred times more likely to take a call from a CEO of a company than someone in HR. Don’t believe me? Have your CEO give it a try.
  • Be compelling. Passive candidates (especially those in tech) are receiving a dozen calls a day from recruiters and headhunters. Think carefully about what you will say, prior to picking up the phone or sending an email. Make sure your message is compelling enough for them to agree to meet with you.
  • Build relationships. Recruiting is all about relationships. A candidate may not immediately agree to your offer of an interview. However, they may change their mind after their performance review. Stay in touch and offer value. This may include sending them an article of interest on a topic that you recently chatted about or seeing if they want to grab a coffee at next month’s industry association meeting.

Look for talent where no one else is looking. I call this my amusement park approach to hiring talent. If you’ve ever been to an amusement park, you may have observed what I have seen as visitors flow through the gates. The majority of people immediately turn to their right, and follow the crowds, where they encounter long lines for rides and food.

That’s why I suggest going to the left, both when visiting amusement parks and when hunting for talent. Amazon is looking to hire 50,000 workers. Even if they split their headquarters into two locations, as rumored, there are going to be a ton of want-to-be Amazon employees flocking to their company. The chances of a small unknown company winning the war for tech talent in Amazon territory is dismal. You will be better served looking for talent in markets where others aren’t looking. Think Silicon Prairie. There is a notable amount of top talent in the Midwest. Thanks to technology, workers no longer need to be housed in your home office. They can pretty much live anywhere and commute to your headquarters when necessary.

Get help. I see the same companies posting “We’re hiring!” notices on LinkedIn on a daily basis. Let’s be honest here. If this approach was working, they wouldn’t be advertising to fill the same jobs day in and day out. I get that companies are desperate. However, desperation will not fill your pipeline. If you found yourself in a sales slump, you’d get outside help, right? You’d bring in people to help you pinpoint exactly what’s needed to get your sales back on track. It’s time to do the same with your quest for talent.

The time to do this is now. Here’s why. There’s a gold rush for certain kinds of tech talent. You could get lucky and stumble across a few nuggets of talent. But in all likelihood, you’ll be panning for candidates and coming up empty. It’s projected that the need for tech talent will outstrip supply. According to research firm International Data Corp, an estimated 30% of global IT jobs will be left open by 2022. The year 2022 isn’t as far away as it sounds. There’s no overnight solution here. Creating a talent pipeline takes time and focus.

Get started today, to ensure your shopping cart is full when your organization is hungering for talent.

©Matuson Consulting, 2018.

Special Opportunity:

Ready to take action? I’m offering the first five executives who ask, a complimentary 45-minute executive session (virtually or in person) on How to Create a Solar System of Talent (a $2,500 value). We’ll discuss specifically what your organization can do to pull in talent. Email me at and we’ll get a date on the calendar. No strings attached here. Consider this my holiday gift!

Posted in Current Affairs, Hiring and Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and Retention
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The Best Gifts Don’t Come in Boxes

It’s starting already. The holiday catalogs are filling my mailbox. I’m not biting. Here’s why.

I’ve got enough stuff. What I don’t have are enough experiences. I bet many of your relatives (especially those of you with adult children who are underemployed) would rather receive a check to help them return to school or use that money to hire a career coach.

Think about this before buying into the notion that a gift has to be wrapped in a nice fancy box for it to make an impact.

I’ve got a few spots in my job search mentoring program, which aren’t going to be available much longer. Reach out to me to learn more about my offering. And if you ask nicely, I’ll send you a gift certificate for my services, that you can gift wrap.

#coaching, #mentoring, #careersuccess

Posted in Career, Careers, Coaching, Job Searching, Mentoring

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Why You Shouldn’t Hang Onto All of Your Talent

Employee Retention-Not all it’s Cracked Up to be. Photo Courtesy of Ernest Billo-Unsplash

We’ve become so obsessed with hanging onto talent at all cost that we forget that there is a price to pay when no one leaves. If no one ever departs, then you are breathing your own exhaust. Attrition can be healthy for an organization. When you bring new people into the organization, you allow fresh air in. Fresh ideas begin to percolate, and workers are re-energized.

Think about this the next time you are tempted to convince an employee that leaving is not in their best interest—especially when you know deep down inside that you are telling them this because their departure is not in your best interest. Then do the right thing. Encourage them to consider all their options.

Posted in Employee Turnover, Hiring and Recruitment, Leadership, Management, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
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Should Exit Interviews be Shown the Door?

Exit Interviews-Too Little, Too Late?

A business owner recently asked me if I thought he should have an exit interview with an employee who just gave notice. Here’s my response: Are you REALLY open to making changes so that others don’t leave for the same reason. If you can’t answer yes, then don’t waste the employee’s time.

Here’s what I recommend doing instead. You should regularly be conducting “stay interviews.” This way you can work on making meaningful changes BEFORE employees decide to pursue other opportunities.

Here’s how this works. Meet individually with employees on a regular basis and ask these three questions:

1. What were your hopes and dreams when you took this job?

2. Are you achieving these hopes and dreams?

3. If not, what can we do better to ensure you do?

What’s your experience with exit interviews? Do you think they are a good idea? Tell us why it’s a good idea or not in the comments section.

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Deciding Who to Promote

Deciding who to promote isn’t as simple as it may seem.

One of my advisory clients recently asked for my advice on who to promote into a newly vacated position. You might be surprised by my answer.

I told him not to look at past performance. Instead, look at the skills needed to do this new job. Here’s why.

Let’s take the all-too-common situation of promoting your best sales person into a sales leadership role. What typically happens is that you lose three (or more) great people by doing this. First, you lose a great sales person, which means there is a good chance you’ll see a decline in your revenues. Next you lose the person or people who are now reporting to this person, who in most cases doesn’t have what it takes to be a great leader. And then, you lose the person who really should have gotten the job, but didn’t, as they’ll quit when they learn the position didn’t go to them.

List the skills needed to be successful in this job. If no one inside the firm has those skills, then look to the outside. The last thing you want to do is set someone up for failure, which is exactly what you’ll do if you insist on promoting people purely based on their past performance.


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Talent: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Talent Poaching

I was visiting a Fortune 500 company that was struggling to fill jobs and retain talent—A challenge many of you have. They have a record number of job openings, and employee turnover is on the rise. Growth plans have been put on hold, as they don’t have the workforce to extend their reach. Their executive team was tired of working day and night, with no end in sight, to resolve this situation.

During a session I was facilitating, an executive shared a story about the loss of a top executive on his team, who had just been poached. He said he never saw this coming. Others sat by as if this situation couldn’t possibly happen to them. That was until I pointed out how they could be next.

In their effort to help investors and customers learn more about their management team, someone in the company decided to include a link to each executive’s LinkedIn profile. On paper, that might have sounded like a great idea. In reality, that decision cost the company dearly.

A headhunter discovered a candidate she was interested in pursuing, clicked the link, and began a conversation with the executive, which eventually resulted in a job offer. Several weeks later, that executive was gone.

I don’t want something similar to happen to you.

That’s why I’m offering you a free copy of my new e-book, The Executive’s Guide to Creating a Solar System of Talent (a 15-minute read), which is jam-packed with approaches, untapped resources and useful guidelines on how to successfully assemble and create a team of superstars. I also delve into what you can do to create a force field around your company, which will prevent others from plucking out your talent.

Drop me a note at and put “E-book” in the subject line and I’ll be sure to send you a copy.

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Leadership, Management, Retention, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
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Why Relying on Job Postings to Fill Jobs May Not be Such a Good Thing

Are you wasting tens of thousands of dollars every year posting positions to job boards? Recent research shows a mere 3% of new hires actually come in through job board sites. Why continue posting positions to job boards if you’re not getting any traction?

I tell you what you should be doing instead, in my new e-book, The Executive’s Guide to Creating a Solar System of Talent. For a limited time only, the book is free. Or if you prefer, you can send me the $395 you’re currently spending for each job posting. Email me at for a copy.

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Why Few People Are Responding to Your Job Postings

Are your job posts putting applicants to sleep?

I tell clients all the time to be concise and interesting when creating job postings. A recent LinkedIn article shows why this is the way to go.

“Less is more. Shorter job posts (1-300 words) had significantly higher-than-average apply rates per view (the number of applications the job post got divided by the number of views).

Keeping things concise helps candidates immediately get the info they need to apply—and since more than 50% of job views on LinkedIn are on mobile devices, shorter descriptions are literally a better fit for modern candidates.

These short posts got candidates to apply 8.4% more than average, while medium job posts (301-600 words) performed 3.4% below average and long job posts (601+ words) did only 1% better than average.”

Your assignment: Look at one of your more recent job postings. Is it compelling? Concise? Are you getting the results you are seeking?

Here’s a link to the full article.

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