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

The One Question You Need to Ask Yourself

I have a secret that I’ve never shared before.

Years ago, I was at the height of my career (so I thought).  I was heading up the HR function for a fast-growing overnight delivery business, where I was able to make a massive difference in a short period of time. On the outside, everything looked awesome—Great job, surrounded by terrific co-workers. On the personal side of things, I had a solid group of friends and was a proud homeowner.

Inside, I was miserable. I no longer was having fun at work, even though I was supposed to be. I seriously considered throwing in the towel and finding myself a new career. Of course, I had no idea what a new job might look like, so I hung on as long as I could.

Eventually, I engaged an executive coach who worked with me to identify what gave me joy in my life and what sucked the energy out of me. My coach helped me garner the courage to make a bold move. I quit my job and started my consulting practice.

That was twenty-two years ago. I’d be lying if I said every day of this journey has been fun. It hasn’t. However, I’ve had considerably more fun days than miserable moments, so I think I’m doing pretty darn well on the happiness scale.

What about you?

Are you happy at work?

I mean, are you having fun?

Or are you marking time with the hope that a headhunter will swoop you up and take you out of your misery?

I’m here to tell you that hope is not a strategy.

  • Find a mentor who can help you sort through the fact and fiction you keep telling yourself at work.
  • Seek guidance from a colleague at one of the professional organizations.
  • Or do what I did. Engage a coach to help you gain the clarity you need, to get yourself out of the fog.

Here’s to finding a clear path to a joyful next chapter!

© 2019, Matuson Consulting.

Looking for a coach or a mentor? Let’s talk! If we’re not the right fit for one another, I’ll refer you to someone who may be right for you. E-mail me at Engage my services by June 30th, 2019 and receive an additional month of coaching or mentoring for free. (That’s over a $1,000 value.)

Posted in Coaching, General Observations
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Who Pays for the Coach Matters…A Lot

Executive Coaching

When a coach is hired by a company to coach one of their people, ultimately the client is the company. When an individual hires a coach and pays this person directly, the individual is the client.

Here’s why this matters.

If your boss is paying the bill, a coach may be limited in terms of what kind of advice they can offer you. For example, suppose the person in need of shifting their behavior is your boss and not you. Or it’s clear the only way to improve your situation is to leave your employer. In all likelihood, your coach isn’t going to be able to say to you, “Get the heck out of this company!” Instead, they’ll help you make the best of a not-so-great situation. When you’re paying the coach, they have your best interest in mind at all times. They’ll tell you what you need to hear and without concern that they may never work in your company again. Something to consider when engaging a coach.

Special Offer: For the month of June, I’m offering anyone who signs up for my Mentoring/Coaching program an additional month at no cost. That’s a $1,000 value.

Details about my private mentoring program can be found here:

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Wahoo! My Birthday Gift to You!

Here’s to a sparkling new you!

It’s my birthday this week, so I get to set the rules. Here’s what I’m doing. I’m offering gifts, rather than accepting them.

I’m giving away an additional month of mentoring for those who sign up for my mentoring program (over a $1,000 value) in the month of June.

The mentoring program is right for you if you’re looking to catapult your career. We’ll work through issues that are top of mind for you. Maybe you’re having some challenges with your boss or you’re not sure if it’s time to move on from your current position. Perhaps you are interested in being promoted and you want to become the obvious choice.

Here’s the really neat part. During our time together, you’ll have UNRESTRICTED access to me!

To learn more about this opportunity, visit: Feel free to share this with those in your network.

Here’s to another joyous year of life for me and for you!

Posted in Career, Coaching, Mentoring
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The ‘Jeopardy!’ James Approach to Talent Domination

Talent domination the Jeopardy! way.

I’ll admit it. My husband and I are hooked on Jeopardy! We weren’t loyal fans of the show until James Holzhauer took control of the buzzer. As of this writing, James is winning hand over fist over his competitors and has earned $2,382,583!

Here’s how to use his winning strategy to create talent domination for your organization.

Be fearless. Most Jeopardy players begin at the top of the board, where the more straightforward questions are located and work their way down. They do this to get some easy wins under their belt. Not James. He starts at the bottom of the board, so he can accumulate the wealth needed to make significant bets when he hits a daily double. He also does this to unnerve his opponents.

Stop looking for talent in all the easy places. These areas are overfished. Instead, go for the more challenging hires. This may mean convincing someone who is currently employed to consider your offer or hiring someone who everyone else appears to want. By the time others realize that you are capturing the lion’s share of talent, you’ll be well on your way to grabbing even more. No one else will be able to catch you.

Be relentless. Every now and again, James answers a question incorrectly. When this happens, he doesn’t stop to lick his wounds. He keeps charging ahead to the next question.

You’re not going to get everyone you attempt to hire. Realize this and move on. Keep your foot on the hiring accelerator and don’t take your foot off until you’re fully staffed, regardless of what happens along the way.

Play offensively. James doesn’t have to play defense, as his offense is so fine-tuned, others can’t keep up.

Create a talent strategy that will place you in a position of dominance. Double down in your efforts when you need to, and don’t let a few dollars get in your way when you’ve got the right candidate on the line.

Cause some buzz. Everyone is talking about James. Is anyone talking about you? I didn’t think so. You’ve got to change this, and you’ve got to do this now.

Listen, it’s a heck of a lot easier to hire people when they come to you, as opposed to you having to go to them. Just look at Google. They have a ton of candidates wanting to work there.

You may be a cool company as well, but if no one knows you exist then so what? You have to build a strong employment brand. One that demonstrates why you’re the company people should be lining up to work for. I’ve taught thousands of others through my LinkedIn course called, Employer Branding to Attract Talent on how to do this. It’s not difficult to create an employer brand. However, you have to be willing to put in the effort and commit to the process.

Go all in. I love it when James hits a daily double, and when asked how much he’d like to bet, he cups his hands and pushes them forward while saying, “all in.” This guy knows that to win big, he has to bet big. He’s confident that he’ll come up with the right answer, which he does!

So, let me ask you. Are you all in with your recruitment efforts or are you merely dipping a toe or two into the water and pretending you’re in it to win it? Write to me and tell me where you think you are with this, and I’ll give you some suggestions on how to go all in.

Educate yourself. When James was asked how he prepared himself for ‘Jeopardy!’ he said he spent time in the children’s section of the library reading children’s books. These books were easier to digest than books in the adult section.

How educated are you in terms of what’s going on in the employment market? Perhaps your only knowledge is what it was like when you looked for a job, back in the day. The labor market has changed dramatically within the past year. If your talent strategy hasn’t changed to adapt to these new circumstances, then you may as well hang up your buzzer and go home.

Stay in control. James is in complete control of the game. You have to feel sorry for his competitors, who don’t stand a chance.

That’s the kind of situation you want to create in terms of talent domination (without the feeling sorry for your competitor’s part.) You can totally dominate your industry in terms of talent. To do this, you have to take control.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get this done!

©Matuson Consulting, 2019.

Final Jeopardy Question: How would you rate your company from 1-10 (with 10 being high) in terms of talent domination? Send me your answer and I’ll set aside 30 minutes to discuss steps you can take to rule your talent market!


Posted in Talent Acquisition and Retention
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Steer Clear of These Delusional Hiring Practices

I don’t know about you, but I’m growing tired of hearing leaders complain that they can’t fill jobs. When asked, they can come up with a dozen reasons why this is so. Are you guilty of this as well?

Imagine a VP of sales telling her CEO that she is unable to bring in deals. Do you think she’d be told, “That’s OK; everyone else is having a tough time selling.” No, of course not!

Yet, CEOs keep giving their teams a pass when it comes to unfilled jobs. And to make matters worse, they are looking the other way when a particular executive has a higher turnover than most.

Too many organizations are delusional when it comes to their hiring practices. They have a system in place and continue to use it, regardless of the dismal results. This is nuts!

Here are some of the more common delusional hiring practices that I see.

If you build it, they will come. Let’s say you’ve created this great company. You pay people a fair wage, and you’ve got the standard cool perks that have become commonplace these days. Your feeling is that people would be crazy not to work for your firm.

You post your jobs online, and what happens next? Nothing — absolutely nothing. OK, I’m exaggerating here. You get a few resumes from people who are responding to every post they see.

You tell a friend about your situation, and he assures you the same thing is happening to him. You both blame the low rate of unemployment in your area because let’s admit it; it’s easier to place blame than it is to find the cause.

Offering additional crazy perks.

Have you noticed that perks are getting even more insane as the labor market tightens? I’m here to tell you that all the free beer in the world won’t make employees delusional enough to stay and work for a crappy manager. Don’t believe me?

Have a third party reach out to employees who have recently left your firm and ask them why they choose to leave. (Do this even if they’ve gone through exit interviews, as it’s my experience that people are less than truthful on their way out the door.) Listen carefully to the feedback you receive and be prepared to take action.

Relying on HR to fill jobs.

By now, you’d think most companies would have figured out that if HR could fill these jobs, they would have done so already. They can’t.

You need to turn your entire team into a hiring machine. I know this works because I’ve done this with other organizations. Do this today.

We’re already spending a ton of money on recruiting and can’t afford to spend more.

I’m not suggesting you pay more money. What I am recommending is that you blow up your current approach and invest your resources more wisely.

We’re doing the best we can with the limited resources we have.

Here’s the thing. There are lots of things you can do to improve your hiring practices that don’t require additional capital. The first step is to be open to change.

We need buy-in from everyone before hiring.

Every step you add to the hiring process will slow things down. In today’s tight labor market, speed trumps perfection time and time again.

Look at your hiring process with an eye towards dramatically reducing the time it takes to make a job offer. Begin by making a list of everyone currently involved in the hiring process. Draw a line through the middle of this list. The people under the line should be immediately relieved of their hiring responsibilities.

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


Posted in Employee Engagement, Leadership, Learning and Development, Management
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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 a screenshot of your purchase, and you’ll receive a complimentary spot. 

To your growth!



Posted in Business Growth, Talent Acquisition and Retention
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