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Roberta Matuson
Identify the best talent in the world.
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Roberta's Recent Publications

The Magnetic Leader

Employees don’t work for companies; they work for people. The more irresistible you are as a leader, the more pull you have for employees to want to stay and for your customers to remain loyal. Read Excerpt

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Roberta's Recent Publications

Talent Magnetism

Your company is only as good as the talent you keep. Learn the new rules for attracting top talent and getting them to stick around. Excerpt

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Roberta's Recent Publications

Suddenly in Charge

Honored by the Washington Post as a Top 5 Business Book for Leaders.

Learn how to manage up, down, and succeed all around... Excerpt

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Roberta's Recent Publications

Suddenly in Charge

Learn how to save your company millions by improving the quality of your hires, while improving productivity. Slash costly employee turnover.

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Resources

You Wanna Make Me Do What?

You've probably heard or even said those words at some point in your career. It's usually a sign that indicates a battle will soon begin. But what if you could find a way to diffuse or even prevent these types of situations before they occur? You can - if you know how to influence.

Some estimates suggest that in our lifetime we will influence 10,000 people! This number may sound like an exaggeration, but if you think about your daily conversations, you will see how quickly influencing situations add up. For example, it may be as simple as getting to pick the movie you will see at the cinema or it could be more complex, like getting an employee to do something he has seemed unwilling to do in the past.

If you're good at influencing, you are able to get what you want or need while increasing trust and decreasing defensiveness. You can also confront someone-about their work performance, behavior, or other important issue-without conflict. Here are some tips to get you started:

The Bank of Trust

Have you ever had someone who you didn't trust ask you to do something? What was your reaction? Did you do what they asked? Most likely, you dismissed their request. After all, why would you do something for someone whose motives you were questioning?

Whenever you think of trust, think of a bank account. Every time you do something to build trust, you make a deposit. The more deposits you make, the more trust you build. Every now and again you may have a slight breach of trust, perhaps due to a misunderstanding. We'll call this a withdrawal.

Each time we interact with someone, we are making either a deposit or a withdrawal. The more deposits we've made, the easier it will be for us to get what we want or need. Building your account takes time. However, these accounts will always pay dividends if you keep banking on this model.

Take Ownership

What's your reaction when you hear the words, "Corporate wants you to do this?" If you are like most people, your first reaction is, "Who the heck is Corporate and why are they telling me what to do?" As a leader, you may have received the initiative from corporate, but it is really you, the boss, who wants something done. You are the one that has the relationship with the employee. If you have made enough deposits in your trust account, then you should be well positioned to make the request.

Many people resist using the "I" message because they believe that requests will carry more weight if they come from someone else. This approach fosters a culture of compliance, rather than one of commitment. Instead, own the request. Begin your statement with "I." For example, "I would like you to…" After all, you are really the one that is making the request.

Why?

How many times have you been asked to do something and you are left wondering why? Imagine how much time would have been saved if the person making the request had included a brief statement as to why they were making this request. Consider these two statements: "John, I would like you to provide me with the completed accounts receivable report by Wednesday at noon." If you are John, you are probably wondering why the rush. You also may be thinking about the five other requests on your desk.

Now imagine how John might react if the request was made in the following way. "John, I would like you to provide me with the completed accounts receivable report by Wednesday at noon. The executive committee is meeting on Thursday morning to discuss how we can reduce the amount of time it is taking to collect our receivables. This deadline will provide us with enough time to make any necessary adjustments to the report." John now has all the information he needs to deliver the request. If he requires input regarding prioritizing his current workload, he will then be in a position to ask.

Specificity Rules

We often don't get what we ask for because we have not been specific enough in our requests. For example, managers expect their employees to meet certain milestones, although most don't specifically tell their employees exactly what this means. Nor do they provide them with specific examples regarding the desired outcomes they would like to see.

Here are some specificity rules to ensure everyone is on the same page:

  1. Before making a request, think about exactly what you want and be sure you are being specific in your request.
  2. Don't assume that the other person knows exactly what you want. Be prepared to offer examples, if necessary.
  3. Create a clear picture of the desired behavior you are seeking, rather than the undesirable.
h2>Putting it All Together

Once you've established trust, you can frame your request in a way that will influence others to do what you've asked for. Here's an example of an effective behavior request that we would use if we were trying to influence John:

"I need you to have the accounts receivable report on my desk by this Wednesday, at noon. By that I mean, the usual monthly report run as of April 30, 2009, along with the files for those accounts over 90- days past due and your recommendations for those that should be moved into collections. As a result, you will be seen as the expert in increasing cash flow for the company and I will be able to concentrate on getting the additional resources we need to support your initiative of bringing collections in-house."

You can see how trust, along with the proper use of language, provides answers to the subconscious questions that often prevent us from getting what we need.

  • Who really wants this?
  • Why do you want this?
  • What exactly do you mean?
  • What's in it for me?

The ability to influence is one of the most powerful skills you can master. The language you use can inspire people into action, which is exactly what you need to build a team and/or organization that is willing to go the distance for you.

Testimonials

"Roberta's guidance has dramatically increased my ability to pull in and retain the talent we need to take our organization to the next level. She's proven to be a trusted advisor and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to other CEOs who are looking to accelerate..."
Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO
Mass Leadership Technology Council

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"The coaching that Roberta Matuson provided for one of our retail store managers renewed the manager’s excitement in her work, provided her with increased skills in the selection of new employees and gave her the tools she needed to better manage her staff..."
Mary G. Rahal, VP, Human Resources and Administration
Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, Inc.

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"Roberta was able to clearly define our project objectives and the methodology that we needed to reach those objectives. Roberta helped us pinpoint the root cause of our problem by using in-depth probing techniques that gave her access to important data we did not have..."
Amy Waryas, Director, HR
The Boston Beer Company

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"Roberta worked with us to create a comprehensive onboarding program. With her guidance, knowledge, and expert HR advise we have successfully launched our company-wide training initiative. We now assimilate new hires into the company more effectively than ever..."
Ted Winston, Co-Owner
Winston Flowers

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"When it comes to management of people, Roberta sees through all the noise and gets right to the heart of the matter..."
Mark Spitzer, President
Photonic Glass Corporation

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"As we have grown, Roberta has provided continued support to help us work through complicated personnel issues while allowing us to focus on other areas of our business. Our employment practices truly support our business goals..."
Paul M. Zavracky, Ph.D., Former President and COO
MicroOptical Corporation

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"Roberta has saved us time and energy on situations we may have needlessly wrestled with. We consider her a partner and look for her guidance often. Roberta has provided a welcomed service to Six Red Marbles..."
Sarah Smith White, President
Six Red Marbles

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"Roberta was tenacious about keeping us focused on completing our project on schedule. The finished project was comprehensive, professional and passed the scrutiny of legal experts. I would definitely use Matuson Consulting again..."
John Blake, Former COO
Advanced Results Marketing

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"Roberta has been a tremendous mentor and coach to me over the past year. She has partnered with me on multiple professional development fronts, as well as helping me through some very challenging situations. I found Roberta to be wise counsel!"
– Allison DiSiena, VP of Recruiting, Marketing, Interactive and Creative Services Division, 24 Seven Inc.

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"Roberta Matuson was our answer. She met with us, developed a plan, walked us through the process to record our policies and procedures. She helped identify areas where policies were non-existent. She then developed and produced our employee handbook. We still use it today..."
Tim Slattery, CEO
CFSmail.com

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"Roberta presented an engaging and informative webinar on “Managing Up in a Top Down World” for Northeastern University’s alumni. This thought provoking session provided practical strategies for navigating office politics and building effective relationships for career advancement. Roberta’s extensive expertise and knowledge of workplace trends was apparent as she skillfully answered a wide range of questions from participants. Her well-organized presentation made it easy for the audience to commit to implementing her advice."
Michele Rapp, Associate Director
Northeastern University

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"Roberta’s ability to provide new leaders with insights on matters that few are willing to discuss is refreshing and will serve our members well. As a CEO, I'm especially impressed with her ability to quickly distill difficult situations and provide pragmatic advice that can be quickly and successfully implemented."
Aradhna Malhotra Oliphant, President and CEO
Leadership Pittsburgh Inc.

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"I have had the opportunity to experience Roberta Matuson’s “fast track” coaching. Her candid, succinct and concise approach provided positive reinforcement toward my professional goals."
Cheryl Schondek, VP of Food Acquisition and Supply Chain
The Greater Boston Food Bank

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