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Matuson Consulting // A Newsletter On: Creating exceptional workplaces and extraordinary results

I was thrilled by how many of you reached out to me after reading last month’s newsletter. I’m glad I was able to inspire so many of you into action. Let’s keep the momentum going.

Spring is officially here, which means the first quarter of the year is behind us. Where do you stand in terms of your 2018 goals? Are there areas where you haven’t been able to get much traction? Are you tired of spinning your wheels? Reach out to me if I can be of help (Roberta@matusonconsulting), and I’ll gladly set up a complimentary thirty-minute call.

It’s been one heck of a month as I’ve crisscrossed the nation keynoting at several conferences, recording two more LinkedIn Learning courses (Executive Presence for Women and Employee Engagement for Managers), and taking some vacation time. I hope the last month has been just as productive and exciting for you as it’s been for me.

Business Lessons Learned from Cuba

Cuba

Did you know that the average Cuban earns the equivalent of $30 a month? I didn’t either until I spent two weeks in Cuba. You would think with those wages, service and quality would be abysmal. Actually, I found the opposite to be true.

Cuba is a beautiful country filled with warm people who have hopes and dreams like we do. In spite of some pretty tough times, they’re proud of their heritage and remain hopeful. Here are some lessons I learned while touring Cuba, which I hope will be helpful to you as you look to improve yourself as well as your organization.

Pride, not money, is what drives people to do their best work. I experienced this first hand when our waitress at our hotel provided us with service that was far better than what I often experience in the U.S. If I had to guess, I’d say she makes the equivalent of $20 a month. I placed a tip in her hand and thanked her for her service, and here’s what she said to me, “Please, this is not necessary. It’s my job to provide you with good service.” That may very well be, but I insisted she accept my tip.

Think about the last time you tried using money to engage an employee. Did it work? And if it did, how long were you able to sustain high levels of productivity? Hiring people who take pride in their work is a lot more effective and a lot less expensive than trying to buy the hearts and minds of workers. Give it a try and see what I mean.

Patience pays off. Many Cubans hope to be granted visas so they can emigrate to another country. They know this process could take years, and that’s if they are successful. In the meantime, they go on and live their lives and prepare for the time when they may emigrate. They’re patient people and are not bitter about a seven- to ten-year wait.

How’s the mindset in your organization? Do people keep a positive mental attitude when things don’t immediately go their way? Are they willing to wait for the right candidate, or are they simply filling jobs? Do they weigh out all options before proceeding?

Patience is a virtue that many lack. Lots of people take the “ready, aim, fire” approach, which often times results in shooting themselves in the foot. Patience helps us to have the mindfulness to stop for a while and reflect on the present moment. By being in the moment, we can take the small and big picture into consideration so we can make better decisions. Think about this the next time you’re tempted to move rapidly.

Necessity is the driving force behind inventions. Imagine paying $35K for an old car (as in a car from the 1950’s) and then not being able to find parts. If you’re from Cuba you don’t have to imagine this, as this is your reality. No parts? No problem. People simply make their own parts to fix items they can’t afford to replace.

Everything in this country gets recycled, but not like you would imagine. Artists who can’t afford or access art supplies turn junk into art. We met a man who had recycled an old antenna and figured out a way to access the Internet for free. That might not seem all that remarkable to those of you who know hackers, but it’s quite a feat in a country where internet access is very limited. You know you’ve found a hotspot when you see a crowd of people clustering in an open plaza or a park FaceTiming their loved ones.

Are you spoon feeding people and giving them everything they need, rather than allowing them to figure things out? If so, then stop this! There will come a day when these people will have to forge for themselves. Let that day be today, so that you’re freed up to work on more strategic projects.

A lot of what I learned from traveling in Cuba cannot be put into words. I hope that if you get the chance to go you take it, so that you can experience life in a country that is ripe for change. And if you need any travel tips, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Timeless Tips for Tactful Terminations

Imagine finding out through a Tweet that you’ve been fired. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson doesn’t have to imagine this, as this actually just happened to him. A senior State Department official said Tillerson learned of the president's official decision from Trump's Tweet, and that he was never informed directly by the White House that he had been fired.

Tillerson is probably not the first person to learn of his firing through social media, and I suspect he won’t be the last. Perhaps some of you could use some guidance when it comes to letting employees go.

In my book The Magnetic Leader, I give readers a complete playbook on how to respectfully transition people out of the organization. This is more important than ever these days, as you don’t want disgruntled employees posting negative reviews about you and your organization on places like Glassdoor. If they do, it will make it even harder for you to attract talent in what is already a very tight labor market.

Here are some key points which I share in my book.

Show R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Aretha Franklin sang about it back in 1967, and it still rings true. I’ve seen too many frustrated leaders treat those they are about to terminate as if they are radioactive waste. Their hands-off approach leads to ill will all around, not to mention lawsuits. You liked this person well enough to hire him, so demonstrate respect as you transition him out of the company.

Be Clear

I’ve heard stories of people asking for raises at the same time their employers were discussing their poor performance and their impending termination. Do yourself and the employee a favor. Be very clear that the conversation you are about to embark on is the end of the road rather than the beginning of a new path toward a wonderful future together.

Be Honest

Telling someone how great she is and then terminating her during the same meeting never ends well. The termination conversation isn’t the time to coach someone on what she could have done differently to have kept her job, nor is it the time to tell her how much you’ve enjoyed having her on the team. Be honest and succinct.

 

Three Ideas That Will Help Increase Applicant Flow

  1. Review your hiring requirements. Is it really necessary for a receptionist to have a four-year college degree? Must a sales rep have 7-10 years of experience, when your most successful sales people have only a few years under their belt? Change those requirements that are no longer serving you well.

  2. Require your hiring managers to actually do the hiring. Too many hiring managers rely on HR to fill their job openings. If that’s working for you, great! However, I suspect for many of you it’s not. There are currently 5.8M job openings. That’s a lot of job openings! Encourage your hiring managers to present and network at local association meetings. Teach them how to pull talent in via LinkedIn (I can help you with this) and include hiring metrics when evaluating performance.

  3. Shamelessly promote your organization. Being a best kept secret is overrated. In fact, it’s pointless. People aren’t going to be reaching out to you for job opportunities if they’ve never heard of you. That’s why it’s critical to make some noise. Blog, reach out to a writer at your local newspaper and offer to be a source, and if you’re not there already, start using social media to build your employment brand in a big way!

Rules of Attraction: Your Monthly Tip on Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Poaching talent and luring away customers have much in common. Neither are unethical. 

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For more tips on attracting and retaining top talent, download a copy of Talent Magnetism. Call us today at 617-608-3633 if you’d like to discuss applying these concepts to your organization.

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Meet Roberta Matuson

For more than 25 years, Roberta Matuson has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including General Motors, Best Buy, and, The Boston Beer Company, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent.

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Testimonials:

“Your work with my senior group exceeded my expectations. I’ve never seen anything like it. We are now growing gang busters and the team is really working together. Fantastic job." Ronald P. Bryant, President and CEO, Noble Hospital.”

Ronald P. Bryant
President and CEO, Noble Hospital.

“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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