Roberta Matuson
Identify the best talent in the world.
  • Identify
  • Acquire
  • Nurture
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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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Delivering the Goods: Lessons Learned from the Dabbawalahs, Mumbai's Best Managed Business

The people of India have created a recipe for business that contains ingredients worth adding to your mix. Every morning Mumbai's legendary Dabbawalahs (lunchbox carriers) spread out across the city to collect freshly prepared lunches from people's homes and caterers. They then efficiently use the transport network, which they have fine-tuned over the past 112 years, to quickly deliver lunches to the customers' workplaces. In the afternoon, the network is reversed as the Dabbawalahs retrieve lunchboxes and return them to their place of origin. For this they charge approximately US$10 per lunchbox, per month.

So why is this so special? After all, we have take-out and home delivery right here in the US. Here's why: the Dabbawalahs deliver over 200,000 lunches per day, with 99.99% accuracy. Forbes magazine gave this service its highest quality rating of Sigma 6, which means that per million transactions, there is just an error of one!

Here are lessons we can all apply to our businesses, courtesy of the Dabbawalahs:

Share the wealth

The majority of the Dabbawalahs are stakeholders in the organization. You bet they show up everyday. Even when there is a strike (which happens often) or inclement weather.

Take care of your people

The Dabbawalah Trust provides several services to its members, including schools for the children and health care in emergencies. Can your organization say the same?

Hire people you know

"Everyone who joins us is known to us," states Raghunath Medge, president of the Dabbawalah Trust. Have you run out of people in your own network to hire? Establish an employee referral program. This will reduce the likelihood that you will have to hire people that no one knows in your own organization.

Enthusiasm trumps experience

When selecting members of the team, the Dabbawalahs look for people who are enthusiastic because they understand enthusiasm is not something you can train for. In this economy, there are many people looking to transition into new industries. Don't discount them because they don't have the exact experience you think they need. Instead, focus on hiring people who are upbeat and show a passion for learning.

Embrace change

Although they have been doing things the same way for the past 112 years, the Dabbawalahs recently debuted on the World Wide Web. http:>www.mydabbawala.com. Customers and prospects can now sign up for the service online or with their mobile phones. Products and services can also be purchased through their web site. Coming soon…a blog! When is the last time you looked at ways to make it easier for your customers to do business with you? No time like the present!

New ways to increase revenue

A delivery service is a delivery service, right? Not if you are a dabbawala. What products and services could possibly be added to increase revenues? If you think small, then the answer is not much. If you think large, like the Dabbawalahs, then you might consider offering products that are symbols of your business.

For the Dabbawalahs, this means selling Dabbas (Tiffin boxes used to transport food), that represent hard work, discipline, and time management or services that include the opportunity to work side-by-side with a Dabbawalah for an entire day. Don't think it will work? Just ask Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group, who recently signed up for this once in a lifetime event.

To increase revenues in tough times you must think out of the box. What are some natural extensions of your product or services? No idea is too small.

Helping employees transition to better opportunities

Have you ever heard of an organization that actively tries to help their employees find better work opportunities? That's exactly what the Dabbawalahs do. Their web site touts the many advantages of hiring these people into their customer's organizations.

The US major accounting firms have been doing this for years. They recognize the value of having alumni working in other organizations, who can help them cement relationships with both current and prospective clients. Is this concept worth consideration for your employees and your firm?

Eliminating bad customers

The Dabbawalahs don't have time to deal with bad customers. They readily shed bad customers so they can focus on providing exceptional service to their valued clients. When is the last time you released a bad customer?

Connecting with customers

On their web site, the Dabbawalahs list their value proposition through the use of their top 10 reasons for using their service. My favorite is Number 3: "Do you not love your mother or wife and like to eat food made by her?"

Emotion causes people to act. Does your web site or marketing allow people to emotionally connect with you?

There are many more lessons that can be learned from this group of people, who have built a business model that is still relevant in today's world. With an open mind, you can easily integrate these concepts into your own organization with the end result being the delivery of exceptional customer service and increased profitability. Now that's a recipe we can all get excited about!


"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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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

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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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