If you don’t toot your own horn, you won’t be heard in a sea of cubicles. Women in particular have a hard time when I tell them they need to do a better job of strategically bragging. They find this confusing, as many believe their work should speak for themselves. That’s not how things happen. If you want people to notice you, then you need to bring some attention to yourself.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing, Roberta Matuson, The Talent Maximizer®. For more than 25 years, Roberta Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in high growth companies, such as General Motors, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is known globally as “The Talent Maximizer®.” No one has written more on talent in the last four years than Roberta. She is the person that top employment site Monster and global retail giant Staples turns to for advice on talent. Roberta is the author of five books, including the recently released, The Magnetic Leader. Her forthcoming book is Evergreen Talent. She is a Lynda.com/LinkedIn author and a 2018 LinkedIn Top Voice in Workplace and Leadership, whose work is heard by business executives at 40,000 feet, where she provides first class advice in first class cabins on Virgin, Emirates, and Turkish Airlines. Roberta is one of a handful of people who have appeared as a guest of Bill O’Reilly’s on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor, and who left the show unscathed.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Roberta! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was working in human resources for a number of years and reached a point where I was no longer enjoying the work that I was doing. I was seriously thinking about a complete career change when it occurred to me that I enjoyed the work. I just didn’t like working a highly charged political environment, which is common in corporate workplaces. It was then and there that I decided to hang my own shingle out and to work for myself.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I was home taking care of two very young children when the phone rang. The person calling said she was a producer for The O’Reilly Factor and asked if I could be in the studio within a few hours. I made arrangements for childcare and within the hour, a car was picking me up and I was on the way to the studio.
At the time, I had never heard of Bill O’Reilly and was not familiar with his show. That worked to my advantage, as I wasn’t the least bit intimidated going head-to-head with him.
The topic was sex in the office. Elle Magazine had just come out with a study that indicated just about everyone was having sex in the office with their co-workers or boss. I told Bill if this were the case, then these people needed to get a life. Fast forward years later. I pick up the newspaper and read that Bill O’Reilly is being charged with sexual harassment in the workplace. His accuser was the producer who brought me on the show. I’ll let you come to your own conclusion as to what really transpired after I had given him my advice.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t know if this is a funny mistake, but it certainly is a common mistake. I took on projects and charged way less than I should have. I’ve since corrected this problem!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I’ve walked in the shoes of my clients. The advice I give them is based on experience. At the age of 24, I was tossed into the executive suite with little more than a prayer. I learned a ton along the way. I help clients create workplaces where employees love to work, and companies love to do business. In today’s labor market where it feels impossible for clients to attract and retain talent, I make it possible to do so. I stand out because my clients achieve measurable results that enable them to achieve dramatic growth, while having fun.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m working on several new initiatives. The one I’m most excited about is my Evergreen Talent Experience. The program is designed to ensure clients have the talent they need, when they need it to fuel their organization’s growth. We’ll be digging right in and examining what’s working well and look at areas that could benefit from a dose of Miracle Grow. I’ll be teaching them how to exponentially increase their hiring results, by helping them start a Grassroots Hiring Movement in their organization.
Participants will immediately start reaping the many benefits of having a forest of Evergreen Talent, including top-line growth and increased innovation.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
When I wrote my book, The Magnetic Leader, I interviewed leaders who appeared to be able to effortlessly pull talent towards them. You simply want to remain on the call or in the room with these people because of the connection you feel when you interact with them. This pull keeps their employees connected to them.
They shared five common traits. In the interest of space, here are three. The first trait is authenticity. You know exactly who is going to show up each day because these people bring their whole selves to work. They don’t pull any punches. The second trait is Selflessness. They put the needs of their people first. The third trait has to do with communication. These leaders are strong communicators. When they speak, people listen.
You can see why people enjoy working for leaders with these traits. Don’t despair if you’re a bit weak in one area. I’ve coached enough executives to know that if you’re committed to improving, you can do so with a little bit of help!
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Find really good managers whom you trust. Then, delegate, delegate, delegate!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m grateful to my mentor Alan Weiss, who is known as the rock star of consulting. He’s taught me to value my self-worth and to provide tons of value to my clients so they return more often than not.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I make it a point to give back to my community. Twice a year, I seek out clients in need of my services who are unable to pay for what they need. I make sure we pick a really juicy project — one that will add tons of value to their organization, and I provide my expertise at no cost to them.
I’d also like to believe that I’m leaving the world a better place every time I help transform good managers or even an okay managers into great leaders!
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Lesson Number One:If you don’t manage up, you won’t have to worry about managing down. I learned this lesson early on when I failed to manage my boss and those around me. One day I got taken out by a wave I never saw coming.
Lesson Number Two: You can’t want more for people than they want for themselves. Lord knows I’ve tried to help people who said they wanted help. But in the end, it was clear to me that they were telling me what I wanted to hear. Not what I needed to hear.
Lesson Number Three: Employee engagement is an outcome. It’s not a program. People come to me all the time telling me they want an employee engagement program. When I ask them why, many are unable to respond. They also expect to achieve this level of commitment without doing the necessary work to get there. I’ve learned to walk away from these kinds of requests.
Lesson Number Four-If you don’t toot your own horn, you won’t be heard in a sea of cubicles. Women in particular have a hard time when I tell them they need to do a better job of strategically bragging. They find this confusing, as many believe their work should speak for themselves. That’s not how things happen. If you want people to notice you, then you need to bring some attention to yourself.
Lesson Number Five-Executive presence matters — a lot! Much of the work I do with coaching clients is around executive presence. I help executives create a positive long last impression. I enjoy this work a lot, as I know I’m making a tremendous impact on their lives, both professionally and personally.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would call my movement RID (Remove Incompetent Decision-makers). We’d start with leaders in the organization who are making poor decisions and then we’d work towards weeding out those managers who are doing more harm than good. The end result would be a much happier and productive workplace.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Just do it! People waste so much time overthinking things. If you’ve got an idea, run with it! You can always course correct along the way.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I’d like to have lunch with Bruce Springsteen. Can you arrange this for me? He’s built an incredible body of work and has done so in a way that speaks to the average person. He gives more than he takes and yet he appears to live a simple life. He and I were both born to run!
Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!
About the Author:
Author and business coach, Akemi Sue Fisher, has helped thousands of Amazon sellers scale and grow their businesses to six, seven and eight figures. Akemi has quickly become one of the most trusted and sought after E-commerce consultants in the world. In only three years, her agency, Love & Launch, has helped her clients achieve over one billion dollars in sales through Amazon, Ebay and other e-commerce platforms. Her entrepreneurial spirit and direct approach continues to help elevate not only her success, but the success of her clients which range from startups to fortune 500 companies. Akemi also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column that profiles the lessons of prominent female executives. If you would like to book Akemi for an entertaining speaking engagement, or if you would like to learn if Akemi can help you scale your business, you can reach out to her HERE.