“Anyone can grow something. The question is, can they sustain this growth over time?”— Roberta Matuson, Evergreen Talent

I was on another adventure hike with my son, and I noticed that on one side of the gorge, the trees were almost exclusively evergreens while the other side there were predominantly broad-leafed deciduous trees. 

“What could be the difference?” I thought. Was it the soil type? Could it be the river overflowed more on one side of the river than the other?

While I debated these possibilities, we encountered a trail-side sign that explained the critical difference. One side of the gorge basked in the sunlight significantly more than the other that remained mostly shadowed by the tall gorge walls. The result was two distinct micro-climates divided by the river. Even though the two sides were only a short distance apart, they grew very different kinds of trees.

Though my initial hypotheses about the reasons for the difference turned out to be correct, the most significant contributing factor became apparent as we stood in the sunlight.

In many ways, this also explains the critical difference between organizations that are just across the proverbial street from each other.

The company on the sun-starved side of the street has difficulty in recruiting, growing, and keeping talent within the organization. 

Meanwhile, the company on the sun-bathed side of the street has a pool of talented people that grows in number and power. They maintain this not just by hiring new people, but by accelerating people within the organization to new levels of expertise and responsibility. 

The sun-bathed company climate did not happen by accident. The sun is provided by leadership that knows it has to do the critical things to maintain a flourishing forest of talent.  

These leaders know the critical difference in growing organizational talent is actively working on the climate that enables them to grow fast and to embed deep roots that nourish the whole organization.

I have often written about my ideas for growing this kind of organization. And now I have found that Roberta Chinsky Matuson has written a book that I confess I would have loved to write. 

Her book Evergreen Talent: A Guide to Hiring and Cultivating a Sustainable Workforce is a complete guide in how a leadership force can create a climate to attract and grow fantastic talent. Her writing is compelling, fun, and filled with not just guidance but great examples. Here are five chapter titles that give you a taste not only of her writing but of the secrets to creating the climate to grow greatness.

  • “Debunking the Myth: Talent Will Grow Where It’s Planted
  • “Surveying the Terrain: The Five Essential Elements Needed for Evergreen Talent”
  • “The Need to Weed: Making Room for New Growth to Flourish”
  • “Growing Talent from Seedling to Redwood”
  • “Nurturing Employees to Greatness”

It was amazing that on my walk with my son, I could find such different micro-climates so close to each other. 

It was delightful reading Roberta’s book to learn that as leaders, we can create the climate to grow our organization’s talent to majestic heights.

Roberta’s book can be found here. You can find Roberta here.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

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