Matt Swayhoover

I am a coach and consultant focused on helping organizations, teams, and leaders achieve higher levels of performance. I believe wholeheartedly that a key to success for us all is to courageously address the obstacles that get in our way from time-to-time. Developing deep meaningful relationships based on trust is both a personal passion and channel for achieving business results. That’s why I appreciate every opportunity to work with The Get Real Project’s clients.

I believe wholeheartedly that a key to success for us all is to courageously address the obstacles that get in our way from time-to-time.

My experience includes more than 30 years of leadership roles in a variety of international, commercial, government professional services, non-profits, and consulting organizations. I have created performance-focused solutions for Fortune 500 enterprises with large, geographically dispersed workforces and smaller organizations with unique challenges. Example clients include CACI International, Fuze and Squarespace Inc. I have an MS in Management from George Mason University. I’ve also studied organizational design, instructional design, facilitation and coaching.

Outside of work my passions include hiking, gardening and enjoying live music at one of Washington, D.C.’s famed music venues—Wolf Trap is a favorite.

My Get Real Services

I coach Being a Trusted Advisor participants following workshops on specific ways to further apply learnings to real life, in real-time.

My Trust Temperament™

The Steward

Who I’m Reading/Following

My Get Real Story

At one point in my career I was the manager of all client training programs for a small engineering consultancy. I was asked by my team lead to participate in an important client meeting, and expected to help connect the client’s business needs to our available training offerings.

On the designated day I joined my team lead and an account manager for the hour-long drive to the client’s office. During the ride we reviewed the agenda we had prepared and discussed our approach for making the most of the time with the client. The account manager had prepared an extensive briefing deck which traced our team’s support of the client from the present date back to the Apollo space program (or so it seemed). We were certain we were prepared to establish that our organization possessed the expertise to meet the client’s every possible need.

We arrived early and the 60-minute meeting started on time. Seventy minutes later, and only two-thirds of the way though our briefing deck, the client politely interrupted and excused herself for her next meeting. As we were exiting the building my colleagues were celebrating like we had won a significant contract. As far as I was concerned, we had completely failed.

In our race to demonstrate our value all we proved was that we could generate lots of slides and data. We hadn’t shown we could be curious about their successes and challenges. We failed to simply listen, to seek to understand, and to relate our capabilities to their business needs. We, rudely, did all the talking and as a result learned absolutely zero about what mattered most.

This pivotal moment reshaped my approach to every client meeting going forward. I learned relationships are not about the hard-sell or “tell”; they are about how well you listen. Today, I approach each of my client conversations with an insatiable curiosity and an empathetic ear. I am intentional about creating space for my clients to share their successes, challenges and opportunities. I prefer to leave the briefing slides back in the office.

Getting a Little More Personal

Words people often use to describe me

Empathetic. Intentional. Character.

What inspires me

People being kind to one another. Leaders who set a positive example for others.

What brings me joy

Indulging in music and art of all forms.

What drives me nuts

Order-givers and order-takers.

My guilty pleasure

Digitizing my music collection and creating playlists as if they were mixed tapes.

A favorite quote

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”—Maya Angelou

What I can’t do without

My extended family and friends, music, indulging in good food and wine.

My secret ambition

To work as a summer ranger in one of the wonderous US national parks.