Make It Matter

Significance. Value. Impact. Purpose. Effectiveness. Influence. Results. Multiplication. When someone can describe your efforts with these words, you are doing something that matters. I have not met anyone that did not want to do more, to matter more, and to make more of a difference in their activities. You have to do many things to “make it matter.” We’ve discussed the importance of setting the right priorities (here.) You have to be aggressive in determining what you will not do if you want to make it matter in the most important things.

“I have not met anyone that did not want to do more…”

Collaboration and synergy are also vital to “making it matter.” Think about the times in your life that you have been most effective or achieved your greatest results. It was never just “one thing” that got the job done, was it? No, it took energy from yourself and others. It necessitated teamwork. It called for several things personally and professionally coming together. It required excellent processes, people, purpose, unity, commitment, focus, hard work, time, health, rest, and support from those most important to you to get a result. It demanded collaboration and synergy.

Think about the times in your life that you have been frustrated with your results and effectiveness. I bet one or more of the following were in play: stresses at home and at work; struggles in relationships; times of illness; not getting enough rest; not getting enough exercise; lack of teamwork; broken processes; competing demands; lack of focus; lack of commitment. It’s hard to make it matter when there is a lack of collaboration, synergy, or harmony.

To make it matter and to lead you also have to “show up.” “Showing up” refers to your physical and mental engagement as well as how you are perceived. “Showing up” is a leadership principle I often see ignored because it seems so obvious. Physical presence is essential and opens more doors than any other type of communication. Regardless of the forum, however, your mental and emotional energy are critical. Phone, email, video conference, or face-to-face your mental and emotional engagement should be evident. People can tell when you are not fully engaged and how much energy you are bringing to the conversation. If you’re going to give your time, then make it matter. The real price of any activity is the time you spend on it.

“If you’re going to give your time, then make it matter.”

You want to “show up” as a leader. Your actions, energy, engagement, and appearance will affect how you are perceived which, in turn, will impact your effectiveness. Leading is not about a position. If you want to lead, then lead. You don’t need a title or position. You need ideas, energy, passion, engagement, to communicate effectively, and to be able to enlist allies to support what you want to accomplish. Positions and titles don’t come first. They usually follow after demonstrating leadership. A title or promotion is often just a recognition of what you are already doing. I’ve seen this in both corporate and non-profit settings. Lead first. The rest will follow. You have to lead to make it matter.

“You need ideas, energy, passion, engagement, …allies to support what you want to accomplish.”

It should be apparent that your key to making it matter is how you engage with people. Relationships matter. Relationships develop through frequent and long-term engagement. Developing profound relationships is one of the Leadership FIRSTS (here.) Cultivating deep relationships will enrich the world while achieving enhanced results. Value is created and distributed in collaboration with people. Leadership happens when you draw the talents and energy of people to a common task, goal, purpose, or objective. If you want to make it matter you have to become a “people person” and you have to lead.

“Leadership happens when you draw the talents and energy of people to a common task, goal, purpose, or objective.”

Competent CEOs make it matter, in part, because they are adept at developing and maintaining relationships. Yes, they have accomplished much in their careers and have strong skill sets. But what sets the CEO apart and is a significant determinant of their success is their relationships.

I follow a large, non-profit organization that recently went through a tough time. Its retired CEO was brought back to navigate the organization through a challenging regulatory and public relations environment. Bringing him back was necessary because he had relationships with key State and Federal officials that could impact the organization’s success and well-being. He was able to get the support needed and enlist help from other leaders which allowed him to position the organization for a better future. The CEO that left was a capable operator. He could “run” the organization. But, it proved, he could not be successful because he lacked the relationships to be effective in the role. Don’t underestimate the power of relationships in making it matter.

There is, of course, more to it. It’s easy to write concise essays, but the execution is always more challenging. What are your ideas for making it matter? Please share your thoughts and comments.

This blog is one way I try to invest in others and to encourage character-driven leadership in life and business. If I can help, please feel free to reach out to me at

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By Alan Buttery

#MakeItMatter, #Leadership