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Make it Matter

Last week, Anne and I attended a virtual Master Class Series led by Marianne Gobeil; she is the CEO at Illumify Inc. I noticed that Anne was making notes and looked over to see what she was writing.


I know that Anne is working on an idea that will require change within a well-established organization with some long-standing members who are resistant and will not accept change easily. While they may not actively sabotage Anne’s efforts, they have great influence, and their voices could be raised to thwart the change.

When the session was over, Anne got up and wrote on her whiteboard.


Then she turned and asked me, “Edna, did you understand what Marianne was getting at when she talked about “Make it Matter?” About making the issue or change matter to the audience; your co-workers, senior leadership, customers, clients, patients, family …?”


I thought I did so I answered, “She wanted us to figure out what was important to us, what we wanted to see changed and why. Then she had us look at the change from the other side of the table and figure out what is important to or matters to those people.”


“Yes, that’s right” Anne answered. “And that is another way of saying that we need to be conscious that other people are interested in knowing what’s in it for them; the only people who really care about what’s in it for us might be our parents.


“I am sure that we all think about highlighting what’s in it (the change) for the other people but, I am not sure we think about why it should matter to them. I am not sure there is always something in it for them and that’s what is really making me think.


“Here’s a simple example. I prefer to have people schedule a time for us to meet rather than popping into my office (present company excluded of course) or stopping me in the hallway. Why does that matter to me? When we have a scheduled time, I can prepare, compose myself to focus and show up as my highest and best self.


“Why would that matter to anyone else? They have the greatest probability of getting to “Yes” quickly or getting the best guidance from me when I am able to give them my full and undivided attention. So, you see that there is something in it for them to comply with my preferences, but why should that really matter?


“When you accommodate someone’s preferences, you are more likely to build a bond between the two of you; more likely to collaborate successfully.


“Let’s imagine that you have less than positive results to report to me. There is nothing in it for you to deliver this information. You know that I have been expecting great news and this is not it. You check my calendar and book a short conversation.


“It matters to you that I have an opportunity to show up for this conversation as my highest and best. To be prepared to accept the news gracefully, even though it is not what I was expecting.


“Another example could be when you would like the company to sponsor the bus to take the children from your daughter’s school to the town track and field meet.


“How can you make that matter to me? You might know that I was a track and field competitor when I was young, that I coached others to be their best in high jump and relay, and therefore expect that I have fond memories of how good this was for me and other children.


“Putting this all together, you would schedule a time to talk with me and organize your thoughts so you can make the request in a manner that will matter to me, and the request is more likely to be granted.


Anne looked me in the eye and said, “How would you like to try it, Edna? Come back to me with a request for something important to you, and make it matter to me.”


Of course, I rose to the challenge. Now I am hoping for some help from you, my reader. Would you please send me your suggestions? You can help me polish my skills and learn further about how to make it matter too.


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