Today Allison Fine joins us to talk about what she call “matterness” – making other people matter more in your work. For more on this, check out her latest book, Matterness: Fearless Leadership for a Social World. ~Kristina
Guest Post by Allison Fine
Keeping up your New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and exercise more may begin to slide as January soon becomes February, but there is something you can be fantastically successful at this year – leading fearlessly.
Focusing on making other people matter more is the key to fearless leadership. I call this Matterness (and have written a whole new book on it!) Making other people matter more spreads out the work, taps into the natural creativity and generosity of your crowds and solves problem faster and more easily.
Here are five ways to make 2015 filled with Matterness:
1. Stop Trying to Control the Uncontrollable. The essence of being fearless is letting go of uncontrollable things. Trying to control every message and messenger is both exhausting and a waste of time and energy. Stop spending so much time worrying about what could go wrong and start focusing on what is likely to go right. Leaders need to step out into the world with the assumption that most people are smart, generous and willing to help – because they are and they will.
2. Get In Conversation With People. Being in conversation means asking questions rather than broadcasting messages. Organizations need to move towards working with people or at them, and the way to begin is to ask people what they want to do and how they want to do it. Not every suggestion has to be acted upon, but every idea deserves a listen.
3. Turn Staff and Customers into Co-Creators and Problem Solvers. Professionals have been taught that they are supposed to have all of the answers to any problems. Not knowing the answer to every question isn’t shameful, it is simply human. Leaders need to become facilitators who engage lots of other people in helping to solve problems. This is the way to turn passive staff and customers into active problem solvers invested in the long-term success of your efforts.
4. Become Exuberant Thankers. The stale form letter as thank you note needs to go the way of the cassette tape. There is no more important task for your organization that finding fun, heartfelt and public ways to thank people for their generosity and making them feel like they matter. Post donors of the month on your organization’s walls the way that service organizations routinely post employees of the month. Make a surprise visit a donor with some balloons and a thank you note and post it on YouTube. Get creative and have some fun treating your donors like the special, generous people that they are.
5. Start Asking Matterness Questions. We measure what we value. Too often, this boils down to checking the financial statements and counting the things that are produced. If people inside and outside of the organization really matter (and I hope they do!) then measuring Matterness needs to become a top priority. Matterness questions could include:
- Do you feel like you matter to us? Do we make you feel like a person or an ATM machine? Do we feel interested in us or in you?
- Do we remember who you are, or do you feel new every time you engage with us?
- Do we reach out to you only when we need something?
- Do you have a sense of who our people are, what they do, and why they’re here?
- Have we gone over the cliff of automation, where it no longer feels like human beings are running our effort?
Focusing on Matterness makes work and life energizing and fulfilling not soul sucking. Leading fearlessly isn’t about doing something different it is about being someone different – someone who treats other people generously and well and brings out their natural creativity and generosity.
Allison Fine is among the pre-eminent guides to the social media revolution. Her gift is converting uncertainty over rapid change into excitement over remaking organizations by the least expensive and most profitable means available: connecting with others. She is the author of Matterness: What Fearless Leaders Know About the Power and Promise of Social Media. She is also the author of the award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age and co-author of the bestselling The Networked Nonprofit.