Book Review: Make it Matter

Make it Matter: How Managers Can Motivate By Creating Meaning

By Scott Mautz

250 pages

The big idea: Every CEO has wondered how to put that elusive spring in his employees’ step, getting them so excited about their job that they love coming to work every day. Scott Mautz proposes that the difference is all in whether employees find meaning in what they do. He acknowledges that meaning is easier to find for some than others (say, emergency room doctors as opposed to data-entry specialists), but argues that the right strategy will be able to guide any employee to the realization of what matters about their work. The tools you need along the way include opportunities for personal growth and a leadership strategy that fosters a sense of connection and caring. Perhaps most importantly, you need a culture that gives employees chances to make meaningful decisions, regardless of their position in the pecking order.

Read it: Mautz backs up his arguments with solid academic research and copious footnotes that lead to hundreds of secondary sources. This grounding in research notwithstanding, the book is written in accessible, engaging prose, with plenty of diverting real-world examples to break up the reading experience. What’s more, Mautz includes useful, at-a-glance tools to help you track the implementation of your plan for creating meaning.

Skip it: The book contains just a few too many ideas for its own good, trying to cover everything from the psychological and philosophical aspects of meaning to action points on leadership, culture, decision-making strategies and much, much more. This could be slightly overwhelming and may discourage some from trying Mautz’ approach altogether.

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