You Can’t Matter Until You Know What Matters


Leaders define what matters. Organizations grow weak and lethargic until someone creates focus and direction by explaining what’s meaningfully important. Leaders describe what’s relevant.

Things that matter capture attention.

In the absence of something meaningful,
insignificance prevails.

Distraction, frustration, and office politics dominate where people don’t know what’s important.


Focus is magnetic, it establishes and clarifies direction. Everyone looks at and thinks about what matters. You ultimately go where you look. The most useful thing leaders do is point to what matters.

Don’t tell people where to focus.
Tell them what matters.


Everyone rows in different directions until someone explains what matters. Teams languish, meetings waste time, and effort grows meaningless without the guidance of something that matters.

Don’t tell people to pull together.
Give them a rallying point.


  1. Pursue what matters.
  2. Reject what matters less for what matters more.
  3. Feel energized when doing what matters.
  4. Galvanize when they see what matters.
  5. Strive for success when they contribute to what matters.
  6. Fight for what matters.
  7. Fit in when aligned with what matters.
  8. Know what’s next when what matters now is clear.
  9. Endure when they believe in what matters. Struggle matters when you know what matters.
  10. Feel accomplishment when achieving what matters.


Most sink inward. But, leaders press outward by reminding everyone they don’t exist for themselves.

Every organization focused
on self-preservation is doomed.

It’s normal to focus on internal matters. But, leaders connect what matters inside organizations to what matters outside.

How can leaders explain what matters?

Check out the great list of leadership M’s on the Leadership Freak Facebook Page. While you’re there, add leadership N’s for tomorrow’s post.

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