It is remarkable to me how often I hear talk of “invisible” people. I first heard the term from Mark Horvath, and his efforts to make homeless people visible became the opening story for my book, Matterness: Fearless Leadership for a Social World.
However, people without a voice, without status or standing or access, were also a significant voting reason expressed by angry voters last fall.
And, of course, I continue to hear from people about how demoralizing or enraging or frustrating it is when institutions routinely ignore them – the original rationale for writing Matterness and have learned how to crystalize the idea better.
However, when I recently reread the opening chapter of the book, I realized that it was too complicated to convey what is, in essence, a very simple concept. So, I rewrote the opening chapter to more succinctly explain the concept. Here is the gist of the new chapter:
“Focusing on Matterness creates an organizational culture that embraces smart risks, engages in constructive conversations with people inside and outside, and considers time spent listening and learning to other people more important than time spent churning the wheels of transactions. Working this way creates a common purpose that trumps private interests and becomes the cornerstone for building strong, successful and sustainable organizations.”
Here is the revised opening chapter to download for free. The rest of the book, I think, provides a good and comprehensive explanation of why organizations struggle to treat people inside and outside well and what they can differently to unleash the latent social, intellectual and financial capital of people who want to help.