Education

Doctoral students immersed in learning to ‘Make It Matter’

January 16, 2017 by Cindy O'Dell
Scott Mautz

Scott Mautz, author of “Make It Matter,” talks about motivating employees at the Brandman University Ed.D. immersion in Costa Mesa, California.

If you want to train the next generation of transformational leaders, it makes sense that you introduce them to someone who is one.

And that’s why Saturday morning a roomful of eager students, alumni and potential students in Brandman University’s Doctorate of Education in organizational leadership program were hanging on every word offered by Scott Mautz, a Proctor & Gamble veteran who now leads his own company focusing on leadership and employee engagement and is the author of “Make It Matter,” a guidebook to employee motivation.

Scott Mautz

A long line of students waits to talk to Scott Mautz and buy and autographed copy of his book.

Mautz said 70 percent of American workers are “disengaged,” or as he put it, “more interested in playing Candy Crush” than in paying attention to their work. Another 20 percent are actively trying to harm the organization they work for, he said.

It’s a problem that can be fixed, not with promotions or higher pay, but by leaders who help their employees see the meaning behind their work and connect the work they’re doing to the legacy they leave behind, according to Mautz. It’s leaders like those in Brandman’s Ed.D. program who will be able to transform workplaces, he said.

“What do you want your mark to be? What do you want your legacy to be? It’s a powerful question to ask and it transforms the way we work,” he said.

To prove his point, he displayed a series of quotes gathered while researching his book from employees in various industries about their legacy goals:

  • “I will tackle my team’s dysfunctions and turn us into a world-class unit.”
  • “I will be remembered as the right-hand women of this brand’s turnaround.”
  • “I’ll be a beacon of inspiration for other admins.”
  • “I’ll be the one who changes the culture of ‘good enough.’”

How to get there

Doing work that matters is the first in Mautz’s seven-point list of “markers of meaning.” The others are

  • elevating learning and growth
  • increasing competency and self-esteem
  • building autonomy and influence
  • creating a culture that values caring, teamwork and authenticity
  • creating a connection with and confidence in leadership and the mission
  • creating a workplace free from corrosive behaviors.

Mautz emphasized the first five points with a variety of lists and examples, from a grocery store employee with Down syndrome who found a way to improve customer service with a “thought for the day” to a list spelling out the difference between good and great leaders. (Good leaders “make things happen” while great ones “make things happen before you’re asked.”)

Although the concepts have been the focus of decades of research, they’re the ones that most need to be kept in mind when adding a new generation of workers to existing companies, he said. Social media, for example, has proven to be particularly damaging to self-esteem. “We’re comparing our blooper reel to someone else’s highlight reel.”

The new generation of workers, he added, expect to make a difference in six months and tend to move on if they don’t think that’s happening. Among his solutions are learning to give the right kind of feedback and creating choices. The latter also comes with risk, which many organizations resist, he warned.

Avoiding the failure funnel

“Reframe fear for yourself and your organization,” he said. “Fear engages your brain in the wrong conversation. Tear the bubble wrap off your life. My life changed when I did.”

He reminded the students that life continues to “throw punches” at all of us, to the point that people can start to feel like a Bozo punching bag. “But you can stand up on the inside. It makes a difference. You owe that to Brandman University. You owe that to your organization and the next one. We owe it to each other and you owe it to yourself.”


Scott Mautz is the CEO of Profound Performance and a Procter & Gamble veteran who ran several of the company’s largest multi-billion dollar businesses, transforming business results and organizational/cultural health scores along with it. Mautz was named a “CEO Thought-leader” by the CEO Executive Guild and a “Top 50 Leadership Innovator” by Inc. Magazine, where he writes a weekly column. He also teaches leadership and employee engagement/motivation at Indiana University.

He pointed his audience to several examples to back up his list of markers of meaning, including Sean Aikins of “One Week Job” for finding meaning in work and “The Hug That Saved Medicine,” to illustrate his point about the intrinsic nature of caring.


How to show employees you care:
• Take the time, especially when you don’t have it. They’ll notice
• Listen – really listen – it’s what caring human beings do. Be present.
• Treat others' time as if it was as important as yours.
• Be as passionate about their growth, development and career as you are about your own.
• Show warmth, an interest in their well-being, a desire to connect and authenticity.
• Help someone with a circumstance – dig in and help solve a problem.
• Keep your commitments.
• Appreciate, respect, encourage, empower.
Source: Scott Mautz

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