About our blog author: Stephanie Hamelmann, is the Corporate Recruiter for FORUM Credit Union.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Purdue University.  Prior to recruiting for FORUM, Stephanie worked for a local staffing company fulfilling the recruiting needs for various companies in the Indianapolis Area.  Stephanie is continually searching for opportunities to build her network with other HR professionals in Indianapolis.

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It was not long ago, where I could rattle off anything and everything about all the dreams I had for the future.  That was the joy of being young and naïve.  However, throughout the years, realities of responsibilities have set in and along with it, have come the limitations of those dreams.  Then I had the opportunity to read The Dream Manager and was asked, “What is your dream?”

The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly is not about a complex approach to business, but takes a unique perspective of connecting people to their dreams to create the ultimate loyalty.  To demonstrate the Dream Manager concept, Kelly writes about a janitorial company that struggles with the inevitable problems of high turnover and low morale.  After investigating the issues further, it is revealed that more often than not, it is not a bigger pay check or higher designation employees look for, but rather the fulfillment of their own fundamental dreams.  Kelly states, “if we can make a connection between our employees’ daily work and their dreams for the future, we will unleash an energy that will transform our business” (page 27).

As with many things, there is a natural resistance to this concept.  Kelly defines two specific reasons.

“First, because people are always looking for quick fixes and there are no quick fixes to situations that involve real, living, breathing people.  The second reason is that too many business people believe business is only about making money, so they can’t think beyond the paradigm that wants to use money to solve problems” (page 71).

The work in which individuals do might not always be intrinsically meaningful to them which can create a sense that they are not making a difference.  Kelly combats this by connecting their job today with their dreams for tomorrow, which inadvertently provides an opportunity to progress and advance.  This is instrumental because when people feel they are progressing, they become engaged and are much less likely to start looking for another job.

Parallel to the previous point, it has been stated time and time again that people do not leave a company but they leave a manager.  “Appreciation is the strongest currency in the corporate culture” according to Kelly (page 73).  Nobody likes to be taken for granted because it just creates resentment, but when people feel that their best interest is taken into account, it creates an ultimate loyalty.  Simply put by Kelly, relationships improve when we are mindful of each other’s dreams because dreams are at the core of every person and it is there that our passion for life is ignited (page 109).

Another key point the book highlights is we need to change our expectations because the expectations of employees have changed.  Loyalty is not dead in corporations but has evolved.  Kelly states, “the new breed of loyalty will be built on the principle of adding value.  An employee is responsible for adding value to the life of the company, and a company is responsible for adding value to the life of an employee” (page 143).  By doing so, dynamic collaboration can truly be achieved and it is then that both the employee and the company can become the best version of themselves.

People are driven by their dreams.  As business leaders, it must be recognized that the specific purposes of employees and companies are inseparably linked.  The Dream Manager book is a simple and condensed education in people management and leadership skills.  Overall, with its focus on connecting the work we do every day to the dreams we have for our future, it creates an engaged workforce with an undeniable loyalty.  Regardless if you believe this concept is viable in the workplace, there is one thing Kelly states that cannot be disputed, “the pursuit of dreams creates passion, energy, enthusiasm, and vitality” (page 66).  So I leave you with this, what are your employees’ dreams?   And more importantly, what are yours?