The Dream Manager

My wife found this book on the new book shelf of our local library. As she does with all other books, she read it very fast, handed it to me and said “you should read it.”

You know, my wife is never wrong with things like that.

The Dream Manager is a story (written by Matthew Kelley) about a janitorial company that went from over 400% turnover rate annually to 12% (was 0% at one point) and increased its profits many times over. More importantly, it transformed itself from just another janitorial service vendor to an empowering organization that made huge impacts on its employees’ (and their families) lives.

It’s a short book and very easy to read. Go check it out at your local library. Read it in one sitting.

And prepare to be appalled. Because it’ll make you wonder why all companies don’t offer this to their employees.

OK, I’m being cynical. That wasn’t my reaction — the book got me so excited, so jazzed, that I couldn’t sit still. This is what an employer can do for its employees. To empower them to go and achieve their dreams.

It’s no secret that a lot of people hate their job. Not only do they hate what they do, but they hate their boss and they hate their employer — the very entity that provides the means for them to make a living. How many people do you know who are actually doing their dream job? Not many, if any, would be my guess.

It’s really too bad, because we are living in an era of specialists. We are all expected to be experts of a highly specialized field — and do that one thing over and over, every day. It’s because it’s more efficient that way, from the point of view of the organization. I’m sure Henry Ford had no intention of causing great disservice to humanity when he incorporated assembly lines to his production, but nowadays this specialist system often completely strips employees of their humanity, reducing them into a machinery designed for a single repetitive task.

Even if we love what we do, too much of a good thing can still bore us and wear us down. And when that happens, we can’t help but start resenting the party that “make” us do that. (of course, we’re really choosing to do what they ask — most employers aren’t “making” employees do anything) That resentment builds up to loss of interest in quality of performance or the job itself, reducing productivity, costing the employer a lot of money. Nobody wins.

Dream Manager Program isn’t a fundamental solution that addresses this dehumanization in modern workplace, but it goes a long, long way toward resolving this me-against-them mentality that exists between an employee and an employer. And what a service this is, to humanity as a whole! As the book explains, our dreams make up some of our very core as human beings. To provide a resource that can help nurture this is not only effective in increasing productivity and profitability, but it really is an amazing contribution to the betterment of human race. The more people realize their dreams, the happier and joyful they will be, and they go out into the world and share that joy. Everybody wins.

I can tell you that the concept of a Dream Manager is on my long list of practices to incorporate into my own business. I encourage you to read the book, and then tell others to read the book. The more people know about this, the better our society will be. Give a copy to your boss, or your CEO. To your spouse. Do it to your kids. Everyone needs a Dream Manager.

Because even those of us who have achieved most of our own dreams, still dream — of helping others do the same. The dreaming never ends.

Read the book, and find yourself a Dream Manager. You really owe it to yourself. And to the world.