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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Dream Manager

David A. Zimmer
David A. Zimmer, PMP
Chief Business Strategist
American Eagle Group
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The Dream Manager
by
Matthew Kelly

The Dream Manager is turning out to be completely different than I expected. I expected to read about the traits that would make me a "dream manager" for those reporting to me. Instead, it teaches about the need for companies to help people reach their dreams - the reasons for us getting out of bed in the morning.

I am both excited and frustrated by books like these. The ideas are so common sense and can lead to huge improvements in the company's environment, profitability, turnover rates, costs, efficiencies, productivity, etc. Above all, they will really work.

BUT, why is it companies do not implemented such programs? Is it ego, greed, self-centeredness, what? Is it because those who really need to read and implement these concepts never will read or change? Or is it me? Am I too cynical, skeptical and burnt at this point?

So far, it is an excellent book and anyone who wants to create high-performing teams would benefit greatly by reading and implementing its ideas.

Epilogue: I have finished reading this book. It makes so much sense, why don't more companies see and understand the value of putting such practices into effect. Over my years of experience managing small to large projects, from as few as 5 people to as many as well over 400, when I treat people as people, show I care about their personal lives more than the results they produce for the project, they produce higher level results than I originally expected. They finished the assigned tasks early and exceeded the quality levels. And on top of that, they were energized by the work.

Before I learned such techniques, it was difficult getting people to ante up to the work. I did notice, though, when I took personal interest in people's dreams, they responded well to me and did better on the project. I further experimented with the remaining people on the project and saw the same results.

Don't get me wrong, this doesn't always work with everyone. There always has been and always will be the curmudgeon who will reject any try to get better acquainted because they might think you are being manipulative, invading their privacy, etc. That is ok. Let it go. When they see the results others have toward you and if the engagement lasts long enough, they’ll eventually come out of their shell.

I’d have to say, if there is a panacea for getting people to be engaged, understanding what drives them, their dreams as this books discusses, this is as close as it gets. I can attest to the discussion in this book really works.

Here is the coolest part about learning this information. Regardless of my authority level within an organization, I can do this. I have seen the strongest leaders in an organization be the ones lowest on the totem pole. They couldn’t hand out bonuses. They couldn’t increase pay rates. They couldn’t even suggest recognition of someone’s work. But they had the loyalty and a following many “leaders” could only be jealous of. Why? Because they cared about the people around them and helped them reach their dreams.

Finally, here is the biggest thing I learned from this book. “What is my dream?” “What gets me out of bed?” “What am I living for?” “Did I stop dreaming and why?” No, I’ve been a dreamer all my life, for they are the reasons I do what I do.

So, I’ll ask the same question to you – What is your dream?

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