Ive just received a copy of a new book called The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly, who writes and speaks about how people live their lives. Reading it, it struck me as familiar in that many people are in the dream business, even if they arent aware of it. By that I mean that when you run an organization, you are dealing with peoples ambition, goals and, yes, dreams. The book is special, and everyone in business should consider reading it.
Book tells how to help employees meet goals
One of Kellys ideas is that companies should consider establishing a job called dream manager. Sounds silly, but he makes a very compelling case as to why creating this post could resolve many of the problems organizations face, such as retaining valued employees and helping them become more productive. Those two things alone should tweak the interest of any boss.
Most managers today are under the gun. Competition is tough, the economy is mixed and expenses just keep going up. But with all that said, one of the major problems every company has is keeping its good people. The Dream Manager presents the case study of a company facing high turnover and low morale and all the residual baggage that goes along with those all-too-common problems. Finally, after a lot of discussion and soul-searching the managers investigated the problems by talking to their employees and uncovered some surprising results.
They found out, for instance, that their employees were not necessarily motivated by higher paychecks, promotions or bigger offices but by being satisfied in their work, which means attaining their dream of what a job should be.
In other cases, the needs were pretty pedestrian. One janitorial services company found out that many workers couldnt get out to work sites because they lacked cars. The solution: Set up a shuttle-bus system.
Many managers would probably tell you that there isnt any room in day-to-day operations for even thinking about their workers personal goals or interests. It may be time to start thinking outside the box. Valued workers turn out to be valuable workers.
Included in the book is a story about the president of American Airlines. The airline was having a terrible time with refueling costs all over the country, especially where the airline had a contract with other airlines to refuel their planes, such as in Los Angeles. After a meeting with his executive team that went nowhere, the president decided to go to the people who knew more about refueling the planes than anyone elsemaintenance workers. They knew the answer: Put enough fuel in the planes while they are in their home base in Dallas to fly to and from Los Angeles without a complete refueling.
The change saved American Airlines millions.
The president of the company soliciting the advice of people in the trenches is an example of valuing every employee.
Many employees, Kelly writes, are disengaged in the workplace, feeling unconnected to the organization and people they work with. Many feel like they are being used. It is the job of the manager to let them know he or she has their best interests at heart.
I am not sure every company really needs a dream manager. What should happen is that if every manager becomes attuned to their workers goals and ambitions, employees will bring renewed energy and passion to the workplace. And that spells success.
Charles S. Lauer is the former vice president- publishing and editorial director of Modern Healthcare. He now is a consultant to the healthcare industry and also serves on the boards of healthcare companies.
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