Why Every Company Needs a Dream Manager

20150306205712-man-daydreaming-thinking-looking-upImage credit: José Manuel Ríos Valiente | Flickr

Increasing employee engagement, creating a healthier culture and building a world-class organization that sees exceptional growth every year is what all leaders in any industry wants for their organization. If that is the goal for most leaders, then why do so few organizations succeed at the above three?

There are a ton of reasons that may be hindering an organizations success, but one key area that majority of companies completely neglect or refuse to pay any attention to is their employees’ personal dreams and desires.

I recently spent some time with Infusionsoft at their headquarters in Chandler, Arizona. You may have heard of them already, but Infusionsoft is a complete sales and marketing automation software for small businesses. I was completely blown away by their positive and healthy culture, employees and everyone’s eagerness to build the company to even greater success.

There are plenty of people who deserve credit for the culture at Infusionsoft, especially their CEO Clate Mask. What took me by surprise though was to find out that they have someone on staff who is actually labeled as their dream manager. Dan Ralphs, who is the dream manager at Infusionsoft, has one job description — to help the employees of the company achieve their personal dreams.

One of the company’s employees a few years back had read The Dream Manager by bestselling author Matthew Kelly. He loved the book so much that he desperately wanted to get it in the hands of Clate Mask, the CEO of the company. Being an avid reader and leader who is always looking to grow himself, Clate accepted the book and read it on a flight. Once he was finished with the book, he immediately knew that Infusionsoft was going to going to have a dream manager on staff.

In the book, Kelly writes, “The future of your organization and the potential of your employees are intertwined — their destinies are linked.” At Infusionsoft, you see this clearly, as employees are actively engaged in the workplace while passionately helping the organization build towards the grander vision while in return, the organization is passionately helping employees work towards their biggest personal dreams.

When talking to some of the employees at Infusionsoft, I would hear things such as, “I ran my first marathon because of Infusionsoft” or “I am almost out of debt because of Infusionsoft.” Hearing some of the personal dreams that have been accomplished is truly astonishing. Infusionsoft isn’t making miracles happen to make dreams come true for their employees, but they do show them that they immensely care about them as people and want to provide them with the resources and tools to help them achieve some of their biggest dreams in life. In return, they have employees who are extremely passionate about the company that they work for and are actively engaged in the workplace.

“The Dream Manager concept provides a revolutionary way of reversing this crippling trend toward disengagement and demonstrates how organizations large and small can actively engage their people once again, thus creating a competitive advantage of monumental proportions,” Kelly says.

You might be asking, how exactly does the dream manager program work? At Infusionsoft, every employee has the opportunity to meet with Dan Ralphs, the company’s dream manager. He asks them to write down one hundred dreams and eventually they pick one dream together and start to develop a plan on how to accomplish it. From there they have follow up meetings and track the progress of where everyone is at in relation to achieving their dream for the year.

The absolute best way to transform a company is to transform the people within that company. Regardless of what industry you are in or how big or small your company is, one of the best ways to engage your people, create a healthy culture, and get everyone on board to work towards the organization’s grander vision is to care and help them achieve their personal dreams.

You may come up with something completely different than what Infusionsoft has adopted or what Mattew Kelly writes about in his book,The Dream Manager, but the one thing you can’t ignore is constantly looking for ways to grow and develop your people. After all, your company can only become as great as the people within it.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Things Shared by Top Performing Teams, Whether on the Field or in the Office

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Something that always intrigues me is watching top teams perform at a high level. Being an athlete for most of my life, I have been on teams that reached the top and teams that didn’t get anywhere. Since moving away from the playing field, I have witnessed the same thing while speaking to organizations of all sizes. The correlation between top performing athletic organizations and the corporate world is strong.

Those who perform at an extremely high level understand the importance of teamwork and culture.

Here are three things top performing teams do differently.

1. Vision

I have seen time and time again a pretty substantial separation between management and employees as to what the exact vision is. That seperation can be extremely toxic.

When a football team begins a new season, the common goal is always to win a championship. From that point on, the same goal will be revisited with every team meeting during the regular season. Everyone from the coaches, players and support staff know exactly what the vision and direction for the team is headed forward. This is reinforcing the major goal and the vision that keeps everyone on the same page.

To truly thrive as a company, everyone within the organization has to buy in to what the vision is, and not only that, but come together to make that a reality in everything that the company does.

2. Authentic leadership

The best leaders in this world are authentic leaders. The best coaches I ever had were the ones who were authentic — those who truly cared and appreciated their players showing up to work every day and giving maximum effort. The same goes for the business world. The success of a company starts and ends with the leadership of that company. Just as John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

If employees feel that their boss truly values them and their work, they will be motivated to give their all every day. I recently spoke to the staff of a Fortune 500 company and was blown away by not only their organizational structure, but their effectiveness to produce. During lunch when I had the opportunity to chat with a few employees, the answer was always the same: “Our leadership is superb. They really care about us as people.”

What a profound statement.

3. Communication

The teams that fail in the communication department are quickly headed for dysfunction. Being able to express a concern, pick a teammate up or simply have a voice in the company makes a tremendous difference in its growth.

Create a culture where everyone feels they have a voice and soon you will have a company that can endure almost anything by simply talking things through. On the gridiron, when a big play was given up or something went wrong, it was usually a miscommunication error. Not communicating properly is a catalyst for mediocrity whether on the football field or in the workplace.

Creating a world class team takes a lot of work, but if you are willing to do the little things day in and day out, eventually together you will be able to conquer the bigger challenges that lie ahead.

It’s an incredible sight to see a team thrive on all levels and come together for a common goal. Let these three principles be a guiding light for you and your company to take your success and performance to the next level.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com