Why Every Company Needs a Dream Manager

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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 Characteristics of High-Performing Teams

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When it comes to the best teams in the world, whether on the football field or in the corporate arena, they all possess similar characteristics that make them special and different than just the average or good teams that rarely make that jump to greatness.

Here are three characteristics that all high-performing teams instill within their organizations and never lose sight of.

1. High-performing teams are unselfish.

You will never find a championship-caliber team at any level that doesn’t model unselfishness in everything that its members do. Even though the star running back wants to break all the records and the employee wants to earn the big promotions, they put the team first in everything that they do. They fully understand that when the team is better, they will grow and become better as individuals.

Amazing things begin to happen when you have a group of unselfish people that all come together for the betterment of the team. But a team that is completely unselfish is very rare these days because of the individualistic world that we live in. It’s all about glitz, glamor, status and money for most. However, the thriving teams that year after year continually dominate know that those things will eventually come to them if they perform better as a team.

2. High-performing teams operate like a strong family.

Mike Krzyzewski, in my humble opinion one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, once said, “When your organization operates like a strong family, you can’t be knocked out by one punch.”

Walk down the halls of a sports franchise such as the New England Patriots and companies such as Apple and it won’t take you long to figure out that they operate out of love in all they do. These institutions truly love their employees. The employees believe in and absolutely love the organization they work for.

Operating as a strong family and truly loving and appreciating your teammates builds a healthy and thriving culture. Even if employees and teammates don’t hang out much outside of the workplace, they understand that putting the team first and appreciating each other is an absolute must.

3. High-performing teams listen.

An underrated characteristic, but an absolutely crucial one when referring to building strong and powerful teams is the power of listening: Leadership willing to listen to employees within the organization, employees having constant communication with other team members, and listening to the marketplace and current customers on where the company can grow and become better.

Being willing to listen shows that you care. One of the more powerful things that a leader can do to create an exceptional and healthy culture is to let everyone know that there is an open line of communication and he or she is willing to listen. All high-performing teams not only communicate better than most teams, but they are willing to listen more than most teams.

There are so many different qualities and characteristics that make the top teams tick, but the above three cannot be ignored when looking to build a stronger organization and team. Just like anything worthwhile, the above characteristics are not easy and will take some time to successfully implement, but the long-term results and the culture that will be built will be well worth it.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

A Strong Team Can Carry Your Vision to the End Zone

There’s a strong correlation between top-performing athletic teams and the corporate world, in that both understand the extreme importance of teamwork.

Just as a football coach needs to assign specific players to a position, entrepreneurs need to follow suit when looking to grow their business to take things to the next level. Every employee must have a role, and everyone must play their part. The key is to assemble a team that believes in your vision.

I often see entrepreneurs try to do it all on their own. This is a huge mistake. When something means so much to us, we can be hesitant to let others handle important duties or contribute to our masterpiece. However, you can stunt your growth, innovation and sales rate if you don’t start enrolling others in your vision.

Here are three tips on assembling a world-class team:

1. Fully believe in your vision.

It’s incredible how many entrepreneurs and business owners hire people who aren’t completely sold on their vision. This is extremely toxic and will do more harm than good. Whether you are looking to hire full time, or you’re just looking to delegate a project, make sure the candidate fully believes in your vision and where you want to go. Just as a football team needs every single player to believe they’ll win the Super Bowl, you need the same type of commitment and unity.

2. Fill in the weaknesses.

You are the captain of the ship and the main visionary. A big pitfall many entrepreneurs come across is spending an enormous amount of time on activities that aren’t their strong suit. Finding someone who is a master at something you may lack skill in is essential. This not only saves precious time, but ensures a fabulous job gets done. A quarterback isn’t going to handle a kicker’s duties and vice versa. The same goes for you and your business. Stay in your sweet spot and assemble others to fill the other positions

3. Look for the hustle DNA.

One of the worst decisions I ever made when it came time to assembling a team around me was paying too much attention to resumes and overlooking what mattered most, the “hustle DNA,” as I like to call it. You want to be able to form a team of people who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. The hustle DNA is now one of the first things I look for, because it can’t be taught. My philosophy is if you are a relentless worker who never settles for mediocrity and wants to make a tremendous difference in the marketplace, I can teach you the technical aspects of my business.

Once you’ve assembled your dream team, nothing should stand in the way of advancing your vision.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com