A friend of mine gave me a great little book for my birthday. Written by Matthew Kelly, The Dream Manager is a wonderful story of how a struggling company was able to turn things around because they helped their employees achieve their dreams.
Written in 2007 when we were living in better times, I believe the book has even more relevance today, since there are so many who are going through difficult times and might feel that their dreams will never come to pass.
I don’t want to spoil the story for you, so I’ll be brief. Kelly tells the story of the Admiral Janitorial Services company, and how Simon Roberts, the General Manager, tried to figure out what to do about their annual turnover rate, which ran about 400%.
The costs of such a turnover was astronomical, and their customers began to complain about it. It was the complaints that led Simon’s boss, Greg, to realize that he could no longer accept the constant change in employees.
Simon proposed that they do a survey, asking their present employees why so many left. Greg thought the returned surveys would show that it would come down to money. People would stay if they simply gave them a salary increase.
Greg was wrong. Money wasn’t the reason at all. Sorry, but I want you to buy the book, so I won’t tell you what changes the company made to turn things around. I will say that the answer was pretty simple, and although it cost the company some big bucks to resolve the issue, in the end the decisions Greg and Simon made revolutionized the company. In fact, their success was replicated by many other companies, with similar results.
In a nutshell, the story of the Dream Manager is about the importance of helping people achieve their dreams. When this book was written, we were just starting our economic decline, and we’re still trying to dig ourselves out of the pit.
That being said, I think it’s more important than ever for us to work on rebuilding the hopes and dreams for the future, not only for ourselves, but all those we come into contact with. We don’t have to run a company to do this. It can start with ourselves, our family, our friends. When was the last time you asked someone what their dreams are? When was the last time you dreamt about your future, without having it turn into a nightmare?
When people stop dreaming in a positive way about the future, it’s not good. We need to turn that around, even if things seem overwhelming right now. The future of Admiral Janitorial Services was bleak, that is until people started dreaming again. It can be the same for us and everyone we know.
Take a risk and pick up a copy of this book. It’s under $12 at Amazon. Reading it will get you excited about the future. It will get you dreaming again. I know it did me.