Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Dream Manager: the importance of dreams for companies and employees

One of my best friends lent me a book last night, titled The Dream Manager (by Matthew Kelly). At first, I thought the book is about managing one’s dream, or to fulfil one’s dream. I wasn’t that wrong, because the book IS talking about how to fulfil one’s dream... through the eyes of a company manager.

The Dream Manager is a guide book for managers who want to keep the turnover rate of their companies low. Not only that, this is a book for managers who want to create a happy, positive environment in their companies, an atmosphere that makes people stay and do more for the company, because they are fulfilled and happy. 

I cried when I read the first 23 pages. 

Here’s what Kelly wrote in pages 3 and 4: 

A company’s purpose is to become the-best-version-of-itself.

The next question is: What is an employee’s purpose? Most would say, “to help the company achieve its purpose,” but they would be wrong. That is certainly part of an employee’s role, but an employee’s primary purpose is to become the-best-version-of-himself or herself. Contrary to unwritten management heory and popular practice, people do not exist for the company. The company exists for people. When a company forgets that it exists to serve its customers, it quickly goes out of business. Our employees are our first customers, and our most influential customers. 

A person’s purpose is to become the-best-version-of-himself or herself.

Finding a way to create an environment that helps employees become the-best-version-of-themselves, while at the same time moving the company toward the-best-version-of-itself, may seem impossible to many; to others, these purposes may seem diametrically opposed; but in reality, they are astoundingly complementary.  

The book goes on with an example of a janitor company with 400% turnover rate per annum. Manager Simon Roberts tried to know what happened, by distributing questionnaire, asking the employees what factors influence them to leave the company. Unexpectedly, the answer wasn't money (tho money was stated as important). The answer was the lack of transportation system that transports the janitors from their faraway homes to the places they work. These workers often don’t have private cars. Because they often work early in the morning or late at night, and public transport isn't helping them with it, transportation becomes the most important issue for them. So Simon finally installed some buses to bring the janitors closer to where they work and pick them up after they finish the day job. After a year, the turnover rate fell to 224% or so.

Now the chapter is about how to reduce it further by making the company a stepping stone towards achieving an employee's dream. An arduous task on its own, because the company deals with janitors, who are often seen as those at dead ends; people without hope and dream. Yet, this is what Simon said:

“If we can help our employees beyond the quiet desperation of mere survival by teaching them to dream again, and help them to fulfil their dreams, we’ll create a loyalty and dedication that’s unmatched. And then our people will bring the passion and energy they have for their dreams to their work.”

...I think I know what I will read during dinner tonight....

Pic: Cover to 'The Dream Manager'

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