The Dream Manager

Physical Copy:


By: Matthew Kelly

Rating: A+

I was recommended this book by a young entrepreneur that starts and grows childcare businesses. He uses this book to build his teams and his culture. He was so visibly fired up about this subject that I felt I needed to read this book immediately. It turned out to be one of the best business books I have read over building culture. It is very practical as opposed to abstract. This made my list of Top 5 Intro to Business books.


The kind of corporate loyalty that was based on hanging around for a certain number of years in order to get a pension and benefits for the rest of your life may be dead, but I think that both employees and employers are better off that it is. It wasn’t good for people or companies then, and it isn’t good for people or companies now. I do however, believe that the corporate world desperately needs to foster and encourage a new and more evolved form of corporate loyalty.

This new breed of loyalty will be built on the principle of adding value. An employee is responsible for adding value to the life of a company, and a company is responsible for adding value to the life of an employee. This is the great unspoken contract that exists between all employees and employers. 

The Problem: 

The ability to attract, engage, and retain talent will be the number one strategic objective of every successful modern leader and organization for the foreseeable future. 

Why do you need talent?

What is an employee’s purpose?

To help the company achieve its purpose? That is part of an employee’s role but an employee’s primary purpose is to become the best version of themself.

“An employee is responsible for adding value to the life of a company, and a company is responsible for adding value to the life of an employee.”

Everyone Has Dreams:

If they cannot be passionate about their own lives, how can we reasonably expect them to be passionate about our work?

You must help your employees build a bridge between their NOW and a better FUTURE. Dreams are the bridge. Their current job is not a dead-end job. It is your responsibility as a business owner to show them that working here can help you get where you want to go.

If you ask people to talk about their dreams, in most cases you’ll see a remarkable increase in their passion and energy. We have to find a way to make a connection between people’s daily work and their dreams.

Every person has different unique dreams. You cannot force your dreams on another person. Think about how much damage is caused when parents try to force their dreams on their children.

“In many ways, we are our dreams. But people stop dreaming because they get caught up in the hustle and bustle of surviving. And once we stop dreaming, we start to lead lives of quiet desperation, and little by little the passion and energy begin to disappear from our lives.”

If we really want to help people, we have a responsibility to help them identify and pursue their dreams. In that way, I have a responsibility for  my wife, my kids, my friends, my colleagues, and for people who just pass through my life.

We all have dreams. The earlier we start dreaming, and the more mentors and friends we have who urge us on toward our dreams, the richer our lives become. In time, we learn to help others achieve their dreams, and so the cycle continues. The real poverty is the poverty of opportunities. Give people opportunities to live their dreams.

The Concept Of A Dream Manager:

You need a Dream Manager.

Someone who helps your employees achieve their dreams.

They meet w/ employees, discuss their dreams, and help them put together a plan to achieve them. Once a month, they meet, assess progress, and discuss next steps. A cross between a life coach and a financial advisor.

Financial illiteracy is a huge problem plaguing our world. Many people think they are literate but are nowhere near effective managers of their own money, and yet we trust many people to operate within a corporate budget.

A Dream Manager focuses on encouraging people and giving people permission to pursue their dreams. They avoid judgement, and provide tools and accountability, but don’t take responsibility for them achieving their dreams. The tools and accountability give an unexpected benefit of a new skill set. You create your own plan and then execute it.

You will be amazed by how just talking about their dreams moves them closer to achieving them. Your people will be transformed. Your people still have the same problems, but now they have hope. The hope comes from having a plan. Most people don’t fail because they want to fail; they fail because they don’t know how to succeed.

The Culture You Want:

In helping our people  live their dreams, we become personally invested in them – one of the fundamentals of teamwork. Second, nothing animates people like chasing down a dream. The passion and energy that are the telltale signs of this animation cannot be confined to one area of our lives.

This program eventually eliminates the need to recruit people. People want that culture. People who are hungry and willing to work hard to achieve their dreams.

People won’t leave for an extra dollar per hour if they know that you are helping them pursue their dreams.

CEOs have to become as dedicated to scouting, nurturing, and acquiring talent as football coaches are.

If your people  can’t move up in the organization, help them move on to another place where they can continue to advance and fulfill their dreams.

Your culture is one of personally investing and adding value to the lives of your employees and growing them to the place they want to be either in your business or in someone else’s.

Can you imagine the energy and tenacity your team will have? What problem can stand in your way?

Trips over Bonuses:

It is often preferable to give employees a trip as a bonus instead of money. Money will be spent on paying off credit cards or a new TV. A trip will create a memory with their family. They will tell their friends and family about it and they will be proud of it.

Simple Truths:

1st Truth: We all need a Dream Manager.

2nd Truth:  In the organic sense, we are all called to the role of Dream Manager for others.

Step By Step Instructions:

  1. Write your own list of 100 Dreams. Don’t concern yourself with what you think is possible or not. Just write.
    1. 12 Areas to Stimulate a good cross section of dreams
      1. Physical
      2. Emotional
      3. Intellectual
      4. Spiritual
      5. Psychological
      6. Material
      7. Professional
      8. Financial
      9. Creative
      10. Adventure
      11. Legacy
      12. Character
  1. After one week, go through the list and apply one of the following 3 categories to each of your dreams: short-term <12 months, mid-term 1-5 years, or long-term >5 years.
  1. Spend half an hour each morning walking around, visiting with your team members. Take a sincere interest in their work and their lives.
  1. Send out a memo to explain what the Dream Manager program is, how it works, and what it is designed to achieve. 
  1. Meet with each employee for 1 hour each month. Start with your best people. Those who need it most need to see that it can work. We have to build confidence in the program.
  1. Month 1: Brainstorming dreams with them. Then assign them to come up with 100 Dreams for themselves.
  1. Month 2: Read their Dream List and talk through them. Ask which of these would you like to achieve in the next 6 months? Together, write out a plan both financial and practical, for the accomplishment of the first dream.
  1. Month 3: Pinpoint one dream you can help and encourage each team member to accomplish in the next 12 months. Come up with a step by step plan to achieve this together.
  1. Month 4+: Talk through their dreams with them. Ask what is going well, what isn’t, and adjust the plan accordingly.

Next Actions:


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