What are your dreams?


What an interesting week!  Last week, I traveled to New York City to participate in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Injected Campus event, which brings the regional EO Forums together.  We met in lower Manhattan to be close to the New York Stock Exchange.

This year during our event, the NYSE opening bell was rung by InvenSense, a company that makes the motion possible in the Wii and in smartphones.  InvenSense was launching their IPO and was going public.  I had always wanted to be there in person to see the opening bell, but it also made me think of my own dream of being up there to ring the bell with the IPO launch of my own company.  That evening, it felt a little closer as my friends on the Global EO Board got to be on stage and ring the closing bell!  WOW!  Click here to see the video I took of the opening bell.

Along with going to the Stock Exchange, we enjoyed a wonderful evening dining and socializing at the Harvard Club in Times Square.  We also heard from three great speakers and spent time with EO members that have really invested time and resources into the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, thus getting a lot in return.  This entire event was extra special! 

Matthew Kelly spoke to us at the NYSE for one of the events.  He does business consulting and wrote the book The Dream Manager.”  His talk resonated deeply with me, so I wanted to share it with you.  Matthew told a story about one time when he was playing golf.  One of the guys he was playing with seemed really down, and when Matthew asked him about it, he mentioned he was having business problems.  After digging, Matthew finally got him to reveal that he has a janitorial company with more than 400% turnover.  This man was spending all his time hiring people and had no time to work on business strategy.

Matthew inquired, “Have you asked the employees what is the problem?”  The man had not and wondered if they would even know, so Matthew said, “Let’s find out.”  They conducted a survey and realized that transportation was the main problem.  They decided to get buses to help the employees, and the business changed significantly.  The turnover rate dropped to just over 200%, so they did the survey again.  This time, they discovered the employees had dreams and desires.  They decided if the employees were helped to realize these dreams, then their respect and loyalty to the company would grow.

They hired a full time dream manager to discuss dreams with the employees.  The dream manager assisted them in creating plans and processes to put them on the path to realizing their small near-term dreams, such as purchasing a laptop or planning a vacation.  Additionally, He helped them work towards their long term dreams of buying a house or getting the proper education toward a new career. 

This approach resonated with me because I am of the type that is always strategizing about working towards the things that make the future better.  I have often asked my team what it is that they are working for and want to have in their lives as they increase their incomes.  It is astounding how the culture of a company can change and how your employees’ perception and loyalty toward their employer improves!

I am working toward my dream of building a company that can go IPO.  What are you doing to invest in the lives and dreams of those around you?

Hiring Employees with Value

People generate the most value and are your greatest asset when running a business.  Our society runs on knowledge and information.  We are not a bunch of cogs lined up to push metal through a machine in order to output something better on the other side.  Even these types of jobs now require knowledge to operate these intricate computers and technology. 

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Did you know that the unemployment rate for college educated individuals is less than 5%?   Compare that to the average unemployment rate of 9-10% or the 14% or more unemployment rate for those with a high school education or less.  Today’s economy needs knowledgeable workers, and they are a rare find.  We are searching for knowledgeable workers to fill roles in software architecture, business analysis, and software solution sales and have discovered they are not easy positions to fill.


We utilize a 13-step process, which includes a three hour CIDS interview from Topgrading.  CIDS stands for Chronological In-Depth Structured interview and looks at a candidate’s history starting from his or her education and going through each job position, identifying highs and lows along with strengths and weaknesses.  This gets to the meat of what a person was hired to accomplish and how they do in that role as confirmed by the person to whom they report. 


Even with this detailed process, we don’t always get it right.  Like software, people are very complex and don’t necessarily gel well together.  Getting it right from a technical perspective may not mean we have it right from a cultural perspective.  I hear war stories and have even experienced it myself.  When business cultures clash, all parties involved suffer.


As a leader, I must stay focused and be willing to endure because I believe the most important role of the leader is to bring the right team together.  As Jim Collins says in Good to Great, “Get the right people on the bus, and then with the right people figure out where you are going.” 


What do you do to make sure you have the right people on the bus?