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The Dream Manager - Book Review

1 February 2016
Dr. Moria Levy
book cover

Matthew Kelly's 2007 book,The dream manager - Fulfilling Employees Dreams as a Lever for Organizational Success,' presents an intriguing and innovative perspective. Kelly, a renowned international speaker and author, adds his work to prestigious bestseller lists. The book's narrative style enhances readability, although it may seem simplistic. However, the core idea is unique: supporting employees in pursuing their non-work-related dreams benefits both individuals and the organization. These opportunities may take time to be apparent, but they hold remarkable motivational power.


1. The Organizational Challenge

2. The Dream Manager

3. Steps to Implementation

It tells the story from the perspective of a cleaning company's CEO, emphasizing that personal dreams and growth aren't solely tied to one's job. The book also features a banking acquaintance who applies similar methods in a different context to demonstrate its relevance across various organizations. Toward the end, the book provides an implementation guide.

In summary, this thought-provoking book prompts reflection and offers a unique perspective. [Please note that this excerpt does not replace the full text.]"

The Organizational Challenge

Organizations perennially grapple with employee turnover, whether due to valid reasons like insufficient job satisfaction or the lure of seemingly better opportunities elsewhere. Consequently, managers invest substantial efforts in retaining their human capital and motivating employees. They recognize that monetary compensation alone doesn't encompass the full spectrum of motivations, and financial reasons are rarely the sole drivers of job departures. The solution resides in something other than this domain. It becomes apparent that alternative avenues need exploration.

Since it's only sometimes feasible to offer substantial professional advancement opportunities within the organization, given the diminishing quality, pace, and scope of progress as one ascends the hierarchical ladder, this avenue must also address the underlying need.

Therefore, it's imperative to identify a path through which the organization can express appreciation for its employees and genuinely care for their well-being and happiness.

The Dream Manager

Kelly's central concept revolves around bridging the gap between the present and the future by articulating and actualizing dreams. An organization can be pivotal in helping its employees envision a brighter future and dare to dream. This is often overlooked as many individuals become trapped in the present demands, whether the struggle for survival or the relentless focus on day-to-day operations. Some people also shy away from dreaming, fearing unfulfilled aspirations.

Kelly proposes appointing an organizational Dream Manager. This manager can come from diverse backgrounds, but given that many dreams have financial implications, Kelly recommends selecting someone with expertise in financial consulting.

The Dream Manager would regularly engage with any interested employee, assisting in several key areas:

1. Compiling a Dream List: Crafting a list of dreams may seem straightforward, but many individuals find it challenging to do so in isolation, even though they are familiar with themselves.

2. Selecting a Feasible Dream: Together with the employee, the Dream Manager helps identify a realistic dream from the list that the employee is enthusiastic about pursuing. The goal is to choose a dream that can be realized within approximately six months, preferably something beyond the individual's natural comfort zone.

3. Developing an Implementation Plan: Collaboratively, a practical work plan is formulated to facilitate the achievement of the chosen dream. This plan outlines steps to save required resources, gather necessary information, and act toward realizing the dream within the specified timeframe.

4. Supporting the Journey: The Dream Manager provides continuous support, offering encouragement, praise, and, with the employee's consent, sharing the success story with others.

5. Repeating the Process: The cycle continues, encouraging ongoing dreaming and realization, whether with or without the guidance of the Dream Manager.

Additional Tips:

- Respect Individual Dreams: Recognize that each employee harbors unique dreams and avoid imposing undue influence.

- Empower Employees: Equip them with tools and guidelines while minimizing judgment. Foster a sense of ownership and responsibility.

- Emotional Support: Provide emotional backing to employees throughout their dream pursuits.

- Extend Support to Families: Consider offering this service to employees' families whenever feasible.

- Encourage Altruism: Encourage employees to inspire and assist those in their circles, including family and friends, in pursuing their dreams.

- Employee Involvement: Consider involving employees in the program's management, potentially at a higher level, not just concerning individual cases. Explore ways to share the program's generated profits due to heightened productivity and reduced employee turnover.


Dreaming holds immense value for organizations, yielding direct benefits such as reduced employee turnover and indirect advantages. When employees embrace their dreams, it results in numerous positive outcomes, including:

1. Increased Productivity: Employees pursuing their dreams tend to be more motivated and engaged, improving productivity.

2. Reduced Sick Leave: Focusing on personal dreams often leads to a healthier work-life balance, translating into fewer sick leave days.

3. Improved Punctuality: Engaged employees are typically punctual and committed to their responsibilities.

While not every organization can establish the role of a Dream Manager or create a dedicated Dream Team, as showcased in Kelly's narrative, it is crucial to recognize that everyone, from top-level management to entry-level employees, can benefit from nurturing their dreams.

The initial step involves acknowledging the universal need for dreams. Subsequently, it's imperative to persuade management of the merits of such an initiative. When faced with inquiries about the cost of implementation, Kelly recommends reframing the question to assess the societal benefits or the potential costs of not executing such a plan.

Managers are encouraged to lead by example by creating their dream diaries and experiencing firsthand the impact of nurturing and fulfilling their dreams. This process can help them appreciate the significance of dreaming and making those dreams a reality.

Anyone, regardless of their organizational role, can maintain a dream diary. It's advantageous to contemplate diverse categories of dreams, including physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, psychological, material, professional, financial, creative, adventurous, and personal growth. Often, a single dream may encompass multiple facets.

Managers are advised to arrange an annual meeting with employees toward the year's end, akin to a dream-sharing session. During this gathering, employees can share their dreams and exchange ideas for implementation. Additionally, during annual performance evaluations, managers should encourage employees to compile lists of 100 dreams and identify one dream they can assist in realizing.

For individuals who aren't in managerial positions, Kelly suggests forming small peer groups among coworkers to inspire and support one another, even without formal organizational backing. The enthusiasm can be contagious, eventually drawing more participants.

In summary, the concept of nurturing personal dreams is not only viable but highly worthwhile for both individuals and organizations.

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