Book Review of The Dream Manager

The Dream Manager review by Dr. John C. Maxwell’s monthly newsletter “Leadership Wired”

After all, who dreams anymore? Somewhere in the middle of mortgage payments, daycare arrangements, and 60-hour work weeks, we write-off dreaming as childish and immature. Along the way, we water down our dreams until they shrivel into manageable goals that cease to excite us and barely even energize us.

The Dream ManagerIn The Dream Manager, Matthew Kelly challenges leaders to resuscitate the dreams of those they influence, and, strangely, he sees the workplace as the perfect place to inject dreaming back into our lives.

Leadership writers have beaten to death the proverb: “An organization’s people are its most important assets.” Kelly is guilty of recycling it yet again, but then he proposes a radical way to look at employees—through the lens of their dreams. Workers disengage from the job when they don’t see how it connects to the passions, goals, and hopes inside of them. Kelly calls upon leaders to rekindle the enthusiasm of those they lead by digging into their dreams.

The book’s foreword comes from noted author, Patrick Lencioni, whose style clearly has influenced Kelly. Written as a fable, The Dream Manager strongly resembles one of Lencioni’s bestsellers. Kelly’s book tells the story of Admiral Janitorial Company, which, in reaction to sky-high turnover rates, touches upon the novel idea of hiring a Dream Manager. Helping employees plan for vacations, become homeowners, and manage finances, the Dream Manager brings a renewed sense of purpose to the company. Employee turnover plummets and profits soar as workers respond to the sincere efforts of management to assist their pursuit of dreams.

The link between energy and dreams may be the strongest message to be found in The Dream Manager. When a person lives disconnected from dreams, energy wanes and days begin to be more about survival than significance. On the flip side, as Kelly writes, “Nothing animates people like chasing down a dream.” The hope of a better future fuels people to give their best effort.

At first glance, The Dream Manager may seem to have no place on the shelf of the rational, level-headed leader. Yet, readers pressing beyond the book’s initial impression will be rewarded by Kelly’s unusual approach to employee motivation. His ideas may hold the secret to restoring the employer-employee loyalty which is sorely lacking in today’s workplace.

This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free monthly e- newsletter 'Leadership Wired' available at

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