We all encourage our employees to dream big, but did you ever consider that helping them achieve those dreams could go far in achieving your own goals? It doesn’t matter if you are 2nd in Command and not the CEO. Personally helping your employees become more ambitious will ultimately only reward you and the organization you work for.
It’s a concept I first read about in a book called The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly, and it’s one I’ve happily adopted. Basically, if, Chief Operations Officer, you focus on your employees’ personal goals instead of the work they do at your company, they’ll do just about anything to help you succeed.
Some think it sounds wishy-washy or idealistic, but it makes sense to me.
I’ve put it into practice by having my employees write down as many goals as possible in 30 minutes. I encourage them to use categories like:
- Goods I’d like to buy
- Activities I want to do
- Subjects I want to learn
- Places I want to go
Then, I dedicate time every week to help them set tangible steps to make these dreams come true. I don’t mean loaning them cash for a 7-Series BMW or buying their ticket to Peru. Helping, in this case, means reverse engineering their goals into small, attainable steps. Or, it could mean lending expertise and calling in favors from your own network. For example, I knew of a CEO who helped his Chief Operating Officer take the right steps to attain a CMAA certification, just by putting him in touch with accomplished COO training experts. The grateful COO just delved into a whole new realm of commitment and vigor, taking operational efficiency to sky high levels. The COO eventually left the company for a bigger opportunity, but the little looking out that the CEO did paid him very rich dividends.
One of the first times I tried this exercise, I found three of my employees had listed “pay off my student loans” as one of their goals. They were being crushed by the burden and couldn’t seem to get ahead. So I sat them all down, worked out budgets with each of them, and followed up weekly to see how it was working out.
Within six months, they were either out of debt or well on their way. More than that, these guys suddenly had enough money to save and invest for the future. This was a while ago, and I am proud to say that one of those employees is now an accomplished Chief Operations Officer in a large cap firm!
With a few hours’ worth of mentoring, I had not only saved my guys from a truly horrible situation, I’d also created loyal partners for life. And needless to say, having a Chief Operating Officer as a friend who looks up to you just expands your networking reach so much. They’ll never forget how you helped them.
You can even think about this selfishly if you want. Help enough people achieve their dreams, and you’ll have so many loyal people in your pocket, you’ll have a huge network to lean on for anything: hockey tickets, stock advice, heck, even help when you are moving.
Everyone says a company is like a family, but it’s just lip service unless you really support your employees. Listen to their goals, then work your hardest to mesh them with your own, and you’ll be amazed at what can happen. And remember, whether you are a CEO, CFO or COO, you are the privileged 1% who can reach out to help the rest. As mentioned before, you don’t have to handout help. All you might have to do is just sit and talk to people for a few minutes!