Companies that Blow the Doors
Off Business-As-Usual

Kevin & Jackie Freiberg

The ROI of Dream Boards

In GUTS! we described how Phil Dean, a gusty leader at Stanley Steamer inspires his new hires. Phil is a straight shooter and knows that the company doesn’t “attract rocket scientists… It’s not hard to learn how to clean carpets. But that doesn’t mean those folks don’t want to better themselves and their families. We tell them they are joining an organization that is dedicated to helping them make their dreams come true.”

The company typically hires males fresh out of high school, whose minds are filled with what Dean calls “the head trash” of adolescent experiences: low grades, loss of college bound friends, failure to make a football team, romantic defeats, and their inability to get more than entry-level jobs. Unsurprisingly they feel like losers. Dean said, “Our new hire celebration teaches them to clean carpets, but its central mission is to convince them that they can be winners. We put as much effort into attitude as we do aptitude.

After their first month of employment the new hires, in groups of three or four, spend six hours with Dean and his wife. The sessions start with a two-hour, wide-ranging discussion of everyone’s values, goals and dreams. The Deans strive to create a safe, comfortable environment where everyone feels secure enough to confide in the group. Then a pile of magazines, glue sticks, scissors, and poster board are brought out, and the whole group, including the Deans, builds “Dream Boards.” Collages made up of pictures cut from magazines, they represent each person’s goals, hopes and dreams. The Dream Boards are sized to fit on the inside door of each employees locker, where they serve as daily reminders that this Stanley Streamer franchise encourages dreams. And when they finish the Deans lead a four-hour discussion of how the organization can help make each worker’s dreams come true.

The Dream Boards offer remarkable psychological insight (you become what you think about). In addition, the Dean’s interest and time committment illustrate a profound sense of caring on the part of franchise leaders.

Excerpt form GUTS! pages 140-141