Embracing Diversity of Dreams

Bill Gallagher

In a recent conversation with a guest on my podcast, he said that the more he prioritizes the visions and dreams of his staff, the more they prioritize the visions and dreams of his company. 

My guest was author and entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz, and in this article, I’m going to drill down on Mike’s idea. But first, a question: 

Off the top of your head, can you remember the visions and dreams of, say, the five most important people in your company? 

It’s ok if you can’t remember every specific aspect of the visions and dreams of your key team members. But if my previous question draws a complete blank for you, then you’re in trouble. See, if you don’t know what your employees really want, then it’s highly unlikely you’re being an effective leader. 

Mike hinted at this in our chat when he said that he previously expected that surely the vision for a business would be shared by individual team members. Not so, Mike found out. In fact, we’ve all got our own dreams—and often they’re completely different from each other.  

Are You All In? 

Mike’s latest book (he’s written eight!) is All In: How Great Leaders Build Unstoppable Teams

In it, he explores how early on in his career he stumbled into entrepreneurship but it took him a long time to grasp the importance of having a strong team around him. He also remembers how he tried to keep great people working for him, yet they often quit because they were frustrated and overwhelmed. Over the years, Mike gradually learned that he didn’t need to become just a brilliant business strategist, he also needed to become a great leader. 

I recommend reading All In for its strategies on leadership and how to help your team become top performers. I also recommend our chat, which you can watch here: 

The Art of Leadership in Acknowledging Varied Goals within Your Team

In talking with Mike for the Scaling Up Business Podcast, I was reminded of how all business leaders—myself included—simply must acknowledge that every member of our team is an individual with unique skills, experiences, and aspirations. You’d think that’d be obvious, right? Yet sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes CEOs and business owners try to thrust onto their employees their own visions and dreams. I know—in the past I’ve done that, too. 

But not any more. 

These days, I’m all about embracing the individuality of my team members. Rather than imposing my own visions and dreams onto them, I recognize that each person brings their own unique skills, experiences, and aspirations to the table. 

This shift in mindset—which Mike talks about in our episode—promotes a more collaborative and inclusive work environment. By acknowledging and valuing the individuality of our teams, we can unlock the full potential of our companies. 

It’s cliché as hell, but I’ll say it—the more we’re individually successful, the more we can be successful together.

To wrap this article, I’m going to repeat the question I asked earlier: 

Off the top of your head, can you remember the visions and dreams of, say, the five most important people in your company? 

Now—not tomorrow, not next week-—would be a great time to ask your employees what they want out of working with you. 

Thanks for reading and be sure to listen to episodes of the Scaling Up Business Podcast on your favorite podcast player: 

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