When I ask fellow entrepreneurs about their goals, they usually list off things about profits, sales, and expansions. Then I tell them I want to operate a crane on top of a skyscraper, fly a fighter jet, and take a selfie with the penguins at the South Pole.
There's huge power in goal-setting, but often, we only do it in the context of business or our careers. It's a shame, because fulfilment outside the office translates directly to performance in the office - and this applies not just to entrepreneurs but to employees as well.
Encouraging people to dream - even on the job - is a powerful way to engage staff, boost morale and create stronger teams. I'm not just saying that because it sounds good; we've made daydreaming a requirement for our entire company of over 400 employees with a special program called 101 Life Goals.
The premise is simple: Everyone has to come up with 101 goals, big or small - from walking the Great Wall of China to learning Russian. Then we help each other tick a few dreams off our bucket lists.
It's not rocket science, but it has transformed our company. People get to know each other outside of work, build powerful bonds, and develop themselves personally and professionally. When employees see their workplace as a springboard to achieving their wildest dreams (instead of an obstacle), they're happier and more productive.
Here's how we do 101 Life Goals at O2E Brands. Follow this simple formula and you can set up an employee dream program, too.
Have a Framework: We've found that asking someone to jot down 101 huge goals can be overwhelming. So we host visualization sessions to help people spark ideas with questions like,"If you could take a year off fully paid, what would you do?" or "What's the one thing you want to learn, that you would regret your entire life if you didn't?" Prompts like these get everyone's imaginations going. Not to mention that blue-sky spit-balling and brainstorming as a group really brings a team together.
Get Specific: Forget vague goals like "learn to cook"--that's such a big project, with no specific outcome. Something like "make fresh pasta with a teacher in a small Italian village" is targeted and clear. It also creates an exciting, motivational visual.
Leverage Technology: Although writing goals down on good, old-fashioned paper certainly works, we use an interactive app calledBucketList. It's like Facebook for goals: users record their goals on their profile, and they can see what their peers are trying to accomplish. When they achieve their goal, they can document with pictures or a video - so we can all celebrate success.
Make it Social: There's a huge difference between pursuing dreams in isolation versus sharing them. Publicizing your goals allows others to encourage you, join in (just do a BucketList search for "summit Mt Everest" and you'll find hundreds of fellow climbers), or help you find the right introduction or connection. Sharing your personal achievements means that as a team, it feels like there's always something to celebrate, even during tough times.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: To show we're serious about 101 Life Goals, O2E Brands sets aside $101,000 annually to help people get started. That might mean paying the entry fee for a Tough Mudder team, or matching someone's investment in adult swimming lessons. Bonus? Sponsoring goals motivates people to complete them. The dollar amount isn't really important -- what's key is showing that the company is truly invested at some level in the dreams of its members.
I'm always adding new items to my 101 Life Goals list, but my ultimate dream is for other companies to do this, too. Keeping your team engaged improves productivity, work quality and even profit. More importantly, though, it makes a difference in everyone's experience, creating lasting connections and friendships. The walls between work and life come down, and that's when passion for work begins.